Battling for Peace by Shimon Perski

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Battling for Peace

(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

How did modern world leaders get to where they are today? This book answers that question for Shimon Peres. BATTLING FOR PEACE is the story of one man and of his nation. Readable as a personal memoir, the book is also indexed and footnoted with details of interest to those with a more scholarly bent.

Peres sees the saga of the Jewish nation not as a story of a land, a state, or a faith, but rather as a story of exceptional people. Fortune offered him an opportunity to work with people of vision, Peres explains, and he seized it. As he recounts personal experiences, Peres also offers insight into people whose names readers are accustomed to hearing on the news as well as some who may not be so well known. He writes of his bitter quarrels with Golda Meir and Yitzhak Rabin, for example, but readers also learn about Al Schwimmer, a young American Jew and senior flight engineer with Trans World Airlines (TWA) who volunteered to fight in the Israeli Air Force (IAF) during the War of Independence. Schwimmer was immediately appointed IAF’s chief engineer.

It is obvious that Peres should be included among the exceptional people of whom he writes. Although he never won the confidence of his nation in an election for prime minister, he is never-the- less one of the founding fathers of the Israeli state. After his defeat by Rabin in the 1992 election for prime minister, Peres resolved to set aside any regrets or resentments in the interests of unity and pledged that his behavior would be determined by only one thing—the progress of the peace process. Peres was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in October, 1994, for his contributions to the Middle East peace negotiations.

Peres explains, “I was born an optimist and have remained one throughout my life. Pessimism has always seemed to me a useless frame of mind.” He recognizes that he has been fortunate to be “present at the birth of a new world—sometimes as an onlooker, sometimes as an active participant in the act of creation.” This book, he says, is personal testimony to the fact that “it is permissible for a man to dream—not just any dreams, but great dreams.” In his thoughtful epilogue, Peres reminds readers that the saga of the Jewish nation continues, that his lifework is not yet done.