Form and Content

(Survey of Young Adult Fiction)

A Life for Israel: The Story of Golda Meir was the first biography of Meir written for this age group. It covers the time from her birth until 1974, just after her retirement as prime minister of Israel. Each of the eleven chapters is brief; the longest is slightly more than seven pages long. The text is illustrated with nineteen black-and-white photographs that provide important information, especially for children who have no idea what an overloaded refugee ship looks like or how hard it is living in a tent camp. Two photographs of the Merhavia kibbutz, one showing barren ground in the 1940’s and the other showing a lush oasis after years of hard work, are especially interesting. Also included is a chronology, a bibliography for further reading, and an index.

The story begins with the Mabowitz family living under religious persecution in Russia during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Golda’s father sets out for a better life in America, and his family rejoins him in Milwaukee after he has started a business. Golda grows up listening to discussions by Zionists, who want to create a Jewish homeland, and runs away from home at fourteen to work with them. She marries Morris Myerson, and they move to Palestine to work on a kibbutz. Now known as Golda Meir, she becomes more politically active and effectively leaves her family behind as she rises in power. After decades of struggle, Israel becomes a nation, a Jewish homeland, and...

(The entire section is 548 words.)