Theodor Herzl The Charismatic Leader Derek Penslar

Series:
Jewish Lives
Format:
Hardback
Publication date:
18 Feb 2020
ISBN:
9780300180404
Imprint:
Yale University Press
Dimensions:
256 pages: 210 x 146mm
Illustrations:
1 b-w illus.
Sales territories:
World

Categories:

The life of Theodor Herzl (1860–1904) was as puzzling as it was brief. How did this cosmopolitan and assimilated European Jew become the leader of the Zionist movement? How could he be both an artist and a statesman, a rationalist and an aesthete, a stern moralist yet possessed of deep, and at times dark, passions? And why did scores of thousands of Jews, many of them from traditional, observant backgrounds, embrace Herzl as their leader?

Drawing on a vast body of Herzl’s personal, literary, and political writings, historian Derek Penslar shows that Herzl’s path to Zionism had as much to do with personal crises as it did with antisemitism. Once Herzl devoted himself to Zionism, Penslar shows, he distinguished himself as a consummate leader—possessed of indefatigable energy, organizational ability, and electrifying charisma. Herzl became a screen onto which Jews of his era could project their deepest needs and longings.

Derek Penslar is the William Lee Frost Professor of Jewish History at Harvard University. His previous books include Jews and the Military: A History and Shylock’s Children: Economics and Jewish Identity in Modern Europe.
 

"Derek Penslar, the most original scholar on the history of Zionism today, has written a masterful book, which may indeed become the definitive Herzl biography of our age."—Michael Brenner, author of A Short History of the Jews


“Theodor Herzl was the indispensable catalyst of the Zionist movement that began before him, developed independently of him, and prevailed on its own decades after his death. Penslar's book unlocks this paradox, and in richly providing the historical context of his leadership, magnifies its achievement.”— Ruth R. Wisse, author of Jews and Power