Exodus: Flimsy Novel, Substantial History

Exodus is an unsatisfactory novel but an intriguing introduction to the history of present day Middle East conflicts.

The story is about an American nurse working among refugee children in the Middle East after World War II.

Kitty is attracted to Ari Ben Canaan, a handsome Jewish leader, but Ari seems cold and unfeeling, capable of no emotion but loyalty to his country. Is this man capable of love?

On that story line, more fragile than an Harlequin Romance, Leon Uris hangs a short history of Israel.

Although Uris outlines the story of Jewish persecutions around the world, his main emphasis is on the refusal of the international community to allow refugees from Nazi concentration camps to come to Israel in the ’40s and ’50s. He says the British were pro-Arab because they wanted Mideast oil. They thought the divided Arabs would be easier to control than united Jews.

Although the Arab-Israeli conflict is still headline news, despite the passage of 50 years,  today’s Americans have forgotten the events surrounding the birth of the state of Israel.

Although Exodus doesn’t have much to recommend it as a novel, it is an enjoyable introduction to Biblical and modern Israeli history.

In case you wondered, Kitty finds Ari is capable of love.

by Leon Uris
Doubleday, 1958
626 pages
1959 bestseller #1
My grade B
© 2009 Linda Gorton Aragoni

Published by

Linda G. Aragoni

I make big ideas simple for learners. In eight sentences, 34 words, I taught teens and adults to write competently. Now I'm writing guides to turn willing volunteers into great nursing home visitors.

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