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American Zionism from Herzl to the Holocaust by Melvin Urofsky (185,000 words)

This eBook is a co-edition Plunkett Lake Press/University of Nebraska Press.

Vienna journalist Theodore Herzl realized that anti-Semitism, dramatically illustrated by the Dreyfus Affair in 1890s France, would never be stemmed by the attempts of Jews to assimilate. The publication of his
Der Judenstaat in 1896 began the political movement for a Jewish homeland in Palestine. It caught on in Europe but was moribund in the United States until World War I. Urofsky shows how the Zionist movement was Americanized by Louis D. Brandeis and other reformers. He portrays the disputes between assimilationist and conservative Jews and the difficulties impeding the movement until Arab riots in Palestine, British treachery, and the Nazi horrors of World War II reunited American Jewry. American Zionism from Herzl to the Holocaust won the Jewish Book Council’s Morris J. Kaplun Award in 1976.

“One of the most important books in the field of American-Jewish history to appear in years. Superbly researched and written, it is a major contribution to the understanding of the paradoxical weaknesses and strengths of American Zionism in our time... This book belongs in any collection of works on American Jewry, world Jewry, American foreign affairs or Israeli-Arab conflict background.” —

“How American Zionism, culturally so different from European Zionism, helped create the movement as a political power is the theme of this absorbing history. It is must reading for anyone who would understand American foreign policy involvements in the Middle East.” —
Christian Science Monitor

“[Urofsky’s] study is a first-rate piece of work.” — David Singer,
Commentary Magazine

“[Urofsky] has relied on an impressive array of primary source material including archival and manuscript collections, newspapers, magazines, and the reports of Zionist congresses and conventions. They emerge from his pen as a coherent, readable and, oft times, fascinating whole... In a fascinating and readable style he focuses on the most interesting events and personalities... He has succeeded in adroitly molding innumerable facts and details into a cohesive and coherent body of material... a significant addition to the study of American Zionism.” — Deborah E. Lipstadt,
Jewish Social Studies

“[A] well-written, penetrating narrative... Much of what he discusses — how Brandeis fused Zionism with Americanism, the fight for communal power between the wealthy stewards of the American Jewish Committee and the recent immigrants, the part played by the Americans in the Balfour Declaration negotiations, the rift between the Weizmann and Brandeis factions — has been told before. But Urofsky’s data, gleaned from numerous manuscript collections, and his skillful collation of far-flung monographic material have put a definitive stamp on a long-needed synthetic history of those events.” — Naomi W. Cohen,
The Journal of American History

“Melvin I. Urofsky argues in this, the most complete analysis yet published of American Zionism, that the most sensible perspective for understanding American Zionism is American history.” — Edward S. Shapiro,
American Jewish Historical Quarterly

American Zionism from Herzl to the Holocaust is a monument to the interplay between the Zionism of America and that of Europe, resulting in the creation of a thoroughly American movement with worldwide influence... Urofsky’s thesis is both convincing and thoroughly supported.” — Peter S. Margolis, H-Judaic