Lioness
The definitive biography of Golda Meir: the iron-willed leader, chain-smoking political operative, and tea-and-cake-serving grandmother who became the fourth prime minister of Israel and one of the most notable women of our time. Golda Meir was a world figure unlike any other. Born in czarist Russia in 1898, she immigrated to America in 1906 and grew up in Milwaukee, where from her earliest years she displayed the political consciousness and organizational skills that would eventually catapult her into the inner circles of Israel's founding generation. Moving to mandatory Palestine in 1921 with her husband, the passionate socialist joined a kibbutz but soon left and was hired at a public works office by the man who would become the great love of her life. A series of public service jobs brought her to the attention of David Ben-Gurion, and her political career took off. Fund-raising in America in 1948, secretly meeting in Amman with King Abdullah right before Israel's declaration of independence, mobbed by thousands of Jews in a Moscow synagogue in 1948 as Israel's first representative to the USSR, serving as minister of labor and foreign minister in the 1950s and 1960s, Golda brought fiery oratory, plainspoken appeals, and shrewd deal-making to the cause to which she had dedicated her life--the welfare and security of the State of Israel and its inhabitants. As prime minister Golda negotiated arms agreements with Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger, agonized over the mixed signals being sent by newly installed Egyptian president Anwar Sadat, and had dozens of clandestine meetings with Jordan's King Hussein in the unsuccessful pursuit of a land-for-peace agreement with Israel's neighbors. But her time in office ended in tragedy, when Israel was caught off guard by Egypt and Syria's surprise attack on Yom Kippur in 1973. Resigning in the war's aftermath, Golda spent her final years keeping a hand in national affairs and bemusedly enjoying international acclaim. Francine Klagsbrun's superbly researched and masterly recounted story of Israel's founding mother gives us a Golda for the ages.

Lioness Details

TitleLioness
Author
ReleaseOct 10th, 2017
PublisherSchocke
ISBN-139780805242379
Rating
GenreBiography, History, Cultural, Israel, Nonfiction, Politics, Biography Memoir

Lioness Review

  • Jean
    January 1, 1970
    In 1975 I read “My Life” by Golda Meir. To date Francine Klagsbrun has written the most definitive biography of Golda Meir. The book arrives at a propitious time in history. It has been seventy years since Israel became an independent state. Hostility with the Arab world is increasing as is worldwide anti-Semitism. Forty years after her death Golda is still universally known as the most important Jewish woman of the 20th century.I found it interesting that Klagsbrun pointed out that Golda is mor In 1975 I read “My Life” by Golda Meir. To date Francine Klagsbrun has written the most definitive biography of Golda Meir. The book arrives at a propitious time in history. It has been seventy years since Israel became an independent state. Hostility with the Arab world is increasing as is worldwide anti-Semitism. Forty years after her death Golda is still universally known as the most important Jewish woman of the 20th century.I found it interesting that Klagsbrun pointed out that Golda is more popular in American and the rest of the world than in Israel. Klagsbrun goes beyond the previous biographies by placing Golda’s personal life against the backdrop of the emergence of Israel. The book is well written and meticulously researched. The author interviewed Golda’s son, and daughter, along with other family members, her personal assistant and bodyguards. Klagsbrun also reviewed thousands of documents, minutes of the American, Israeli, British and Russian government meetings, personal papers, diaries and recently declassified materials. Golda served as Israel’s Ambassador to the Soviet Union, Labor Minister, Foreign Minister and as Prime Minister. Klagsbrun points out Golda’s political shrewdness and achievements as well as her failings. She did not see the rise in nationalism amongst the Arab population. She failed to overcome the feelings of the Sephardic Jews of being second class citizens. Golda led the shift away from socialism to capitalist-oriented economy. I found it interesting that Klagsbrun pointed out that men are called by their last name but women public figures are referred to by their first name to show a lesser position. I learned so much about Golda and Israel from this book. I highly recommend it.I read this as an e-book on my Kindle app for my iPad. The book is 848 pages. It was published October 17, 2017 by Schocker Publishing.
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  • Clara Roberts
    January 1, 1970
    This 824 page book was densely written but was well worth the read. The history of modern Israel is told from the point of view of Golda Meir. Her personal morality left much to be desired (abortion, treatment of husband and family, and multiple affairs). When the Jews and Israel needed her she was a tower of strength never wavering in doing everything she could do to help the Jews and Israel. She gave herself totally to whatever job she had. At various times she headed the ministry of Labor, Fo This 824 page book was densely written but was well worth the read. The history of modern Israel is told from the point of view of Golda Meir. Her personal morality left much to be desired (abortion, treatment of husband and family, and multiple affairs). When the Jews and Israel needed her she was a tower of strength never wavering in doing everything she could do to help the Jews and Israel. She gave herself totally to whatever job she had. At various times she headed the ministry of Labor, Foreign Affairs Prime Minister, or Party Secretary. She was not an intellectual; she did not attend college but she did work with those who were extremely gifted as intellectuals. Israel consist of people from wide ranging languages, cultures, and mores. To melt these people into one people to defeat outside forces in wars in 1948, 1956, 1967, 1973 was remarkable. Meir style of leadership was to listen to every one, not take notes and then to choose a path of action an not to waver. She was a chain smoker. In one meeting that lasted seven hours she smoked three packs of unfiltered Chesterfields (60). She suffered from Lymphoma (which she kept secret from the public) and was in her seventies when she lead Israel during the 1973 war. She was a leftist socialist but was courageous when she needed to protect the diaspora Jews or the nation of Israel. While I remembered reading about many of the events mentioned in this book some events were clarified in my mind. I highly recommend reading this book.
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  • John Imhof
    January 1, 1970
    Fascinating subject matter. I would have given it 5 stars, but the details often overwhelmed the story. For someone who wants to know how each particular player reacted to every crises in the Israeli state's history this is the book for you. I, on the our hand, would have preferred less minutia and a stronger focus on the key players. All in all still a worthy book.
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  • Guylaine Bolduc
    January 1, 1970
    This was a most insightful biography on Israel, the community and its' politics at a beginning for a small but important nation. Although I have not read any other books on Israel, I found it delightful and most informative on Golda Meir's life, personality and outlook on her people and her child nation. I enjoyed it thoroughly. Well written and not too biais. Author does not embark on suppositions but sticks to facts mostly (except for all the supposed lovers) in light of Golda's personality an This was a most insightful biography on Israel, the community and its' politics at a beginning for a small but important nation. Although I have not read any other books on Israel, I found it delightful and most informative on Golda Meir's life, personality and outlook on her people and her child nation. I enjoyed it thoroughly. Well written and not too biais. Author does not embark on suppositions but sticks to facts mostly (except for all the supposed lovers) in light of Golda's personality and her wishes when she was alive. A great woman and an excellent author!
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  • Erik
    January 1, 1970
    A very thorough and, of course, one-sided account of the founding of Israel and one of its most charismatic leaders. She was a powerful voice for her people when they needed it most.
  • Susan
    January 1, 1970
    This very long book chronicles the entire life of Golda Meir, offering a balanced view of her triumphs, challenges, and flaws in her personal, political and public lives. TMI is both a strength and weakness if the book.
  • Julian
    January 1, 1970
    Surprisingly dull; some untruths and propaganda but the main issue was the writing just wasn’t compelling.
  • Judith
    January 1, 1970
    I read this book in preparation for our trip to Israel to better understand the history of this country. Her rise to power was impressive and her fierce commitment to the Jews having their own country was unwavering. She commanded a great deal of respect during a time when women were still not recognized as leaders. She was often called the "iron lady" and her lover/friend David Ben-Gurion used to call Meir "the best man in the government". She was tireless in her fund raising efforts and raised I read this book in preparation for our trip to Israel to better understand the history of this country. Her rise to power was impressive and her fierce commitment to the Jews having their own country was unwavering. She commanded a great deal of respect during a time when women were still not recognized as leaders. She was often called the "iron lady" and her lover/friend David Ben-Gurion used to call Meir "the best man in the government". She was tireless in her fund raising efforts and raised hundreds of millions of dollars from Jewish communities all over the world to further the cause of an independent Israel. And somehow, she still had time and energy to have affairs.
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  • Ann
    January 1, 1970
    Lioness; Golda Meir and the Nation of Israel, by Francine Klagsbrun, is surely the definitive work on Golda Meir, one of the founders of the modern nation of Israel. The body of the book, not including notes, is almost 700 pages, so it is not something you expect to read in a few sittings. Nevertheless, though I skimmed some sections of it, I found everything I read fascinating. Born in Ukraine in 1898, Golda immigrated as a young child with her family to Milwaukee, Wisconsin. She immigrated to Lioness; Golda Meir and the Nation of Israel, by Francine Klagsbrun, is surely the definitive work on Golda Meir, one of the founders of the modern nation of Israel. The body of the book, not including notes, is almost 700 pages, so it is not something you expect to read in a few sittings. Nevertheless, though I skimmed some sections of it, I found everything I read fascinating. Born in Ukraine in 1898, Golda immigrated as a young child with her family to Milwaukee, Wisconsin. She immigrated to what would become the state of Israel in 1921 and never looked back, becoming an ardent supporter of a Zionist state in the Middle East. Because of her formative years in America, Golda, as an Israeli leader, had a warm relationship with the United States. The personal details of her life—her relationship with her husband and two children, as well as friendships with Israeli leaders—add to the telling. However, what I remember most, after I finished it, was the impact of the refugees, because of the parallels with today’s refugee issues. What would have happened without World War II? That caused mass movements of persecuted Jews, the vast majority of whom were unwanted in western democracies. No wonder they fled to their fellow compatriots in the Middle East. Once there, such a mass movement was bound to affect the lives of all Middle Easterners and their politics. We are reminded of today’s refugees and the various responses to them. Many of them are unwanted by other nations as well. But mass movements today also have consequences. Think of small African villages turned into massive refugee settlements by refugees fleeing war and famine. So read Lioness with appreciation for a woman’s bravery, intelligence, and sheer grit. Also search for lessons useful to today’s upheavals and politics.
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  • Maria
    January 1, 1970
    fascinating, strong woman. would have been interesting to know more salacious details of her many male "friends" but probably difficult to secure source material.
  • Abby
    January 1, 1970
    enlightening, if sometimes dull, profile of her rise from committee work and local activism to prime minister. author gives context to some of the more well-known Golda quotes -- such as her assessment if the Israeli Jewish Black Panthers. ["they are not nice boys"] I've read more engaging accounts of the Yom Kippur war but this biography is worth reading.
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  • Robin
    January 1, 1970
    A very thorough look at the life of Israel's first female prime minister. The only reason I didn't give it five stars is that the book comes up a bit short on Golda's personal life, concentrating more on the political aspects of her life and career. Nonetheless, it is a fascinating portrait of a woman who cracked the political glass ceiling decades ago.
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  • Frederic
    January 1, 1970
    My understanding of both Golda Meir and the State of Israel has been greatly enhanced by this perceptive and compelling biography...beautifully written,insightful,sympathetic but hardly uncritical,I absolutely loved this wonderful book...
  • Alison
    January 1, 1970
    Brilliant account of Golda Meir 's life and history. Learned so much in the context of current Israeli political arena. Slower start but that sets the stage for what was valued by Golda and the reason for her success. Highly recommend this biography.
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  • Linda
    January 1, 1970
    Excellent. Strong woman - help build Israel. Worth reading.
  • Wayne
    January 1, 1970
    GOLDAOne of the best biographies I ever read. Hated to put it down each night to go to bed. If you want the story of a strong woman, this is it.
  • Adrienne Michelson
    January 1, 1970
    It was a biography written as a novel, it assumed nothing of the reader and delved into an emerging world of an important figure.
  • Cario Lam
    January 1, 1970
    I thoroughly enjoyed this book hence the five star rating. It actually two books in one, the story of a remarkable woman Golda Meir and second the birth of a nation.
  • Neil Krasnoff
    January 1, 1970
    As someone that is already sympathetic to Israel and proud of it's history, I would like to recommend this book to those like myself that agree with the basic premise of Zionism, as well as those that are not at all fond of the Jewish state. The Real Golda Meir, portrayed in this book, warts and all, was an inspiration to Jews around the world as she made the case for Israel and Zionism in her many roles within her political party and as a government minister and Premier of her young nation. She As someone that is already sympathetic to Israel and proud of it's history, I would like to recommend this book to those like myself that agree with the basic premise of Zionism, as well as those that are not at all fond of the Jewish state. The Real Golda Meir, portrayed in this book, warts and all, was an inspiration to Jews around the world as she made the case for Israel and Zionism in her many roles within her political party and as a government minister and Premier of her young nation. She lived life boldly and courageously, overcoming her sense of inferiority due to her lack of formal education, and defying and ultimately winning over many of the reactionary, religious forces that would deny even the most capable of women a leadership role. She was tough, principled and a servant leader in the truest sense. Like the nation she led, she was imperfect, but her accomplishments and those of Israel greatly outweigh the faults. This is a fantastic biography that manages to be a very good history of Israel from the British Mandate period through her death around the time of the completion of the Camp David Accords. She never made her sex an issue and because this and her shrewdness and toughness, she was respected by the men of her country, her Arab adversaries, and the other all-male leaders she encountered as Prime Minister. Lioness is a dramatic story of a woman and her nation, in the context of the turbulent 20th Century which she made an indelible and positive mark upon.
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  • Laila Kanon
    January 1, 1970
    Highly recommended and will reread at some stage.If you found yourself worthy to get your life story written for the world to read, go no further than Francine Klagsbrun. What you get is a well-researched and balanced narrative of your life. Caution: if you have skeletons in the closet, she'll find it and laid it all bare in the chronicle of your life as fact and nothing else and the readers to form their own judgement.I have no prior opinion about Golda Meir, all I know she was at one time a Pr Highly recommended and will reread at some stage.If you found yourself worthy to get your life story written for the world to read, go no further than Francine Klagsbrun. What you get is a well-researched and balanced narrative of your life. Caution: if you have skeletons in the closet, she'll find it and laid it all bare in the chronicle of your life as fact and nothing else and the readers to form their own judgement.I have no prior opinion about Golda Meir, all I know she was at one time a Prime Minister of Israel. What you find in this book is not only the life of Golda Meir from the beginning to the end but the historical events surrounding her life and also what's going on the international stage as well. The bonus I find in this book is the historical events in the Middle East in late 1800s and the early 1900s that inevitably shaped modern day Israel. To understand Israel's political complexity, one need to go back past 1948.This is a page turner book though the thickness of this book (824 pages) may discouraged most people from reading it, but one only need to read until page 691. Here's the thing, if you keen to learn about Golda Meir and understand Israel and the challenges that Israel face today, this book is worth the hassle. As I read from page to page, I grew fond of Golda and I respect what she tried to achieve for Israel. Could anyone did a better job in her shoes at the time when Israel was in the most vulnerable position? I don't think so. She had the tenacity and attributes to led Israel through the dark times. The success of Israel today has a lot to do with the groundwork that she alongside her comrades laid down for the future generations. Without her leadership, it's hard to imagine Israel could thrive and emerged into the only democratic country, developed economy in the Middle East, notwithstanding the war of attrition that Israel's enemies continue to inflict in order to demoralized and destabilized Israel. What bug me is the positive portrayal of socialism, fortunately Israel chose wisely.
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