Book Information

Land and Desire in Early Zionism

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264 pp. 29 illus. 6x9"

Also available on E-book, 978-1-61168-015-7

Awards and Reviews

Land and Desire in Early Zionism  selected as winning recipient of the Azrieli Institute Award for Best Book in Israel Studies, 2012.

Review by David Rodman in Israel Affairs, 19:3 (June 2013)

Land and Desire in Early Zionism

Boaz NeumannYoung Tel Aviv

A provocative look at the centrality of desire for "the Land" among early settlers in pre-state Israel

This innovative study examines the responses of early-twentieth-century pioneers to "the Land" of Palestine. Early Zionist historiography portrayed these young settlers as heroic; later, more critical studies by the "new" historians and sociologists focused on their failures and shortcomings. Boaz Neumann argues for something else that historians have yet to identify - desire. Desire for the Land and a visceral identification with it begin to explain the pioneer experience and its impact on Israeli history and collective memory, as well as on Israelis' abiding connection to the Land of Israel. His close readings of archival documents, memoirs, diaries, poetry, and prose of the period develop new understandings - many of them utterly surprising - of the Zionist enterprise. For Neumann, the Zionist revolution was an existential revolution: for the pioneers, to be in the Land of Israel was to be!

BOAZ NEUMANN is an assistant professor in the Department of History, Tel Aviv University.

This book was published by Brandeis University Press as part of the Schusterman Series in Israel Studies.