Review (Guest): The Invention of the Land of Israel: From Holy Land to Homeland

Amazon Page
Amazon Page

Shlomo Sand

5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Complement to First Book! December 6, 2012

“The Invention of the Land of Israel” is the follow up to the fascinating and controversial “The Invention of the Jewish People“. This excellent book serves as a complementary addition to the aforementioned book and fills gaps left behind. Historian and outspoken professor, Shlomo Sand does it again with this enlightening and educational book that reveals the history behind the Land of Israel. This 304-page book is composed of the following five chapters: 1. Making Homelands: Biological Imperative or National Property?, 2. Mytherritory: In the Beginning, God Promised the Land, 3. Toward a Christian Zionism: and Balfour Promised the Land, 4. Zionism Versus Judaism: The Conquest of “Ethnic” Space, and 5. Conclusion: The Sad Tale of the Frog and the Scorpion.

Positives:
1. A well-researched and well-cited book that takes you into the always fascinating world of Jewish history.
2. As candid and forthright a book as you will find. Professor Sand provides solid and well-cited evidence in support of his arguments.
3. Enlightening and thought-provoking book to say the least.
4. An excellent complement to his best-selling book “The Invention of the Jewish People”.
5. The myth that was the forced uprooting of the “Jewish people.”
6. The book does a wonderful job of explaining how the dissemination of a formative historical mythos occurred. “Never did I accept the idea of the Jews’ historical rights to the Promised Land as self-evident.”
7. Clarifies some of the misunderstood points made in his previous book.
8. Professor Sand takes pride in his historical scholarship and it shows. The quest for primary sources. The author does a good job of letting the readers know what he does have a good handle on and what he doesn’t.
9. Explains what really precipitated the establishment of the State of Israel.
10. The book achieves its goal of tracing the ways in which the “Land of Israel” was invented.
11. The book achieves the main goal of disparaging the official historiography of the Zionist Israeli establishment.
12. The notion of “homeland” in perspective. “It is important to remember that homelands did not produce nationalism, but rather the opposite: homelands emerged from nationalism.” The concept of territorial entity.


13. Was the Land of Israel the ancestral land of the descendants of the children of Israel? A biblical perspective…
14. The great minds behind the Jewish connection with the Land of Israel. Fascinating history.
15. The history of the three main revolts. Their causes and results.
16. The factors that revitalized interest over the Holy Land for all three Abrahamic religions.
17. The evolution of Zionism including the Christian variety. The colonization of the Middle East. The main players and factors involved. The Balfour Declaration.
18. An interesting look at the Arab inhabitants of Palestine. The increasing use of the moral superweapon “historical right.”
19. A condensed history of the Diaspora. Zionism versus Judaism.
20. The “redemption” of the land to “Judaization of the country”. The 1947 resolution regarding the partition of Palestine. The acquisition of land. The three most significant moments in the long history of the occupations and the settlements in the occupied territories that most likely were decisive in shaping the future of Israel and its neighbors.
21. An excellent final chapter that summarizes the main points of this interesting book.
22. Excellent citations.

Negatives:
1. Lack of visual aids to assist the reader. As an example, maps would have added much value.
2. The book at times is repetitive.
3. No formal bibliography.
4. A cast of characters, timelines, even glossaries would have immensely assisted an American audience that may not be familiar with this fascinating history.
5. The book lacks panache. English is not the author’s main language. This book is about substance over style.

In summary, this is a fascinating and enlightening book. I really enjoyed it and I must thank the author for the education. Professor Sand succeeds in educating the reader on the history of the “Land of Israel”. It’s a great complement to his previous best-selling book. I highly recommend it!

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