Chaim Weizmann: v.2: The Making of a Statesman

Chaim Weizmann: v.2: The Making of a Statesman

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This is the second volume of Reinharz's definitive three-volume biography of Weizmann. It focuses on Weizmann's rise to prominence and his work as a statesman and leader of the Zionist movement from the outbreak of World War I to 1922. It was in these years that Weizmann played a major role in winning from the British the Balfour declaration (1917) - which favoured the establishment of a Jewish national home in Palestine - and lobbied internationally to gain support for the Zionist cause. Reinharz's biography of Weizmann is in many ways a history of the Jews in this period. The author places Weizmann's leadership and his political achievements in the context of Great Power politics, the tensions between Zionists and Jewish anti-Zionists, the attitude of the Zionist movement towards Arabs, and the impact of Zionism on the collective identity of European Jewish more

Product details

  • Hardback | 536 pages
  • 157.48 x 238.76 x 45.72mm | 929.86g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • frontispiece, halftones, tables
  • 0195072154
  • 9780195072150

About Jehuda Reinharz

About the Author: Jehuda Reinharz is Richard Koret Professor of Modern Jewish History, Director of the Tauber Institute for the Study of European Jewry, and Provost at Brandeis University. He is the author, editor or coeditor of numerous books including The Letters and Papers of Chaim Weizmann, 1918-1920 and Fatherland or Promised Land: The Dilemma of the German Jew, more

Review Text

Well-documented but slow-moving second volume in Reinharz's monumental three-volume biography of Israel's first president (Chaim Weizmann: The Making of a Zionist Leader, 1985). Here, Reinharz (Modern Jewish History/Brandeis Univ.) recounts the years and negotiations that led to the Balfour Declaration of 1917 and the 1922 ratification of the British Mandate for Palestine - initial steps in the creation of Israel. Reinharz covers Weizmann's career from the beginning of WW I - when the Zionist, an emigre Russian Jew then residing in Great Britain, gained considerable political influence by using his scientific expertise to invent a cheap method of making acetone for explosives - through the victorious Balfour Declaration, difficult times in settling Palestine, and the ensuing British Mandate. The author seemingly has sought out every letter, diary entry, memorandum, newspaper clipping, and speech that Weizmann wrote, received, or was mentioned in - or that pertained to a Jewish homeland - during those years. Reinharz also has assembled a vivid and historical gallery comprised of the many figures of the Zionist movement, the British government, and others who dealt with Weizmann - including British Prime Minister David Lloyd George, French Baron James de Rothschild and his wife Dorothy, and American jurist Louis Brandeis. But in his earlier pages, the author sheds little light on Weizmann's personality, other than emphasizing his perseverance; it's only in later, livelier passages describing Weizmann's travels to Israel in 1918 that the statesman's leadership, energy, eloquence, diplomacy, and affection for his wife and children become apparent. Reinharz's writing again becomes pedestrian, though, when he retells the events leading up to Weizmann's triumph in the British Mandate. Not so much compelling as admirably - perhaps definitively - detailed. (Kirkus Reviews)show more