Have I read this before: I…think so? Maybe? Perhaps this is a book that I started but didn’t get very far into, because I remember like the first twenty pages but nothing beyond that (and there’s a lot beyond that). So let’s say…no.
Review: Oof. This book. This is basically “let’s tell the long history of suffering of the Jewish people through a handful of characters.” It’s super heavy and very disturbing at parts. I think that it’s definitely something people should read, especially people who aren’t very familiar with all the stuff Jewish people have had to go through throughout history (not just right before/during/right after WWII). Apparently Leon Uris wrote this with the goal to tell the story of Israel, but a lot of praise for the book acknowledges it as propaganda for the existence of Israel as an independent state. And beyond that, I don’t even really know what I can say about this book. It’s long, it’s dense, it’s disturbing, and it will stick in your memory for a long time. Read it.
Favorite part: there’s basically zero humor in this book due to the subject manner, but I did like the bit of humor at the end when the Jews from Yemen were being brought to Israel via plane. They had never seen a plane before and there’s a few pages of lighthearted chaos describing how they are acting while on the plane (lighting fires to celebrate, opening windows, etc.). It’s a bit of levity that really feels earned once you get to that point in the book; it’s like finally there’s some end to some of the suffering.
There’s also this line: Anti-Semitism was synonymous with the history of man, Johann Clement reasoned. It was a part of living – almost a scientific truth. Only the degree and the content varied.