cover image Chaim Weizmann: 2a Biography

Chaim Weizmann: 2a Biography

Norman Rose. Viking Books, $24.95 (544pp) ISBN 978-0-670-80469-6

By the age of 11, Weizmann's commitment to Zionism was total and deeply emotional. Hobnobbing with Lloyd George and Balfour, wooing the pillars of the American Jewish establishment, the tireless Russian emigre maneuvered for over three decades to pry a charter for a Jewish state out of reluctant foreign governments. He called himself a ""fanatic'' and was known as a benevolent despot in Zionist affairs. His two estranged sons wanted no part of his politics. Solitary and aloof, the statesman-chemist took refuge in scientific research; his patents for explosives brought him a steady income. This solidly researched biography of Israel's first president is filled with behind-the-scenes glimpses of the broken promises, frustrations and ploys that culminated in the creation of Israel. Its treatment of what Rose terms ``the Arab question'' is one-sided and cursory. The author, an English historian, teaches at Hebrew University in Jerusalem. Photos not seen by PW. (November 20)