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A State at Any Cost  By  cover art

A State at Any Cost

By: Tom Segev,Haim Watzman - translator
Narrated by: Paul Boehmer
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Publisher's Summary

In this definitive biography, Israel's leading journalist-historian, Tom Segev, uses large amounts of previously unreleased archival material to give an original, nuanced account, transcending the myths and legends that have accreted around Ben-Gurion. Segev's probing biography ranges from the villages of Poland to Manhattan libraries, London hotels, and the hills of Palestine, and shows us Ben-Gurion's relentless activity across six decades. Along the way, Segev reveals for the first time Ben-Gurion's secret negotiations with the British on the eve of Israel's independence, his willingness to countenance the forced transfer of Arab neighbors, his relative indifference to Jerusalem, and his occasional "nutty moments". Segev also reveals that Ben-Gurion first heard about the Holocaust from a Palestinian Arab acquaintance and explores his tempestuous private life, including the testimony of four former lovers.  

The result is a full and startling portrait of a man who sought a state "at any cost" - at times through risk-taking, violence, and unpredictability, and at other times through compromise, moderation, and reason. Segev's Ben-Gurion is neither a saint nor a villain but rather a historical actor who belongs in the company of Lenin or Churchill.

©2019 Tom Segev; translation copyright 2019 by Haim Watzman (P)2019 Tantor

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Need A More Balanced, Unbiased View

I tried with this one. I even sped up the narration a bit to see if that gave it a lift off. But I couldn't get close to finishing. The reason is there's a fundamental problem and it starts out this way. It would appear from the very beginning that Tom Segev greatly disdains David Ben-Gurion and Zionism in general. From the very beginning of the book, it's nothing but blaring negatives about this man and the movement. It's not that the author needs to love the subject. Gushing over the biographical subject makes for many biases too. Ben-Guiron accomplished a great deal in his life as a political statesman, and this book only seems to make him appear a hapless, monstrous Zionist. And then every action is seen through that lens instead of what he was able to accomplish. And Israel's rebirth and survival is a miracle in every sense.

Paul Boehmer is great with accents. He does the best he can. This one is tough one. And no doubt there is great information in it, as this was a very transitory time. Maybe will try another author's take on Ben-Guiron.

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Good Topic - Poor Story

The story was boring about a part of Ben-Gurion's life which held no interest for me. Plus the telling was by someone with a heavy foreign accent making it difficult to comprehend.

1 person found this helpful

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Superb!

This is an excellent book. Superb history not just about the man but obviously then entire Zionist enterprise and its numerous influences and repercussions. Great way to learn about one of the world's key individuals. As one finishes the book one sees how Ben-Gurion was simply a sign of the times, I guess like we all are. Although natural selection has been working on our planet to create slightly smarter apes some absorb a cultural identity of "Jews" and inevitable non-Jews ... and ohh boy was everything seen through that lens for Gurion and obviously most other Israeli leaders..Too bad Ben-Gurion never read fellow Jew Ludwig von Mises :-( ... Great book....

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Ben Gurion’s life in detail

Detailed telling of Ben Gurion’s activities throughout his life with insightful analysis of his character and behavior and informed speculation about his motives and driving forces. The author wrote in Hebrew and assumes the reader already is knowledgeable about the wider events in Israeli history and politics. A person without this background will be lost at times, as context is not given. Why political leaders kept begging him to remain as or return to being prime minister is not examined.
The reader of the book is dreadful. He butchers any nonEnglish word, including the name Ben Gurion, by pronouncing it in a language of his own devising, never close to correct. He decided that any Jew, regardless of whether they were male or female, or born in Israel, Poland, Germany, or the USA, talks like Count Dracula. As a large potion of the book is foreign names, places, or quotations, this parody is constantly jarring. He would have done much better by sticking to his American accent. I am left knowing much more about Ben Gurion and his central role in Israel, but disliking him and not understanding why Israelis so wanted him to remain their leader.

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Bad narration

The attempt to fake an accent failed. It is neither a Polish accent nor a Hebrew accent. The pronunciation of the letter R in Ben Gurion is annoying. In literary Hebrew the R is an R not a GR.