The Hope: A Novel Hardcover – Dec 1993
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From Publishers Weekly
In the Historical Notes to this solid saga encapsulating three Israeli-Arab wars, Wouk makes astute reference to the element that gives the novel its considerable power: he refers to his "arduous personal research . . . which is one reason that my books appear at long intervals." Conceding the impossibility of using "cool perspective" about events so recent and often still hotly debated, he then clarifies which episodes in the novel are based on fact. These accounts of specific battles, behind-the-scenes political skirmishes in Israel and diplomatic strategy in Washington, D.C., provide the novel's fascinating historical background and true drama. Among and between his accounts of the 1948 War of Independence, the Suez crisis and the Six-Day War, Wouk weaves a story of two protagonists and their fortunes in love and war. Young Polish immigrant Yossi Blumenthal first distinguishes himself in battle in such a reckless manner that he is dubbed Don Kishote; he goes on to become a military hero. His first commander, Zev Barak, is "sidelined" into diplomacy and becomes an attache in Washington. Such actual figures as David Ben Gurion, Moshe Dayan, Golda Meir and others are depicted with candor and credibility. While his account is sympathetic to Israel, Wouk does not paint the Arabs with a tarred brush; nor does he put a false gloss on less-than-admirable episodes in the short history of the Jewish nation. Though his prose at times peregrinates into the pedestrian, Wouk has not lost his touch: this is an engrossing and often moving tale.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Library Journal
Wouk's newest novel covers Israel's history from the new state's first battle for survival in 1948 through its joyous victory in the Six-Day War of 1967. In the style of Winds of War ( LJ 11/1/71) and War and Remembrance ( LJ 10/15/78), it tells a story of relationships and human lives in the midst of political and social turmoil. (Notes at the back describe the actual events used as background.) The historical figures are here: Eshkol and Eban, Ben Gurion and Dayan are all woven into the fictional drama of Zev Barak, Don Kishote Nitzan, their families, and close friends. Sadly, Wouk's women are still "handmaidens of men," but the ongoing chronicle of politics, intrigue, and nation-building provides an exciting and involving adventure. This is good reading, sure to be sought by those who have read Wouk's earlier novels and enjoyed by many new fans as well. Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 8/93.
- Marcia Dorey, Northwest Missouri State Univ. Lib., Maryville
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Top Customer Reviews
As fiction, this is pretty bad. It does retain your interest - but it's clear that at some point the once fine fiction writer Herman Wouk simply became more interested in history than in creating great characters and situations in fiction - probably while he was writing The Winds of War. (However, he has since written a few good novels set in contemporary times). At any rate, suffice to say that the characters are cardboard, their emotions aren't dealt with in a realistic way - and Wouk doesn't really try.
What he does want to do is to create a very truthful yet page-turning historical novel that teaches us about Israel through the 1967 war's aftermath - it moves and inspires and is fascinating and makes you want to read the next page. The history itself leaps off the page. So no, it's not anything like Faulkner or Proust, Mann or Melville, but you'll still find it a very exciting informative read - and want to read it again.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Senator Mike Fair
Oklahoma State Senator (retired)
The book does give a great insider feel that made me feel I could understand what was going through the minds of many actual and made-up characters that inter-mingle throughout the book. I would not call the book sappy, but it does spend almost as much time on the love life of the main characters as it does the political/warfighing events of the time.
The book takes a while to get going and never seems to be in a rush. The pace takes is time, so do not look for a quick read
Mr Wouk obviously spent a lot of time in Israel researching the book, and the feel for the different regions and sub-cultures really comes out. If you like history and are looking for something a bit heavier than beach books, but are not quite ready for a 1200 page academic tome on mid-east history than "The Hope" may be for you
The book has the backdrop of Israel during the early years of its existence. By following individual characters throughout the book, we, as the reader, get to see the many different elements of Israel's people and their actions and thoughts during this period of time. From the deeply religious to the holocaust survivor to the American Jew, we get the different perspectives of all who were involved at this period of time.
Of course, we also have classic Wouk, the militarey scenes, the love story, and the entanglements that individuals have with regard to their personal lives.
This book was able to give a more personal account of the creation of the Jewish state. There is no better storyteller than Wouk and I recommend this book to all. If you are not interested in the political and ideological background of this novel, then I would atr least recommend that you read his Winds of War and War and Rememberance which are similarly written books with the backdrop of World War 2.