Eli­nor Burkett
  • Review
By – March 5, 2012

This mat­ter-of-fact biog­ra­phy paints a real­is­tic, yet sym­pa­thet­ic, por­trait of a com­pli­cat­ed woman, Israeli Prime Min­is­ter Gol­da Meir. As a reluc­tant moth­er and mas­ter­ful politi­cian, Gol­da wres­tled with the prac­ti­cal con­se­quences caused by con­flicts between ide­ol­o­gy and prac­tice in her per­son­al life and her polit­i­cal career. Bur­kett shows this strug­gle in both pos­i­tive and neg­a­tive light, explor­ing how Golda’s social­ist ideals influ­enced her rela­tion­ships with fam­i­ly, friends, and col­leagues around the world, for bet­ter and, often, for worse. 

Nev­er­the­less, Golda’s jour­ney, from pover­ty in Rus­sia to pos­si­bil­i­ty in the Unit­ed States, to dif­fi­cul­ty in Pales­tine under the British Man­date and ulti­mate­ly to the pin­na­cle of lead­er­ship in the State of Israel, is noth­ing short of amaz­ing. Bur­kett for­tu­nate­ly does a won­der­ful job keep­ing the hero­ine alive, yet ground­ed in the real­i­ties of the 20th century. 

Gol­da offers well-researched analy­sis on many top­ics: the devel­op­ment and mat­u­ra­tion of Israeli pol­i­tics, Israeli his­to­ry from pre-state Israel to the State as a major play­er on the world stage, the rela­tion­ship between Israel and the Unit­ed States, gen­der stud­ies, and the immi­grant expe­ri­ence. With its breadth and depth, this book will cer­tain­ly fas­ci­nate any well-round­ed read­er of Jew­ish his­to­ry. Bib­li­og­ra­phy, notes.

Rachel Sara Rosen­thal is an envi­ron­men­tal attor­ney in Wash­ing­ton, DC. Orig­i­nal­ly from Greens­boro, North Car­oli­na, she grad­u­at­ed from Duke Uni­ver­si­ty in 2003 and Colum­bia Uni­ver­si­ty School of Law in 2006.

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