Haberman has written a wonderful book.
It is a book which is really a combination — a text book, a history, an autobiography and a teacher/discussion guide.
The title tells you everything. The beauty of the book comes to life as you actually start following the direction of this work and pore through the material, because that is when you begin to engage with the author.
Rereading Israel: The Spirit of the Matter is filled with original documents and texts supplemented by footnotes which are an enormous help in further understanding the material and directing the reader towards works about the topics under discussion.
Seldom does an author successfully draw the reader into a real dialogue. Haberman has a point of view, she does not hide her bias. She is unabashedly pro-Israel and is extremely proud of the many exciting contributions Israel has made.
The author chooses topics that help the reader grapple with Zionism and Israel. Her objective is to engage the reader and elevate the discussion beyond the simple and profane and on to a level of profound understanding.
The book is full of Mishna and Gemarah, Midrash and Rabbinical thought. It draws on the Bible and the great historians of the ancient and modern world. The most powerful parts of the book come when the author uses personal stories to elucidate her points. The most useful parts of the book to her readers come through her use of classical Jewish texts.