Form and Content

(Critical Edition of Young Adult Fiction)

Ben-Gurion: The Biography of an Extraordinary Man is a biography of David Ben-Gurion and of Israel that mostly covers the years from 1913 to 1958. Robert St. John provides a detailed history of many events leading to the development of the Jewish state and of Ben-Gurion’s outstanding role in the process. Some aspects of Ben-Gurion’s early life in Poland and his marriage are also included. The book chronicles both the disappointments and triumphs of the Lion of Judah—as many called him—and of Israel during the years before Israel’s statehood. The disappointments include the 1917 Balfour Declaration, which led to Great Britain’s control of Palestine and to thirty years of British Colonial Agency discrimination against Palestinian Jews. St. John notes that this discrimination did not end when the United Nations approved the partition of Palestine into Jewish and Arab states in 1947 and ordered Great Britain to withdraw in 1948.

Many inappropriate British actions against Palestinian Jews and Jews attempting to enter Palestine are recorded by St. John. These actions include providing arms to Arab Palestinians (while preventing Jews from obtaining armaments) and forcing the return to Germany of the refugee ship Exodus 1947, which contained 4,500 Jewish survivors of German concentration camps. Winston Churchill reportedly called such treatment British foreign secretary Ernest Bevin’s “squalid war” against Palestinian Jews....

(The entire section is 572 words.)