In Israel: A History Anita Shapira attempts to create an accessible one-volume history of the modern state of Israel, beginning, as one must, in the year 1881.
Most general histories are stymied by too many facts. They roll from fact to fact anddeluge their readers with an overwhelming amount of detail that, while important, is too dry to enjoy and eliminates any pathos or real discussion of the significance of the topics.
Shapira brilliantly weaves together her history of Israel. She may be the narrator, but she allows history and historical characters — leaders and the people — to speak for themselves.
In a way, this history reads like a novel and is as compelling as a mystery. Any reader to pick up this work knows how it ends. And yet, through her mastery of the subject matter and her passion for the history, Shapira sustains her readers’ interest as she takes them along a road full of twists of destiny that unfold in the miraculous story called Israel.
Shapria specifically did not want to write a history that went from war to war, which is the way the history of Israel is usually recounted. Shapira lays out a chronological tale and while she cannot help but deal with the wars, the work does not devolve into a history of the wars that Israel fought. The book becomes as much a history of why the wars were fought as what happened between the wars.
In short, this is a truly creative and exciting history of Israel.