Read The Balfour Declaration: The Origins of the Arab-Israeli Conflict by Jonathan Schneer Online


Issued in London in 1917, the Balfour Declaration was one of the key documents of the twentieth century. It committed Britain to supporting the establishment in Palestine of “a National Home for the Jewish people,” and its reverberations continue to be felt to this day. Now the entire fascinating story of the document is revealed in this impressive work of modern history.WIssued in London in 1917, the Balfour Declaration was one of the key documents of the twentieth century. It committed Britain to supporting the establishment in Palestine of “a National Home for the Jewish people,” and its reverberations continue to be felt to this day. Now the entire fascinating story of the document is revealed in this impressive work of modern history.With new material retrieved from historical archives, scholar Jonathan Schneer recounts in dramatic detail the public and private battles in the early 1900s for a small strip of land in the Middle East, battles that started when the governing Ottoman Empire took Germany’s side in World War I. The Balfour Declaration paints an indelible picture of how Arab nationalists, backed by Britain, fought for their future as Zionists in England battled diplomatically for influence. Meanwhile, unbeknownst to either side or even to most members of the British government, Prime Minister David Lloyd George was telling Turkey that she could keep her flag flying over the disputed territory if only she would agree to a separate peace.The key players in this watershed moment are rendered here in nuanced and detailed relief: Sharif Hussein, the Arab leader who secretly sought British support; Chaim Weizmann, Zionist hero, the folksmensch who charmed British high society; T. E. Lawrence, the legendary “super cerebral” British officer who “set the desert on fire” for the Arabs; Basil Zaharoff, the infamous arms dealer who was Britain’s most important back channel to the Turks; and the other generals and prime ministers, soldiers and negotiators, who shed blood and cut deals to grab or give away the precious land.A book crucial to understanding the Middle East as it is today, The Balfour Declaration is a rich and remarkable achievement, a riveting volume about the ancient faiths and timeless treacheries that continue to drive global events....

Title : The Balfour Declaration: The Origins of the Arab-Israeli Conflict
Author :
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ISBN : 9781400065325
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 464 Pages
Status : Available For Download
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The Balfour Declaration: The Origins of the Arab-Israeli Conflict Reviews

  • Louise Leetch
    2019-02-09 09:49

    It’s common knowledge that the British were responsible the divisions of the Middle East after WWII but the machinations, maneuvers and manipulations truly began at the turn of the 20th Century. The Zionist movement was founded in 1897 in Switzerland and grew and spread very slowly. Over the next few years, Jews bought up large tracts of land in Palestine in an effort to establish a substantial minority. The emergence of Chaim Weizmann as the Jewish leader expanded their efforts to seek more than that; a Jewish nation was now the goal. Up until the outbreak of WWI, England had little use for either the Jewish requests or the petitions from the Arabs to establish an Arabian nation. When Turkey entered the war on the side of Germany, the British began to listen to both. Hussein Ibn Ali aligned with many of the Arab tribes looking to break away from the Turks and their Ottoman Empire and establish an Arab nation. In 1916 the French and English together wrote the Sykes-Picot agreement, eventually the Tripartite Agreement, dividing up the Arabian Peninsula. There was no input from either Arabs or Jews.The maps that author Schneer provides in this eye-opening book make it perfectly clear that the parties involved in the break up of the Arabian peninsula had very different images of the final divisions. The Arabs had no idea the British were promising land to the Jews. The Jews thought they would be taking over Palestine as an English Protectorate and the French assumed that Syria and most of Northern Arabia would be under their governance. The English set aside the southern half extending East to Bagdad for themselves. Anatolia and Constantinople were to be reserved for Russia, though she was not informed of the agreement until some time later.This is a must read for a clearer understanding of the vast changes that took place on the Arabian Peninsula in such a relatively short period of time and the impact of Foreign Secretary Balfour’s declaration of support for the establishment of a Jewish nation. It really gives you a complete background for the ill feelings on all sides. We also realize the very simple concessions that could have avoided a great deal of grief and bloodshed.

  • T B
    2019-02-02 07:54

    This is an excellent book about a very narrow timeframe in history - WW I. It traces the developments in Britain, the Ottoman Empire and the Middle East that lead to Britain endorsing the formation of a Jewish nation. There are dozens of characters interacting and often double-dealing. It’s no wonder that the Middle East is a mess. The characters and their offices and responsibilities are confusing at times partly because they are manipulating one another with partial truths and downright deception.

  • Lars
    2019-01-23 10:01

    The subtitle of Jonathan Schneer's book "The Balfour Declaration" is "The Origins of the Arab Israeli Conflict". This book isn't about that conflict, nor is it really about The Balfour Declaration. This book is about the fall of the two history's largest empires, the Ottoman and the British empire. The book recounts the story of the Zionist movement in the period around the first World War. During the Great War, the British government envisioned the collapse of the Ottoman empire and together with the other Allied governments were deviding the spoils of war even before the war had been won. Zionists saw an opportunity to reclaim Palestine after 2,000 years of exile and started garnering political support in Britain. At the same time the British government also promised Palestine to Grand Sharif Hussein of Mecca if they helped Britain mount an insurrection against the Turks. The British government's double dealings and backstabbery created a political explosive situation. We all know that the Zionist movement achieved its goal. But the false promises made during this time in history "sowed dragon's teeth" as the author puts it. It started a bloody conflict between Jews and Muslems in Palestine/Israel that still continues to this day. Not only that, as the situation destabilized, it signalled the end of British control in that region. Schneer's book is well researched and well written but loses its momentum at times. While some chapters are rivetting, others (mostly those about Britain's attempts at a seperate peace with Turkey) didn't feel that relevant to Balfour Declaration. Still, this is an accesible book, even for readers who have only a casual interest in Middle Eastern history and politics.

  • Serjeant Wildgoose
    2019-02-13 03:02

    This is a minutely detailed account of the political and diplomatic shenanigans that led to the 1917 'declaration' by British Foreign Secretary, The Earl of Balfour, which articulated the British government's intent to 'use their best endeavours to [establish] in Palestine ... a national home for the Jewish people.'Always human but tedious at stretches, this is a staggering account of diplomatic duplicity on a vast scale. Not only did the British secretly bargain away Palestine for the simultaneous support of both Arab and Jew, they did so with the at best only half-informed connivance of their French ally.There is a superbly ironic quote that perhaps sums up the heinous arrogance of the still imperialist European powers during the Great War. Having laid out their plans for post-war partition of the middle east (The Sykes-Picot Pact) to the Russians, 'Thus did the Triple Entente divide the prospective Ottoman carcass even before they had skinned it, even before it was dead; thus in the Spring of 1916 did they fight the war to end all wars, on behalf of small powers, nationality, liberalism and the like.'What a bloody mess they made!

  • James Perkins
    2019-01-30 08:56

    This was an excruciatingly detailed account of British meddling in the Middle East around the time of the First World War, which was less to do with oil (the main focus of American interests today) and more to do with the maintenance of trade routes to Asia, especially India, the "jewel in the crown" of the British Empire. The Declaration set the groundwork for the formation of a Jewish state in Palestine, which finally happened some 30 years later. I read this book because I wanted to learn more about what has caused all the turmoil in the Middle East. While I knew a few of the names involved, I am no academic historian, so I hadn't quite realised the full extent of the French and British involvement in the region, and the complexity of the political manoeuvring and diplomatic incompetence that ultimately precipitated the unrest the region is still suffering today. While I enjoyed the book, the text is heavy-going, and probably only of real interest to history buffs, politicians, and career diplomats.

  • Richard Lee
    2019-02-13 01:43

    A remarkably readable account of a very complex story - with some remarkable characters. (T.E. Lawrence is one of them but by no means the most interesting.) Britain really did get itself in between the Arabs and the Jews and made commitments to both in good faith but with a great deal of miscommunication and ambiguity. Now I want to understand what happened in Israel immediately after the second world war.It also provides an additional perspective to the current focus on the Wester Front in WW1. That deserves coverage of course but we should remember too that Britain was successful militarily in Palestine and what was then called Mesopotamia (now Iraq). And there were networks of diplomats and spies in Europe and the Middle East seemingly unhampered by the terrible events in Flanders.Overall, this book really helps you understand the current situation in Israel and Palestine.

  • Fredrick Danysh
    2019-02-03 08:56

    At the end of the Crusades Israel no longer existed as a Jewish state, it was Muslim territory. In 1917 the British established a Jewish homeland in Palestine. This book is a record of the political and military struggle to create that Jewish homeland in the face of Arab opposition, a world war, and general anti-Sematic feelings.

  • Sandra
    2019-01-23 01:44

    This book wasn't exactly what I thought it would be. I was hoping for a wider overview of the events that led up to the current conflict between Palestinians and Israelis. This book focuses primarily on how Zionism came to be a movement that was supported by the British government, and the promises made to prominent Zionists in their effort to get European countries to support their establishment of a Jewish state in Palestine. It also covers the diplomatic conversations that were happening with Arabs who wanted to revolt against the Ottoman Empire and establish their own kingdom in the region. The Arabs were made vague promises and it was interesting to find out that they were strung along for a time because Britain and France wanted their support against the Ottoman Empire during WWI. But in the end it was the Zionists who succeeded in getting what they wanted mainly due to the fact that they had better access to more powerful men and also due to timing - the Arab Revolt took a little too long and the promises made to the Zionists were already set in motion. I would say that this book is about secret diplomacy - promises made behind doors and whispered into ears and written in secret correspondences. Every player had an agenda they wanted to achieve and there was a constant shift in who had the upper hand or whose wishes were being considered more seriously. The irony of Britain and France's roles (especially Britain's) is that they were fighting WWI to defend the rights of small nations like Belgium, yet they were basically planning to divide the Middle East and dole it out to each other, to those they made promises too, or to whoever had the strongest influence as they made their case (for example, Zionists). It was imperialism 2.0, with many of these diplomats hoping to set up a situation where the Jews or Arabs established their countries but Britain and France would basically serve as Suzerains to these new states. This did not match well with the spirit of time, the idea of fighting for freedom and countries' right to rule themselves.I'm giving this three stars because while I did get some very detailed information about the beginning stages of the creation of the Jewish state in Palestine, and I did get an idea of why there are so many disagreements about the promises made to both sides, I didn't get the whole story that I was hoping to get. I also found it difficult to get through some of the chapters, and felt myself getting frustrated that I had to slog through three chapters about the machinations going on to try to establish a separate peace with the Ottoman Empire (one chapter would have been plenty).

  • Kerem
    2019-02-10 02:01

    Not only a really detailed account of the years that put Zionism on the world stage but also a very well written book with a smooth, novel-like flow. It doesn't only cover milestones like the Sykes-Picot agreement or key developments in the area such as the Arab uprising or plenty of secret diplomacy and sneaky deals, also it portrays a good number of the key people in British diplomacy and military, the key Arab uprisers, the Zionist and anti-Zionist jews in high places, and the Ottoman officials looking for secret deals. strongly recommend to anyone for a good perspective of early 1900's and why Middle East is the mess it is now.

  • Jimmacc
    2019-01-26 04:48

    Excellent book. The author does a great job weaving the varied paths involving Palestine during ww1. The conclusion touches on the immediate (1920-48) aftermath in the region. The author details backgrounds of the varied characters and the region. I learned a lot from this book.

  • Craig
    2019-01-29 06:37

    A diverse multitude of factions and interests. The world powers: England, France, Germany, Russia, United States, the Ottoman Empire. The cultures: the British, the French, the Russians, the Turks, the Arabs, the Jews. Differences within the cultures: the British, the Imperialists and the isolationists; the Turks, the old regime and the Young Turks; the Arabs, a multitude of diverse desert tribes with Hussein and his sons Feisal and Abdullah most prominent, but (prior to WWI) all under the yoke of the Ottoman Empire; and the Jews, those in Britain and from Russia - fiercely divided into two camps: the Zionists and the Assimilationists. And all of this in the midst of the ravages of WWI , 1914-1918. Duplicity governed international political alliances, and England was the master: The Hussein-McMahon correspondence; the Sykes-Picot agreement; TE Lawrence's (Lawrence of Arabia) self interjection into Arab military affairs to evict the Turks; secret multiple attempts by Britain and Turkey to strike peace accords using novelists, nefarious arms dealers, and self-appointed diplomats. The world was in turmoil. Much of the to-do focused on a narrow slip of land in the mid-east known as Syria/Palestine. In November, 1918, in the midst of all the political, national, ethnic and religious factions, the Balfour Doctrine emerged, crafted in England. This simple declaration set the stage for the Jewish migration to Palestine and the later United Nations recognition of Israel as a world nation - to re-emerge again after a hiatus of 2,000 years.Author Jonathan Schneer draws upon his extensive research to piece together and make some sense (although sometimes obtusely) of all of the disparate peoples, forces and events which evolved (willingly or not; knowingly or not) into Balfour Doctrine - a precursor to the eventual creation of the country of Israel. It wasn't pretty, it took a lot of struggle and consumed a lot of lives - but it happened nevertheless. For anyone interested in studying the history of the Mid-east, this is a must read. I highly recommend this book.

  • Andrew
    2019-01-27 09:50

    This is a very well written account of a highly complex episode of diplomacy.I thoroughly enjoyed the read. The writer has done an excellent job in explicating all the threads of this entangled history. He did this by taking each thread, each piece of the jigsaw and painting the picture in imaginative and colourful detail. So, when he picks up the next thread he backtracks in time and tells the other story which chronologically really runs in parallel. And so forth with the next strands. All the time though he gives you a little glimpse of what the other strands are up to. And so he weaves a magnificent tapestry and you get the full picture of this crucial and colourful saga. (Whilst reading, I was reminded of Tarantino films like e.g. Pulp Fiction, where the chronology is chopped up, but in the end it all comes beautifully together.)This is an exciting story of high diplomacy, intrigue and counter-intrigue. There is an abundance of great characters. I was left musing on the possibilities of an adventurous mini-series for television. Though I'm focussing here on the readability of the story and on its adventurousness, the writer, in my opinion, treats it with the seriousness it deserves and never forgets the terrible subsequent history of the region.A commentator of another review (Danny of Arabia) has implied - I think - some bias in this account (though I'm not sure from his comments whether he actually read this book or only some blogs by the author). I don't know enough to judge this, but to me the narrative seemed pretty fair to all parties - but due to lack of knowledge I am unable to tell whether crucial bits of history were left out or distorted etc. Still, the book has whet my appetite for more and surely the more different authors you read the less chance of bias. All in all I recommend this book as a great narration of a complex and sensitive topic which remains relevant today.

  • Robert LoCicero
    2019-02-03 07:55

    Does the Israel-Palestine situation interest you? If so then this book is a must read. It deals with the early moves of diplomacy and duplicity that occurred in the early years before World War I, during that "Great War" and some insights relevant to the topic in the post-war years. The author introduces us to the main players in this historic development both in the British Foreign Office, British Prime Ministers, British soldiers and agents, British and foreign Zionists and assimilationalists, Turkish war leaders, Arab chieftains and other assorted characters including American Jewish leaders, arms runners and eccentric poets and intellectuals. It is a baffling and intriguing story leading up to the declaration by the Briitish Foreign Minister Balfour in late November 1917 placing in writing the British pledge to the Zionist followers that Palestine would be the homeland for the Jewish people. It is the culmination of a tortured path with fits and starts that both exhilarated and disappointed all participants at different times in this process. This is the story that the author presents for the reader and it is a good one.One never forgets that the ultimate fate of the Israel-Palestine territory depends on the goodwill and good sense of all the participants in that area in an effort to live together peacefully and productively. When one reads this remarkable tome and realizes the history of deception and double-dealing that went on along with the misinformation, disinformation and open espousing of racial and religious prejudices,one wonders how an eventual, modern and thoughtful ending can be wrought in that area of the world. At least with this knowledge of its history made available to us, modern people can strive to not repeat such extreme and damaging behaviors.

  • Sabrine Faragallah
    2019-02-22 02:51

    “Beautiful phrases and promises made by wartime leaders intent upon persuading men to fight.”I read this book as I was looking for as a departure from my usual non-fiction reads regarding financial institutions. However I ended up interpreting Schneer’s work as an insight on political maneuverings in times of disruption, not unlike the previous books I read re: Big Banking pre-2008. Schneer did an excellent job on character development, almost tedious to a point, which made the duplicity of the negotiations even less palatable when you imagine what each party had at stake. He has inspired me to continue on with the trend of war drama’s, so I may pick up another novel just to compare his writing style and also become better informed of the events that have shaped our current political landscape. While I find that Schneer did help dispel some of my previous misconceptions on the Arab-Israeli conflict so that I can speak more knowledgably on the origins of the discussion, I am still grasping for more information to understand the events afterwards that have led to our current day discussions around “Western Presence” and “Big Oil” versus Britain just wishing to protect it’s trade route in the Mediterranean and South Asia. If the Zionist movement was so influential that both British and German leaders felt the “world Jewery” was a force to recon with circa 1916, what happened after WWI? While I understand Schneer needed laser focus for the 400-page book, these are the questions where I felt less character development and more forward reconciliation with today’s misconceptions and issues could have been beneficial.

  • Diana
    2019-02-22 08:06

    This was very, very interesting. I knew almost nothing of the Balfour Declaration before reading this book. It was clearly written, easily accessible but still dense enough to convey the importance and complication of how the declaration came to exist. To my view it was mostly neutral in bias, looking at the history of the declaration from multiple angles to see all parties and their expectations, thinking (and sometimes lack of thinking), and most of all the British government's political manipulation of multiple parties and how that changed the course of history.The theme of the book is summed up in the last chapter:"Because it was unpredictable and characterized by contradictions, deceptions, misinterpretations, and wishful thinking, the lead-up to the Balfour Declaration sowed dragon's teeth. It produced a murderous harvest, and we go on harvesting even today."The book entirely focuses on the years leading up to the declaration but still does an excellent job of showing how it affected relations in Palestine and surrounding areas. One of those books that left me with the weighty realization (again) that so many critical moments in history often hinge on the decisions of people who have not critically thought out the ramifications of their ideas. Of course, no one can fully see what is coming around the bend, but as the author says:"Wartime British officials who had done so much to facilitate the Zionist and Arab movements had never aimed primarily to keep the peace in Palestine, they aimed to win the First World War and to maintain their country's place in the world."The same old story.

  • Doug May
    2019-02-01 02:06

    Incredible insight into the present situation from this book. A great history of the Ottoman theatre in WW 1. This was my introduction to the middle east during this period though I knew something of the declaration from my zionist history. Very interesting to read the varriant views within the Jewish community toward zionism at its inception in a time when many Jews did not view tgemselves as a distinxrt nation. Chaim Weizmann figures very prominently in the account. The implications to WWII are as both the British and zionists play the mythological international power broker card that is later exploited and distorted by Hitler. Very powerful book though the implications are not in an y regard addressed by Schneer who seems unsympathetic to Jewish interests. In the end inevitability kicks in and events appear to unfold in a preordained fashion proving the zionists claims of Jewish nationality correct and triumphant. Unfortunately the zionists lesson about host nations would first proven in a most horrendous fashion. This leaves one widering about the ultimate issue of World War II and the striking olace of the Jewish people in modern history. Not prof read in the interest of time and laziness.

  • Abby
    2019-02-21 08:40

    This is a superb, well-researched work of historical nonfiction that reads like a thriller. Schneer focuses on the period during WWI when Great Britain was simultaneously encouraging (in fact, stoking) Arab nationalism, Zionist aspirations for a separate state, Turkish control, _and_ an Anglo-Franco-Russian division of the Ottoman Empire. The deceit, treachery, and secret dealings are examined in minute detail and read like a spy novel. The weakest part of the book is the final chapter. Instead of summarizing the complicated confusion wrought by this tangled web of deceit, I wish Schneer had examined its future implications (e.g., its impact upon WWII and the Middle East situation today). I also wish he had discussed the Zionist movement in the context of social sentiment toward Jews during that time period and explained how Zionists simultaneously harnessed and repudiated these stereotypes to their advantage.

  • The American Conservative
    2019-02-20 02:49

    'President Barack Obama’s attempts to ally the U.S. with the spirit of Tahrir Square may be Pax Americana’s latest sequel. But as historian Jonathan Schneer clarifies in The Balfour Declaration, striving for hegemony in the Middle East was not an original American production. It was the Brits who wrote the first script for this story.From the British imperial project in the Middle East in the early 20th century—which is the subject of The Balfour Declaration—to the American hegemonic undertaking in the region a hundred years later, Anglo-Americans have tried again and again to make and remake the Middle East in the way that would advance their geo-political interests and correspond to their grand ideals.'Read the full review, "Middle East Empire: The Prequel," on our website:

  • Mary
    2019-01-25 07:04

    Schneer sorts out the political machinations, mostly during World War I, that produced a redrawn map of the middle east in the 1920s. While it is understandable that British leaders would say anything to end the appalling loss of life on the western front (other than, apparently, 'hey, let's try something different than this trench warfare approach'...), the duplicity (triplicity? quadruplicity?) of pretty much everyone involved in the negotiations is breathtaking.Schneer explains things clearly and brings the principle players to life. Because he moves back and forth between the Arab aspects, the Jewish aspects, and the Ottoman aspects of British policy, events are not always presented chronologically. However, Schneer does a good job of reminding the reader what is going on elsewhere at the same time. The few maps are very helpful and easy to read in the hardback edition.

  • Jimmy Tarlau
    2019-01-29 05:51

    I went to schill (5th through 8th grades) with Jon Schneer who teaches history at Georgia Tech. Jodi and I visited him in Oxford when he was researching the book. This is an excellent history of the 1917 Balfour Declaration which was the first statement by the British that Palestine should be the home of the Jewish people. The book goes through all the ins and outs of Brith World War I foreign policy with the Arabs, the Zionists (and anti-Zionist Jews) and the Turks. Britain promised everybody something even if the promises were in conflict. The book discusses the Arab insurrection against the Turks, the growing (in influence) Zionist movement in England, and the detailed (on and off) negotiations with the Turks for a separate piece.

  • Phil
    2019-02-08 09:36

    Anyone wishing to better understand the intricasies and nuances of the Arab/Jewish debate on Israel would do well to read this book. In fact, if you don't know anything about the conflict in Israel and Palestine, start with this book,It's very insightful and Schneer, the author, does an exquisite job keeping the myriad key players on the pages as the diplomatic and Machiavellian machinery of the latter British Empire turned its gears to spit out this inevitably complicated situation that we, as Americans, have been dealing with diplomatically since the Truman administration. As confrontation with Iran looms, it's nice to know how we got from Point A (The Balfour Declaration) to Point B (The current geopolitical firestorm that threatens to consume us all).

  • Matthew Griffiths
    2019-02-05 09:59

    this made for an interesting read on the development of the conflict which rages to this day and tracks how many of the disagreements between the Arab states and Israel ultimately stem from contradictory promises made to the Zionist movement and to the Hashemites by varying individuals within the British government during the first world war. To better understand the roots of the contemporary middle east you cant go wrong with this as a starting point regarding what is arguably the regions focal point

  • Allan
    2019-01-29 01:37

    A remarkable book which exposes British perfidy in the betrayal of the Palestinian people as well as sowing the discord which bedevils the Middle East to this day. The author does a masterful job of disentangling the many threads of this complex story from the P.M. down. Schneer shows how the myth of hidden Jewish influence led many of the participants into unwise decisions with unsettling consequences.

  • Jon
    2019-02-17 07:44

    Great book. Learned a wealth of new knowledge (for me) about what was transpiring before and during the WWI relative to the countries and peoples involved in the middle east. Reasons for what was being said, to whom, at what time period and the thinking behind it. There are lots of facts behind what is being said in the book. Really helps understand what set up the current stalemate in the Middle East.

  • H Wesselius
    2019-02-09 02:49

    Excellent fact filled book on the origin of the Balfour Declaration complete with analysis on how this helped sow the Arab-Israel disputes today. When teh reader is finished he or she should have an excellent understanding of how the accidents of history can lead to one conclusion or an other. Schneer makes an excellent case for teh short sighted vision of British policy i.e. to end the war led to long term conflict.

  • John Roskelley
    2019-02-05 03:36

    After reading this book, it's amazing that the Brits have any credibility left, considering how they were so duplicitous in their numerous efforts to satisfy so many varying goals before and during WWI. The main thrust was to explain the modern origins of the Zionist movement to establish Palestine as the country promised to the Jews. There were so many conflicting interests at bay. I recommend reading this!

  • Kevin Kizer
    2019-02-17 06:49 was a clusterfuck then and it continues to be a clusterfuck today. I realize that's not the most insightful review ever, but that's all I have to say about it at this point. The way it went down was just embarrassing for all parties involved: lies, deceit, empty promises, half-truths, quarter-truths and eight-truths (if that's possible). And a whole lot of anti-semitism, even among those who were pro-Israel (they just stuck to the "positive" stereotypes).

  • Jon-Erik
    2019-02-04 04:45

    Some very interesting tidbits here. I would have liked a more thorough discussion of the impact of the Balfour declaration—it's just sort of taken for granted as this momentous thing. I get that. But if we're going to wade into such minutia as this book gets into, it wold be good and fitting, I think to give a congruent amount of detail as to how the Balfour declaration shaped future diplomacy.

  • Melissa
    2019-02-07 09:01

    Any non-fiction book that begins with a cast of characters defined like a Shakespeare play requires the ability to concentrate! This book was fascinating but required more attention than I could give it as I was moving. Also, the library would not appreciate my taking it to Florida with me so I am forced to check it out again from a different library at a later date.

  • Delson Roche
    2019-02-11 01:46

    The Balfour declaration is like a seed from which the present Arab-Israel conflict sprouted. The book beautifully deals with all the actors that were involved in its making, the background of its origins and the background of Palestine itself- starting from the Ottoman empire. Must read to understand the history of the present day mess from a pretty neutral view.