Story throws new light on the central trauma of Israeli society and the uses and abuses of this trauma for political manipulations.
This is a very detailed and scholarly book, yet quite readable. It is more than many might want to know about the subject but we used two chapters successfully with interested high school students who read and discussed the prologue and Chapter 10. As a group we considered the difficult choice of Israel having any relations with Konrad Adenauer's West Germany. David Ben-Gurion was certainly a pragmatist. The author relates how every word of Die Alte's mea culpa was 'weighed' and discussions about whether Israeli diplomats should speak to Germans. However, many Israelis did not want to miss the chance for economic relations. The oranges we had when I served in West Germany 1969-1970 were marked 'Jaffa.'
The prologue regarding Yehiel De-Nur tries to convey how it was for survivors after the war. For me, I have visited the local VA hospital with my aunt beginning in 1955, bringing magazines, so I am familiar with shell shock. We have had old soldiers who were never 'right' since WWII and now from the two Gulf Wars, etc. "Just as the Holocaust imposed a posthumous collective identity on its six million victims, so too it formed the collective identity of this new country--not just for the survivors who came after the war but for all Israelis, then and now (11)," writes Mr. Segev. Thus the 'Seventh Million' title.
The author has benefited from extensive research in archives, including some previously closed, and includes endnotes identifying his sources thus found. Indexed.