In This Review

The Siege: The Saga of Israel and Zionism
The Siege: The Saga of Israel and Zionism
By Conor Cruise O'Brien
Simon & Schuster, 1986, 766 pp

Diplomat, politician, editor and historian, Conor Cruise O'Brien had the versatility, talent and dedication for this book he felt he had to write on the Jewish destiny in Europe and in Palestine. The connection between the two locales is at the heart of the book's message, for Zionism and Israel, the author points out, were creations not only of the Jews but also of "the rest of us." He writes as a friend of Israel, but not without sympathy for the Palestine Arabs, whom he sees as victims of history and of their own leaders. It is a long road from the Dreyfus case to the siege of Beirut and this book takes it year by year and sometimes day by day. As the author is never sparing of words, opinions and digressions, the "general reader" for whom he purports to write may not make it to the end, but the writing has a sprightly touch, and those who persist will be rewarded.