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Tom Segev's widely-acclaimed work has changed the way we view the history of Israel. In this new book, he turns his expertise to the period before the creation of the state, the three decades when Palestine was ruled by the British Empire; and to Britain's promise to both Jews and Arabs that they would inherit the land.
Drawing on a wealth of fascinating, heretofore untapped archival material and primary sources, Segev reconstructs in vivid detail the tumultuous era when anything seemed possible and everything went awry. Here are the legendary figures - General Allenby, Lawrence of Arabia, King Faisal, Chaim Weitzman, David Ben-Gurion as well as an array of pioneers, immigrants, secret agents, diplomats and fanatics, all participants in a multicultural spectacle of revolution and decadence, prophecy and illusion.
Sensitive to all perspectives, Segev tracks the rise of the two national movements and their steady advance towards confrontation. And with the originality that is his hallmark, he offers the controversial thesis that the British, far from being pro-Arabist as commonly thought, consistently favoured the Zionist position, thereby ensuring the creation of the Jewish state; and that they did so out of the mistaken - and anti-Semitic - belief that the Jews turned the wheels of history.