The Bow-Tied Blogger

The life and adventures of one soldier and his various journeys.

  Sunday, May 20, 2007

This will be my last blog post until Thursday evening. I have a Field Training Exercise tomorrow (with sarcasm: oh joy oh joy) until Thursday and may it be over early on Thursday, rather than later. I have everything, but toiletries and some other materials packed and I am ready to endure this exercise.

In the meantime, I present another April review:

What I Wish My Christian Friends Knew about Judaism (Paperback)

Now, this book is worth reading if you do not know much about Judaism. However, I didn't learn too much new from this book, but that makes me feel great. It means I am learning the basics, as basic Judaism books are becoming redundant for me. It means I am ready to enter the world of intermediate Judaism, though I have yet to fully master the aleph-bet, but I will in time. Now back to the book. I do admit I should have probably made this one of my first books to read as it is excellent for anyone with questions about Judaism. If you're curious or if you're Jewish and still learning your heritage, get this book. If you're a rabbi, then you probably know everything the book would have to teach you :)

Now on to my final book of April: Exodus, by Leon Uris

Now, this book is historical fiction so I have no doubt liberties were taken. Obviously Yosef Trumpledore, David Ben Gurion, and Lord Balfour are real. Conversely, Adolf Hitler, Haj Amin El Husseini, Adolf Eichmann, and pro-Arab British officers are also real (and some of those schmucks may still be alive).

I do suspect the main characters are not, but I'd love to see if I am wrong. This book was powerful and passionate. Britain's prison camps and the cruelty of keeping a persecuted people behind barbed wire is not mentioned in history class, but it should be. I also love how each character is given a biography as we are first introduced to the reporter and his childhood friend, a nurse looking to replace her lost husband and child. Next are the contrasting tales of Karen Clement and Dov Landau, along with their own experiences of the Holocaust and their unlikely pairing.

The prison camps (I won't call the Concentration Camps as the British didn't actively try to kill the Jewish refugees) were run by a British General who is in fact Jewish, but it isn't until much later that he embraces his heritage fully (at the beginning he is pro-Jewish). His aide is a nasty Amalekite named Freddie Caldwell, a petty and vindictive man who will eventually meet justice through the Maccabees.

The plan is very basic. Under the Mossad and Ari Ben Canaan, a ship overflowing with children will ram the blockade and make international news, putting much needed pressure on the British to allow the Jewish refugees to emigrate to Palestine, where the Jewish Yishuv contains the only democracy in the region.

The tactic works and the next part of the book details the land that will become Israel and the British operations there. In addition is the background of Ari Ben Canaan's father and brother as well as his fiery and lovely sister Jordana. The tale of the gangster Haj Amin is given as his family proved the worst dons in the Levant and used threats and extortion to make Haj Amin Mufti of Jerusalem.

Also, a more enlightened sheik is mentioned and he works with and befriends the Ben Canaans as long as they promise to teach his Arabs the same techniques. Unfortunately this noble figure is murdered by the other dons and his son is a good, but weak leader, failing to stop Egyptian forces from taking over his town.

The story doesn't end with the modern state of Israel. One final tale is told of a roguish fellow and a daredevil pilot who seek to make a quick fortune rescuing Jewish refugees from Yemen, which leads to a certain amount of humor as Jews still living in the time of Solomon are taken aboard a plane and start a fire on board. These rogues become heroes as they continue their missions and join the Israeli community.

I highly recommend this book. I am not a man known for emotions or passions but it stirred up more than a few in me. I highly recommend this book, though remember it is not 100% accurate. A style I love, but the caveat is needed, as it is based on real events :)

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13 Comments:

Blogger Sara with NO H said...

I'll miss you. Be safe.

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