Rowman & Littlefield Publishers
Trim: 6 x 9
978-1-4422-5466-4 • Hardback • January 2016 • $48.00 • (£37.00)
978-1-4422-5467-1 • eBook • January 2016 • $42.50 • (£33.00)
Lawrence J. Epstein is professor emeritus at Suffolk County Community College, where he taught courses on Jewish thought and culture. He served as Adviser on the Middle East for two members of the United States Congress. He is the author of numerous books, including The Basic Beliefs of Judaism and Conversion to Judaism: A Guidebook.
- The Birth of Zionism
- The Sad-Eyed Prophet: Theodor Herzl’s Mission
- With Eyes Toward Zion: The Many Routes to Basel
- Trembling Before History: The Three Days of the Congress
- Zion’s Flame: Reactions Around the World
- Echoes of the Dream: The Legacy of the First Zionist Congress
In this interesting . . . book, Judaica scholar Epstein (Converts to Judaism) traces the political and ideological paths Theodor Herzl and others took in convening the First Zionist Congress in Basel, Switzerland, in 1897. Epstein offers some background on Herzl and introduces readers to some of Herzl's ideological precursors. He quotes extensively from what he considers the best speech of the Congress, by the largely forgotten novelist Max Nordau, and highlights Herzl's decision to invite as guests a number of Christian Zionists, such as the Rev. William Hechler, chaplain of the British embassy in Vienna. . . .[T]he book is clearly written and well-organized. . . .[H]is work makes for an informative introduction to an event that inaugurated modern Jewish political action.
— Publishers Weekly
Epstein humanizes the story of the first Zionist Congress in this thoroughly researched book. Against the backdrop of horrible pogroms in Eastern Europe and the failure of emancipation and enlightenment to dull anti-Semitism in Western Europe, Jewish thinkers were desperate for creative action. By force of personality and astute leadership, Theodore Herzl succeeded in assembling delegates from many competing ideologies and political sects, ‘the remarkable gathering that created political Zionism, the modern movement that gave birth to Israel.’ Drawing from official reports, newspaper accounts, personal notes, and participants’ diaries, this account unfolds like a story. Epstein succeeds in creating a ‘group portrait of these people and what they did at Basel.’ Six chapters discuss the historical context and developing ideologies preceding the Congress; Herzl’s biographical background; the congressional agendas, committees, and speeches; and the immediate and historical repercussions of the Congress, including its lack of consideration for indigenous populations in Palestine. The book includes a list of references, one map of Israel in the Middle East, and a chronological outline of events leading up to the Congress.
— Choice Reviews
The Dream of Zion is a wonderful narration of the life of Theodore Herzl, his many successes, his endurance of hardships, and his tenacity displayed on behalf of the Jewish nation. Additionally, The Dream of Zion clearly shows that neither Herzl’s political perception, nor the outcomes of the First Zionist Congress were perfect, but together they perfectly proved that once set free, the Jewish spirit, eager to recapture its ancient homeland, could no longer be contained.
— San Diego Jewish World
The Dream of Zion combines popular history with commentary.... [T]he overall picture that emerges is positive.
— Association of Jewish Libraries Reviews
The book is aimed towards a general reader interested in the history of Zionism. Likely buyers include advanced high school students, K-12 educators, and Zionist sympathizers worldwide. If this is a book you think you will enjoy, grab it. Having taken off my academic cap, I’ve enjoyed it, too.
— H-Net: Humanities and Social Science Reviews Online
With elegance, accuracy, and clarity, Lawrence Epstein's The Dream of Zion explains a dream that changed the world.
— Rabbi David Wolpe, Senior Rabbi, Sinai Temple, Los Angeles
The Dream of Zion is a riveting account of an event that changed not only the history of the Jews but of the world. We owe a debt of gratitude to Lawrence J. Epstein for retrieving a remarkable and nearly forgotten story.
— Yossi Klein Halevi, Shalom Hartman Institute, Jerusalem; author of Like Dreamers
No one can understand the modern state of Israel without knowing about the extraordinary whirlwind of events surrounding European anti-Semitism, Theodor Herzl, and the First Zionist Congress in 1897. The Dream of Zion provides that background, explicating both the complex origins of the Jewish State and some of the challenges it continues to face.
— Daniel Gordis, Shalem College
I have taught about Theodor Herzl and the Zionist movement for forty years, but I learned more from this book than any other. Lawrence Epstein has combined meticulous research with an engaging storytelling approach to help us understand the amazing genius of Herzl and the incredible success of the First Zionist Congress.
— Stephen A. Karol, rabbi emeritus, Temple Isaiah of Stony Brook, New York