School Library JournalGr 4-8-- Coming as he did from a wealthy, assimilated Jewish family, Theodor Herzl appears an unlikely candidate to be founder of the World Zionist Organization, and to have lobbied for the creation of a Jewish homeland in Palestine. He was, however, profoundly affected by several instances of anti-Semitism, particularly the trial and degradation of Dreyfus in 1894. In traditional biographical style, events proceed chronologically. Factual information is minimal but reasonably accurate; readers will be aware of the cumulative effect of anti-Semitic incidents on Herzl's thought processes, culminating in his eventual conclusion that the only resolution was to create a Jewish homeland in Palestine. Missing however, is some insight or understanding of the complex character of this man; that spark that makes a historical character come alive. Gurko tends to attribute motives or draw conclusions not justified by the facts as stated. A tendency toward melodramatic overstatement interferes with readers' understanding of complex social and political historical events. The text is complemented by black-and-white illustrations; some are highly stylized; others appear to be copies of photographs. The index and short summary of ``important dates'' make this useful for reports. Although written for older readers, Norman Finkelstein's Theodor Herzl (Watts, 1987) provides a more thorough, comprehensive picture of both the man and his times. --Susan Kaminow, Westover Branch Library, Arlington, Va.
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