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A State at Any Cost

The Life of David Ben-Gurion

Tom Segev

$29.99

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Head of Zeus
20 February 2021
A biography of Israel's most iconic and controversial statesman.

The definitive biography of Israel's founder by one of Israel's most celebrated historians. As the founder of Israel, David Ben-Gurion long ago secured his reputation as a leading figure of the twentieth century. Determined from an early age to create a Jewish state, he took control of the Zionist movement, declared Israel's independence, and navigated his country through wars, controversies and remarkable achievements.

In this definitive biography, Tom Segev uses previously unreleased archival material to give an original, nuanced account that transcends the myths and legends that have built up around the man. He reveals Ben-Gurion's secret negotiations with the British on the eve of Israel's independence, his willingness to countenance the forced transfer of Arab neighbors, his relative indifference to Jerusalem, and his occasional eccentric moments - from UFO sightings to plans for Israel to acquire territory in South America.

The result is a full and startling portrait of a man who sought a state 'at any cost' - at times through risk-taking, violence, and unpredictability, and at other times through compromise, moderation and reason. Segev's Ben-Gurion is neither a saint nor a villain but a twentieth-century leader whose iron will and complex temperament left a contentious legacy, and one of the world's most intractable national conflicts.

Praise for A State at Any Cost: 'A must for anybody interested in both the glorious and the dark pages of the history of Zionism and Israel, as reflected throughout the life and times of the Jewish State's most important founding father' SAUL FRIEDLANDER 'The story of a hard-headed, pragmatic and ruthless politician, told without sentimentality or nostalgia. It also serves as a key to understanding today's Israel, which is still very much Ben-Gurion's creation' THE TIMES 'Fascinating ... A masterly portrait of a titanic yet unfulfilled man ... This is a gripping study of power, and the loneliness of power' THE ECONOMIST
By:   Tom Segev
Imprint:   Head of Zeus
Country of Publication:   United Kingdom
Dimensions:   Height: 228mm,  Width: 145mm, 
ISBN:   9781789544633
ISBN 10:   1789544637
Pages:   816
Publication Date:   20 February 2021
Audience:   General/trade ,  ELT Advanced
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Tom Segev is one of Israel's most celebrated historians. His works include The Seventh Million; 1967: Israel, the War, and the Year That Transformed the Middle East; Simon Wiesenthal; and One Palestine, Complete, which was chosen as one of the best ten books of 2000 by the New York Times.

Reviews for A State at Any Cost: The Life of David Ben-Gurion

'Authoritative ... [Segev] gives us a many-sided character, showing Ben-Gurion's strengths and weaknesses, great moments and cruelties, successes and failures. If you want a balanced account of what has long been a controversial state, this is a good place to start, and Segev is already well known for the excellence of his writing on Israel' * Sorted. * 'The book offers an appreciation of the life of an extraordinary man and an understanding of the values, political attitudes and the very concept of the Zionist State ... For readers with an interest in the subject, the book is worthwhile, informative and rewarding' * Pennant Magazine. * 'Without doubt one of the best biographies to have been written about David Ben-Gurion ... Segev manages to hold the reader's attention' * Literary Review * '[A] body of work that has no equal either for the brilliance of his storytelling or the ironies of his analysis' * London Review of Books * 'Tom Segev has completed a monumental task. The work includes the research of a true detective' -- Avner Cohen, author of Israel and the Bomb 'Deserves to be the definitive biography of Ben-Gurion. It is the story of a hard-headed, pragmatic and ruthless politician, told without sentimentality or nostalgia. It also serves as a key to understanding today's Israel, which is still very much Ben-Gurion's creation' * The Times * '[A] carefully researched and nonjudgemental biography ... Tom Segev's A State at Any Cost aptly summarizes the lodestar of Ben-Gurion's life' -- Avraham Avi-hai, Jerusalem Post 'Fascinating ... A masterly portrait of a titanic yet unfulfilled man ... This is a gripping study of power, and the loneliness of power' * Economist * 'In the course of six years of research, Segev [...] discovered a leader fraught with dramatic contrasts ... The author has come up with significant historical revelations' * Ofer Aderet, Haaretz * 'Tom Segev's meticulously researched and most elegantly written new biography of David Ben-Gurion is a must for anybody interested in both the glorious and the dark pages of the history of Zionism and Israel, as reflected throughout the life and times of the Jewish State's most important founding father' -- Saul Friedlander, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Nazi Germany and the Jews and Where Memory Leads


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