In "The Hope" & "The Glory", Wouk portrays the birth of the State of Israel, its turbulent coming of age and its development as America's staunchest ally in the Middle East, warts and all. Real people populate the books as well as Wouk's fictitious characters. For those of us who have never been to the Holy Land or who never experienced the Holocaust firsthand, you can't help but walk away from these books with a better understanding of why Israel is so important to Jews around the world. The reader also develops a working knowledge of the behind-the-scenes machinations of the Israeli and American leaders during the many Middle East crises of the last 50 years. I have been a fan of Wouk's for 40 years and was amazed at the lack of publicity these two books received when first published (I came across them by accident while browsing in a bookstore)
In his historical notes at this book's end, Herman Wouk tells his readers that The Hope and The Glory started as one book and wound up being written as two. He knew how he wanted to end this story - another Wouk epic! - from the beginning, with an event in Israel's history for which he was present. As a writer, I find that interesting. As a reader, I thoroughly enjoyed both books and found that they do, indeed, tell one story. The Glory picks up that story in 1967, and concludes it in 1988 - 40 years after the War for Independence in 1948, where The Hope began.
Wouk understands what makes his characters tick, and their growing and changing processes unfold naturally. That's what makes both books a pleasure to read. He brings the events of modern Israel's history to life by experiencing them with his characters, and his depictions of real people (people like Golda Meir, Moshe Dayan, and Menachem Begin) ring true for a reader who remembers watching those events and those real...
The Glory,Wouk's sequel to The Hope, picks up where The Hope ended - in the aftermath of the 1967 War. The story is a tale of three families living through the turbulent 70's: the Yom Kippur War, Entebbe, the bombing the Iraqi nuclear reactor. I can only give it 3 stars because he punctuates the book with star-crossed lovers and familial relations that are almost as complicated as those between Near East nations. I found this distracting from the story he was telling. Wouk also tends to simplify Israeli relations with the wider world and presents only the Israeli perspective on events. Yet this is historical fiction, so he is due a little slack. To Wouk's credit, he accurately describes the lbehind-the-scenes political manoeverings of men of state, the maddening lack of action on critical intelligence and the frustrating (and burdensome) Israeli bureaucracy. His account of Israeli drivers is also frighteningly close to the mark. An entertaining read.
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