Friday, August 19, 2011


Exodus, Leon Uris, Doubleday, 1958, 599 pp

The #1 bestseller of 1959 was this long book about the history of the Zionist movement and the founding of modern day Israel. I have previously read The Hope, Herman Wouk's novel, which takes up the story in 1958 soon after Exodus ends, and carries it through the Six Day War of 1967. Wouk provides the reader with the 1950s American government's views on the conflict. I have also read A Tale of Love and Darkness, in which Amos Oz gives his account of growing up in Jerusalem in the 40s and 50s.

The result for me of reading all three comprises a start on being able to see into the complexities of Israel. I can't say that I understand all the ramifications of what is so rightly called a "conflict." It seems clear to me that Great Britain has behaved treacherously since before World War II, when it comes to dealing with both the Jews and the Arabs. In Exodus, the British come off very badly indeed and are accused of playing both sides, inflaming the Arabs to a point where any resolution looks unlikely until the end of time.

Leon Uris is not much of a writer. His characters, especially the women, are as flat as pancakes. His plotting skills depend on the history he obviously researched. Too many skirmishes and battles along with endless accounts of overcoming a lack of weapons and ammunition with clever strategy, add a good 100 pages to what is already an overly long book.

What he did convey brilliantly however is the power of purpose and hope to bring back to life a people who by the end of the Holocaust had been as beaten down, oppressed and overcome as any group of human beings on this earth.

(Exodus is available in mass market paperback by order from Once Upon A Time Bookstore.)


  1. I'm glad to find your review, Judy. I thought you may have read it because it is from 1958. Thanks for giving me the link. Did you know that Herman Wouk wrote a continuation of sorts to The hope in The Glory, which picks up right after 1967 when The Hope ended? It is 700 pages as well. Anyways, I have all 3 and was debating whether to start with The Hope or Exodus and decided for Exodus because I would then have to read The Glory immediately afterwards. Long story short, I'm liking Exodus, but I can only assume it'll take weeks to finish.

    1. I have read The Hope. It is good! Someday I will read The Glory. Wouk is also very pro-Israel. I have also read books from the Palestinian viewpoint. Exodus took me a while. I did not skim the battle scenes. I don't skim. I am always afraid I will miss something!

    2. I'll be back when I'm done with Exodus. :-)

    3. I won't hold my breath-:) I know how long it is.