Wednesday, December 19, 2007

[Book Review] JERUSALEM VIGIL by Bodie and Brock Thoene


Robert Cruthirds reviews JERUSALEM VIGIL by Bodie and Brock Thoene (Viking, 2000)

This is the first book in a series that chronicles the birth of the modern state of Israel in 1948. It covers the first five days after Israel was declared a sovereign state on May 14, 1948. This was a period filled with uncertainty after British soldiers left Palestine. Although most of the Jews and Arabs in Palestine resent the British, the British military presence maintained a semblance of peace and order. Now things are about to change.

Jewish forces under the Haganah are preparing to defend their section of the old city of Jerusalem from Muslim attackers. Both sides are anticipating reinforcements soon, but the Jewish situation is much more desperate due to a lack of food and water. The Muslim forces are hoping to deliver a knockout blow before the Jews are resupplied. Meanwhile, an Israeli military caravan from Tel Aviv is desperately trying to reach Jerusalem.

The Thoenes have produced a well-researched work of historical fiction. Many of the Jewish characters are Holocaust survivors from Eastern Europe, hoping for a fresh start in an independent Israel. The youngest two Muslim characters are brothers who save the life of a Jewish boy. Many verses from the Bible are included, and some of the characters experience a spiritual transformation in the midst of all the suffering.

Robert Cruthirds, Randolph Branch Library

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