"Gershom Gorenberg . . . has produced a remarkably insightful third account . . . It's a groundbreaking revision that deserves to reframe the entire debate . . . Yet it still soars. The book works powerfully on two important levels: as a deeply informative counterhistory and as a mournful reminder of what happens when a democratic government acquiesces in the face of its own militants."—Jonathan D. Tepperman, The New York Times Book Review
"Gershom Gorenberg has given us a meticulously researched, dispassionate and highly readable history of how Israel slipped into the settlement of occupied lands. The Accidental Empire is an invaluable guide to one of the Middle East's most complex issues and will puncture illusions on all sides of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict."—Jackson Diehl, The Washington Post
"Painstakingly thorough research . . . Gorenberg's book is an excellent and exhaustive source for anyone who wants to understand the initial trajectory of the settlement movement. Even those who think they know all there is to know about the issue will be surprised at how much there is to learn from the way he lays out a history that seems to be in a cycle of repeating itself . . . Reading it . . . is worthwhile for readers interested in the details of the birth of the settlement movement, and profound insights into how it has deepened rifts within Israel, infuriated Palestinians and riled allies in the United States and Europe . . . Talented journalist that Gorenberg is, he has produced a narrative that provides not only the dry historical dates and facts, but accounts of behind the scenes politicking based on extensive interviews with some of those who were involved. And there is many a colorful anecdote . . . Gorenberg's book emerges with a much more comprehensive picture of those who built the settlements than other books on the movement . . . Gorenberg treats the national-religious camp with more understanding and balance than other writers, if only because he gives the Labor Zionists in power a fairly equal trouncing. Gorenberg . . . is very much at home writing about post-1967 Jewish messianism."—Ilene R. Prusher, The Jerusalem Report
"[In] his masterly book based on original research . . . [Gershom Gorenberg] brilliantly describe[s] . . . how this mini-empire first came into being after the brief 1967 war."—Amos Elon, The New York Review of Books
Gershom Gorenberg is a columnist and associate editor at The Jerusalem Report. He is the author of The End of Days: Fundamentalism and the Struggle for the Temple Mount and co-author of Shalom, Friend: The Life and Legacy of Yitzhak Rabin. He has written for The New York Times Magazine, The Washington Post, The New Republic, The American Prospect, Mother Jones, Ha'aretz, and Ma'ariv. Born in America and educated at the University of California and Hebrew University, Gorenberg lives in Jerusalem with his wife and three children.
One day in early May 1967, General Uzi Narkiss stood in the shade of pine trees on the breeze-stroked hilltop of Kibbutz Ramat Rachel, at the edge of Israeli West Jerusalem, and looked out past the armistice line at Bethlehem and the Judean Desert in the Jordanian-held West Bank. With him stood journalist Haim Gouri and a young intelligence officer.