13 December 2015
I have seen the movie based on this book several times but had never read the book which is very different. It is basically a history of the early years of Jewish settlement in Palestine and the first years of birth struggles for the state of Israel.
There is a dramatic story featuring a range of Jewish settlers, an American nurse, the British and the Arabs, but, in reality, it seemed to be a back-story as the action takes up less than half of the book. Most of the book is a very detailed journalistic history of some of the most important events in recent Jewish and Middle Eastern history.
I am fascinated by the history of the Jews and their dreams of returning to Israel but at times, the history was very detailed and somewhat boring. Uris switched between the two themes almost randomly and it was difficult to keep abreast of the back-story.
During the UN vote on the partition of Palestine, one of the Arab states said, "...we will never recognise the Jews. There will be bloodshed over this day..." So much of the history of the Middle East in the book hasn't really changed since then but has probably got worse.