Bruce Hoffman’s Anonymous Soldiers

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By Emily Burack, Research Intern

Bruce Hoffman’s Anonymous Soldiers is a comprehensive
study of the Jewish underground during Mandatory Palestine. The book won the National Jewish Book Award Prize
for Jewish Book of the Year
, and it is well deserving of that title. Hoffman, a
professor whose expertise is rooted in terrorism studies, approaches the story
of the Jewish underground with a fine analytical eye. Whether or not the Jewish
underground were “terrorists” or “freedom fighters” (and whether or not there’s
a difference between the two), Hoffman does not address, instead focusing on
the controversial question of “does terrorism work?” Seventy years after events like the King David
Hotel bombing
, studying that question through the lens of the
terrorist/counterterrorist campaign in Mandatory Palestine remains extremely
relevant to today. Was it the Irgun Zvai Leumi and the Stern Gang who finally
pushed the British out of Palestine? Or was it a host of other geopolitical
factors beyond the actions of the Jewish underground? Hoffman goes extremely in
depth to specific stories and takes you into the perspectives of all the key
players, using newly released documents from British intelligence. A definitely
worthwhile read if you have even the slightest interest in the Jewish
underground during Mandatory Palestine.

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