Chaim Weizmann, steeped in the folk culture of the East European shtetl and the humanistic science of Central and Western Europe, was the ambassador of the Jewish people to the English-speaking world. Louis D. Brandeis, on the other hand, was known as the true exponent of Anglo-American civic culture who gave his leadership at a critical moment to the American and world Jewish community. A Clash of Heroes studies the conflict between these two dominant personalities, each of whom has been hailed by devoted followers as the hero of a crucial era in recent Jewish history. Halpern sets the meeting, collaboration, and sharp conflict between these two men against the shifting background of a world at war and the shaky travail of revolution and reconstruction in the early 20th century. Through a comparison of two exemplary figures in Jewish leadership, Halpern paints an enthralling portrait of 20th-century Zionism and illuminates the complex relationships between leaders and the public and between Jewish nationalism and its extended environment.
Isaiah Berlin has spoken of Chaim Weizmann as a historic hero in a welldefined sense: one who altered his people's history in a way that would have been impossible but for his extraordinary gifts and achievements.1 Weizmann's gifts were ...
Author: Ben Halpern
Publisher: Oxford University Press