Bruce Hoffman, ‘Anonymous Soldiers: The Struggle for Israel, 1917-1947’

From a review of Bruce Hoffman’s Anonymous Soldiers: The Struggle for Israel, 1917-1947.

Bruce Hoffman’s Anonymous Soldiers is a deftly written account of the Jewish revolt against the British in 1940s Palestine. Despite its scholarship—it draws heavily on recently declassified British documents—and its significant bulk, it is a page-turner that leaves the reader feeling sorry once the book is finished.

Unlike most accounts of the Jewish underground, this one tells the story from the British point of view, though without taking Britain’s side. It leaves the reader with no doubt that it was the Irgun, and to a lesser extent the much smaller Lehi, that drove the British from Palestine, and not, as the longtime mythology of Israel’s Laborites would have it, David Ben-Gurion’s skillful politicking.

Life is short and time is getting shorter. I will probably never again be able to read a book like this but am grateful for access to such a helpful review.