Exodus, Paperback Book
4 out of 5 (11 ratings)



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This book is fascinating. It has all the elements of a 1970 bestseller: implied sex, wartime heroes, abused and needy children, despots and criminals in powerful positions, and a dramatic, arid landscape that must be conquered. It's really a page-turner. It also ends on an up note - the chosen people triumph! The irony is that the book will be 50 years old next year, and the same struggle violently continues.

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The enduring story of the people who fought to create the modern State of Israel. Abandoned and set-up for failure by the British, a small group of Jews struggle against the Arab world, and the world at large, to re-establish a Jewish homeland.The struggle continues today and he story of these early settlers speaks to people of all religions of what can be accomplished with determination.

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I need to read this again since I am including it on my top-picks and it's been so long since I read it. While I definitely have to be in the right mood for Leon Uris, I love his characters and his story-telling.

Review by

I had high hopes for this book, having read <i>Trinity</i> a number of years ago and finding it a good read. However, with <i>Exodus</i> I kept waiting for the story to develop, and when it finally did, it wasn't too surprising. I didn't find any of the characters well-developed, and the dialogue reminded me of a bad script from an old black and white movie. I did find the accounts of the various concentration camps to be interesting, but the vast majority of the book became a drudgery to read, which is why I stopped at exactly page 197.

Review by

An Israeli friend of mine first recommended Uris--particularly his <i>The Haj</i>, about Arab/Israeli relations, and I remember liking that novel. Maybe it's that my tastes have changed, or just that this was one of Uris' first novels, but my impression of this one is that it had the materials to be a gripping, first-rate story if only Uris got out of his own way.Uris attempts to tell the story of the birth of modern Israel--and maybe takes on too much. The story, set in 1946, is framed as being about the refugee ship <i>Exodus</i>, and attempts to force the British, who rule over Palestine, to allow the survivors of the Holocaust being kept in camps in Cyprus to sail to the promised land. Studded through this tale are flashbacks of various characters to help us understand what helps drive these immigrants. There's the tale of Karen Clement, a German Jew who found refuge among the Danes, whose King said in a broadcast to his occupied country, that if any in his kingdom had to wear a band with a yellow star, he'd be the first--and whose people then evacuated their Jewish population to Sweden rather than let the Nazi's have them. But then Karen found the Holocaust orphaned her. There's Dov Landau, who as a young boy took part in the Warsaw Ghetto uprising, and then captured by the Nazis wound up shipped to Auschwitz. There's Ari Ben Canaan, whose father fled from the "Jewish Pale" of Russia and helped reclaim the land from the desert. The style is pretty pedestrian--very simple syntax, intrusive tagging, and boy, someone please take away the exclamation key from this man. But by and large what kills this story is that it violates the first rule of writing--show, don't tell. Too many stories are laid out in narrative, as dry history, so that I wonder what is the point of making this fiction. Like another recent novel with fascinating historical detail but less than strong storytelling (one about Josephine Bonaparte) this left me wishing I had picked up a non-fiction book about the events and movements touched upon--Zionism, the Warshaw Ghetto and uprising, the founding of Israel--the Danish resistance to the Nazis, rather than this work of novel.

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