- Biography & Memoir
A skilled debater, a master of language, and a passionate defender of Israel, Abba Eban's diplomatic presence was in many ways a contradiction unlike any the world has seen since. While he was celebrated internationally for his exceptional wit and his moderate, reasoned worldview, these same qualities painted him as elitist and foreign in his home country. The disparity in perception of Eban at home and abroad was such that both his critics and his friends agreed that he would have been a wonderful prime minister– in any country but Israel.
In Abba Eban, Asaf Siniver paints a nuanced and complete portrait of one of the most complex figures in twentieth-century foreign affairs. We see Eban growing up and coming into his own as part of the Cambridge Union, and watch him steadily become known as "The Voice of Israel." Siniver draws on interviews, writings, and other newly available material to show that, in his unceasing quest for stability and peace for Israel, Eban's primary opposition often came from the homeland he was fighting for; no matter how many allies he gained abroad, the man never understood his own domestic politics well enough to be as effective in his pursuits as he hoped. The first examination of Eban in nearly forty years, Abba Eban is a fascinating look at a life that still offers a valuable perspective on Israel even today.
‘Siniver's sympathetic, clear-eyed biography deserves to be called definitive’ Kirkus (starred review)
‘Elegant and entertaining biography’ Wall Street Journal
‘Asaf Siniver, a professor of international studies at the University of Birmingham in England, has produced a clear and –levelheaded volume, a vast improvement over the only other Eban biography…is the first attempt to examine this unusual man’s life and work and use them as a lens for the history of Israel. [Siniver's] book is a straightforward account of Eban’s personal story interwoven with Israel’s diplomatic and political history. Both stories are pretty extraordinary’ The New York Times
‘Eban's biography is one of the best stories of one of the 20th century's greatest miracles and enigmas’ Akiva Eldar, CEO, Israel Conference on Peace
‘This is beyond question the definitive work on Eban, and is likely to remain so for a very long time' Alan Dowty, Professor Emeritus, University of Notre Dame