Review Essay

Anonymous No More

The Real History of Israel's Independence Movement

In This Review

Anonymous Soldiers: The Struggle for Israel, 1917–1947
Anonymous Soldiers: The Struggle for Israel, 1917–1947
By Bruce Hoffman
Knopf, 2015, 640 pp. $35.00 Purchase

Bruce Hoffman does his book something of an injustice with his opening question: “Does terrorism work?” An important topic, no doubt, and the book offers an interesting answer to this query in one particular case, but Anonymous Soldiers is more than another evidentiary brick in the wall of terrorism studies. Rather, it is a major contribution to the historical account of Israel’s founding. Along the way, Hoffman, the director of the Center for Security Studies and director of the Security Studies Program at Georgetown, paints a portrait of the United Kingdom as a blundering superpower, one that is at once too hard, too soft, and deeply incompetent at handling an admittedly impossible task.

Hoffman is not merely a gifted writer and a thorough scholar but a dispassionate and insightful student as well. He has sympathy with some of the characters of his tale—the beleaguered Zionist statesman Chaim Weizmann,

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