Israel: A History

Anita ShapiraIsrael: A History

Written by one of Israel’s most notable scholars, this volume provides a breathtaking history of Israel from the origins of the Zionist movement in the late 19th century to the present day.

Organized chronologically, the volume explores the emergence of  Zionism in Europe against the backdrop of relations among Jews, Arabs, and Turks, and the earliest pioneer settlements in Palestine under Ottoman rule. Weaving together political, social, and cultural developments in Palestine under the British mandate, Shapira creates a tapestry through which to understand the challenges of Israeli nation building, including mass immigration, shifting cultural norms, the politics of war and world diplomacy, and the creation of democratic institutions and a civil society. References to contemporary diaries, memoirs, and literature bring a human dimension to this narrative history of Israel from its declaration of independence in 1948 through successive decade of waging war, negotiating peace, and building a modern state with a vibrant society and culture.

Based on archival sources and the most up-to-date scholarly research, this authoritative history is ideal for course adoption and a must-read for anyone with a passionate interest in Israel. Israel: A History will be the gold standard in the field for years to come.
Winner of the National Jewish Book Award in History for 2012.


“"The night of November 29, 1947, following the United Nations GeneralAssembly vote partitioning Palestine, was marked by a spontaneous outpouring of joy. Crowds danced in the streets, the Hallel prayer of praise was offered up in synagogues opened specially in the middle of the night, and children garlanded sinister British armored vehicles with flowers. One who did not take part in the universal celebrations was David Ben-Gurion. Always the realist, he was aware of the bloody toll that the establishment of the Jewish state would exact. A year earlier, at the Twenty-second Zionist Congress, he had told the Yishuv’s security leadership that the Jewish forces must be held in check and confrontation with the British avoided, since the state would soon be declared and this would entail war not only with the Arabs of Palestine but also with the regular forces of the Arab states."

 Anita Shapira is Professor Emerita at Tel Aviv University. An internationally acclaimed scholar with a special interest in social and cultural history, Shapira has published pathbreaking studies on the history of Zionism, Jewish-Arab relations, and the state of Israel.

This book can be purchased directly through your university bookstore or  Brandeis University Press.