1948: a history of the first Arab-Israeli war

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Yale University Press, 2008 - History - 524 pages
18 Reviews

This history of the foundational war in the Arab-Israeli conflict is groundbreaking, objective, and deeply revisionist. A riveting account of the military engagements, it also focuses on the war's political dimensions. Benny Morris probes the motives and aims of the protagonists on the basis of newly opened Israeli and Western documentation. The Arab side—where the archives are still closed—is illuminated with the help of intelligence and diplomatic materials.


Morris stresses the jihadi character of the two-stage Arab assault on the Jewish community in Palestine. Throughout, he examines the dialectic between the war's military and political developments and highlights the military impetus in the creation of the refugee problem, which was a by-product of the disintegration of Palestinian Arab society. The book thoroughly investigates the role of the Great Powers—Britain, the United States, and the Soviet Union—in shaping the conflict and its tentative termination in 1949. Morris looks both at high politics and general staff decision-making processes and at the nitty-gritty of combat in the successive battles that resulted in the emergence of the State of Israel and the humiliation of the Arab world, a humiliation that underlies the continued Arab antagonism toward Israel.


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Review: 1948: A History of the First Arab-Israeli War

User Review  - AskHistorians - Goodreads

This book covers the history of the first Arab-Israeli war, with great detail given for how the war was conducted, the events of it, and how the Israelis managed to succeed in winning the war itself ... Read full review

Review: 1948: A History of the First Arab-Israeli War

User Review  - Christopher St - Goodreads

The only reason I don't give this book 5 stars is because there are lengthy sections laboring over the tactical details of the war which are simply not very entertaining. Unfortunately, as I have ... Read full review


The Historical Background
UNSCOP and the Partition Resolution
The First Stage of the Civil War November 1947March 1948

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About the author (2008)

Benny Morris is professor of history in the Middle East Studies Department of Ben-Gurion University, Israel. He is the leading figure among Israel's "New Historians," who over the past two decades have reshaped our understanding of the Israeli-Arab conflict. His books include Righteous Victims: A History of the Zionist-Arab Conflict, 1881-2001; Israel's Border Wars, 1949-1956; and The Birth of the Palestinian Refugee Problem Revisited.