From Publishers Weekly
This work by acclaimed Churchill biographer Gilbert examines an often-neglected aspect of the British leader's career: his relationship to Jews and Jewish issues. Drawing on a treasure trove of primary documents, Gilbert shows how Churchill grew beyond the kind of friendship with individual British Jews that his father enjoyed into a supporter of Jewish causes—most notably a Jewish state in Palestine. (In later years, Churchill even referred to himself as an old Zionist.) Gilbert shows that Churchill recognized as early as 1933 that Hitler's regime posed a grave danger for European Jewry. Yet, as Gilbert shows, in the late 1930s, Churchill upset Zionist leaders with his support for limiting Jewish immigration to Palestine out of a concern for British interests in the Arab world. The work is chock-full of narrative, with little interpretation, and some readers might wish for more discussion of questions, such as Churchill's description of Bolshevism (which he loathed) as a Jewish movement. But this work is a must-read for those interested in Churchill and in Jewish history. 8 pages of photos; maps. (Nov. 1)
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Winston Churchill has been the subject of many of this author's 54 books, including an 8-volume biography, and some of Gilbert's books have been about the Holocaust. (He points out that for more than half a century, Churchill's life intertwined with Jewish issues.) Consequently, for 40 years he has essentially been collecting material for this book. Churchill served as a young member of Parliament from 1904 to 1908, with many Jews among his constituents; as a cabinet minister in 1921 and 1922, responsible for determining the future status of the Jewish National Home in Palestine; as a war leader from 1940 to 1945; and as peacetime prime minister from 1951 to 1956, aware of and sympathetic to Jewish concerns. Drawing on private papers, speeches, newspaper coverage, and wartime correspondence, Gilbert examines the origins, implications, and results of Churchill's commitment to Jewish rights. A perceptive and engrossing account, written by one of the foremost historians of our time.
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