Anonymous Soldiers: The Struggle for Israel 1917-1947
Bruce Hoffman’s Anonymous Soldiers is a comprehensive study of the Jewish underground during Mandatory Palestine. The book won the National Jewish Book Award Prize for Jewish Book of the Year, and it is well deserving of that title. Hoffman, a professor whose expertise is rooted in terrorism studies, approaches the story of the Jewish underground with a fine analytical eye. Whether or not the Jewish underground were “terrorists” or “freedom fighters” (and whether or not there’s a difference between the two), Hoffman does not address, instead focusing on the controversial question of “does terrorism work?” Seventy years after events like the King David Hotel bombing, studying that question through the lens of the terrorist/counterterrorist campaign in Mandatory Palestine remains extremely relevant to today. Was it the Irgun Zvai Leumi and the Stern Gang who finally pushed the British out of Palestine? Or was it a host of other geopolitical factors beyond the actions of the Jewish underground? Hoffman goes extremely in depth to specific stories and takes you into the perspectives of all the key players, using newly released documents from British intelligence. A definitely worthwhile read if you have even the slightest interest in the Jewish underground during Mandatory Palestine.