One Palestine, Complete: Jews and Arabs under the British Mandate

In This Review

One Palestine, Complete: Jews and Arabs under the British Mandate

By Tom Segev
Metropolitan Books, 2000
612 pp. $35.00

Dare one say, in praise, that One Palestine, Complete reads like a novel? Big, sprawling, and riveting, it tells the story of Palestine from the last years of World War I to the creation of Israel in 1948. With impressive documentation, especially of Zionist and British sources, this is an exercise in revisionism. Instead of sharply etched heroes and knaves, Segev serves up individual Arab, British, and Jewish protagonists, the great and the less-than-great, with divergent aims and confused intentions. And contrary to conventional Zionist historiography, the state of Israel was achieved not in the face of British resistance but with substantial British support, however erratic, throughout the Mandate period. Segev also discounts the importance of the Holocaust in facilitating statehood. Readers, finding a host of new interpretations and insights, will question many points great and small, but this is the most impressive and readable account of Mandate Palestine since Christopher Sykes's 1965 work, Crossroads to Israel, 1917-1948.

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