A balanced biography of Golda Meir, who was both adored and abhorred, from award-winning author Deborah E. Lipstadt
“Comprehensive. . . . Always thoughtful. . . . A nuanced account of a leader whose influence endures in the Middle East.”—Kirkus Review
Golda Meir (1898–1978) was the first and only woman to serve as prime minister of Israel. She was born in Kiev into a childhood of poverty, hunger, and antisemitism. When she was five, her father left to find work in America, and a year later the family settled in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. As a teenager she became devoted to Labor Zionism, giving street-corner speeches, and her family’s home became a destination for Zionist emissaries. Her love for Labor Zionism was so fervent that her boyfriend, Morris Meyerson (her future husband), was often in competition with her dedication to the cause.
Zionism prevailed. In 1921, Golda left America for Palestine with Morris and her sister Sheyna. Though the reality of living in Palestine was far from the dream of Zionism, Meir settled on the kibbutz Merhavia and was swiftly appointed to the Histadrut (the General Organization of Hebrew Workers in Palestine). As an ally of the Zionist David Ben-Gurion, Meir played an important role in the Yishuv, the pre-state Jewish community in Palestine; proved an almost singular ability to connect and fundraise with diaspora Jewry, particularly Americans; and served in three pivotal positions following Israel’s independence: labor secretary of the newly formed state, foreign minister, and Israel’s fourth prime minister.
In tracing the life of Golda Meir, acclaimed author Deborah E. Lipstadt explores the history of the Yishuv and Jewish state from the 1920s through the 1973 Yom Kippur War, all while highlighting the contradictions and complexities of a person who was only the third woman to serve as a head of state in the twentieth century.
About the Author
Deborah E. Lipstadt is the Dorot Professor of Modern Jewish History and Holocaust Studies at Emory University. Her award-winning books include Denying the Holocaust, History on Trial: My Day in Court with a Holocaust Denier (the basis for the film Denial), Antisemitism: Here and Now, The Eichmann Trial, and Beyond Belief: The American Press and the Coming of the Holocaust, 1933–1945. Ambassador Lipstadt currently serves as the U.S. State Department’s Special Envoy for Monitoring and Combating Antisemitism. She lives in Washington, DC.
“Lipstadt offers a distilled, delicate account of Meir’s remarkable dedication to her nation that encourages a learned reckoning with her complex legacy.”—John Knight, New York Times Book Review
“Engaging writing and fresh perspectives on key moments. . . . An important and captivating short biography of a unique figure in modern Jewish life.”—Avi Shilon, Literary Review
“Comprehensive. . . . Always thoughtful. . . . A nuanced account of a leader whose influence endures in the Middle East.”—Kirkus Reviews
“Lipstadt’s book, Golda Meir: Israel’s Matriarch, is a holistic portrait. It neither neglects nor erases Meir’s shortcomings, but finds in them the same worldview that fostered her many successes.”—PJ Grisar, The Forward
“Absorbing. . . . Lipstadt’s book offers the most perceptive account to date of how Golda forged her conviction in the fires of personal and collective memory.”—Benjamin Balint, Jewish Review of Books
“Deborah Lipstadt’s own ambassadorial role, her grounding as a scholar, and her firsthand experience of gender issues in a leadership position make her the ideal biographer for Golda Meir. It’s a true pleasure to read this lively and deeply informed account of one of Israel’s pivotal figures.”—Bob Goldfarb, Jewish Book Council
“Lipstadt succeeds in painting a visceral portrait of Golda Meir as a gifted orator and blunt negotiator, a pragmatic, single-minded and often inflexible leader who was wholeheartedly devoted to the Zionist mission.”—Amy Spiro, Times of Israel
“Deborah Lipstadt offers a comprehensive and fresh portrait of the former Israeli prime minister. Through her attention to gender, Lipstadt provides novel insights into the life of this iconic woman!”—Rabbi David Ellenson, author of Jewish Meaning in a World of Choice: Studies in Tradition and Modernity
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