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The Hope

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The Hope is the familiar tale of Israel’s first 20 years, told from the viewpoint of the young nation’s warriors. Wouk’s main characters are fictional, but they seem as real as his supporting cast of David Ben-Gurion, Moshe Dayan, Yitzhak Rabin, Golda Meir, and even Idi Amin, satisfyingly sketched as a spineless idiot who was too terrified to complete his parachute training at the hands of the Israeli army. Wouk seamlessly weaves epic events into everyday life: Making a nation is inseparable from making supper, and personal conflict mirrors international mayhem (a spat between a soldier’s wife and his mistress occurs against the backdrop of the Six-Day War-or is it the other way around?). But The Hope covers no new ground, the enemy has no face, war is painless and romantic, and all the girls are pretty. It’s old-fashioned and chauvinistic, but Wouk fans will find it inspiring and full of excitement. Like watching a wonderful old Hollywood movie, you know what to expect and that’s why you like it. B+

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