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Bible and Sword: England and Palestine from…

Bible and Sword: England and Palestine from the Bronze Age to Balfour (1956)

by Barbara W. Tuchman

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הראשון בספריה של טוכמן ובוודאי לא המוצלח שבהם. הוא​ חולה בכל החטאים של יתר ספריה, חוסר מחקר, חוסר מיק​וד, פטפטנות, אי הבחנה בין החשוב והטפל. הסיבה היחיד​ה לקרוא אותו כי הוא עוסק בנו ( )
  amoskovacs | Apr 25, 2015 |
This was Barbara Tuchman's first published work, and it shows already her ability to tell a great narrative. In this case, she tells the story of how Great Britain came to be so involved with the reestablishment of the nation of Israel, although the story only goes up to the Balfour Declaration.

The short answer to that question is that Britain was deeply influenced culturally by the Old Testament (Hebrew Bible) since the Middle Ages. Indeed, she makes a case for the Old Testament being more important than the New Testament to their culture, even though they were a Catholic nation, and later a Protestant one. I'll leave the details of that assertion to the reader, but it's a fascinating one.

What the title implies and Tuchman asserts at the end is that the British Empire wanted Palestine for strategic reasons: to control and defend Egypt and the Suez Canal in order to maintain trade routes and communication for the Empire. But culturally, the Empire needed a moral justification for taking control, and the restoration of Israel provided that justification. For many in the government, this was not a cynical manipulation of public justifications but a real concern for the People of God.

For me, it was a crystallization of a number of facts that I knew about English history: the impact of the Old Testament on its culture and attitudes. It makes a great deal of sense. One should keep this in mind whenever one reads the history of that nation and empire. An interesting question for me is: to what extent does the Old Testament still influence British culture and governmental policy? ( )
  KirkLowery | Mar 4, 2014 |
Relation of Palestine and England which led to founding of Israel
  Folkshul | Jan 15, 2011 |
Tuchman's first book, this history of English involvement in Palestine shows flashes of what she would later achieve, but isn't quite as readable as those works to come. ( )
  wanack | Oct 10, 2010 |
This is an oddity, but very interesting for the light it throws on an area I haven't seen discussed in detail before, the strange fascination of British protestants with Palestine and the Jewish people. Tuchman put her finger on two particular aspects of this: firstly the way 17th century protestants used the history described in the Old Testament as a metaphor for their own struggle to a point where they actually started thinking of themselves as new, better Israelites themselves; secondly the bizarre idea derived from biblical prophecies that the second coming of the Messiah would follow when the Jews returned to Palestine and converted to Christianity. Otherwise fairly sane and rational Victorians like the Earl of Shaftesbury have devoted huge amounts of energy to attempting to convert Jews and resettle them in Palestine, long before the modern variety of Zionism had established itself with the Jews themselves. All very odd, and it may help to explain the muddled combination of military strategy and religious idealism that led to the equally muddled Balfour Declaration, as Tuchman argues. In the end, this is a book about the British: if you haven't read much about the origins of the state of Israel you may be at a bit of a loss sometimes to fill in the remaining background. Irritating for modern readers, but entirely understandable when you consider that it was written barely ten years after World War II, is that Tuchman can never mention Germany or individual Germans without dropping in an insult of some kind. ( )
2 vote thorold | Dec 10, 2009 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0345314271, Paperback)

With the lucidity and vividness that characterize all her work, two-time Pulitzer Prize winning historian, Barbara Tuchman, explores the complex relationship of Britain to Palestine that led to the founding of the modern Jewish state--and to many of the problems that plague the Middle East today.
"Barbara Tuchman is a wise and witty writer, a shrewd observer with a lively command of high drama."

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:04:34 -0400)

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"With the lucidity and vividness that characterize all her work, two-time Pulitzer Prize winning historian, Barbara Tuchman, explores the complex relationship of Britain to Palestine that led to the founding of the modern Jewish state--and to many of the problems that plague the Middle East today." http://www.loc.gov/catdir/description/random042/83091154.html.… (more)

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