100 books like A Safe Haven

By Allis Radosh, Ronald Radosh,

Here are 100 books that A Safe Haven fans have personally recommended if you like A Safe Haven. Shepherd is a community of 9,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of 1948: A History of the First Arab-Israeli War

Raphael Cohen-Almagor Author Of Israeli Institutions at the Crossroads

From my list on Israel studies.

Who am I?

Raphael Cohen-Almagor, DPhil, St. Catherine’s College, University of Oxford, is Professor of Politics, Founding Director of the Middle East Study Centre, University of Hull; Global Fellow, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, and Vice President of The Association for Israel Studies. Raphael taught, inter alia, at Oxford (UK), Jerusalem, Haifa (Israel), UCLA, Johns Hopkins (USA), and Nirma University (India). He was twice a Fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, and Distinguished Visiting Professor, Faculty of Laws, University College London. Raphael Has published extensively about Israel, including Basic Issues in Israeli Democracy (Hebrew), Israeli Democracy at the Crossroads, and Public Responsibility in Israel (with Ori Arbel-Ganz and Asa Kasher Hebrew).

Raphael's book list on Israel studies

Raphael Cohen-Almagor Why did Raphael love this book?

History is often in the eye of the beholder. There are many histories, not just one. This is true in general and this statement is particularly apt when we discuss the first Arab-Israeli war. When I teach about the conflict, students ask me for an objective account of the war. My answer is that none is in existence but the closest to the truth, in my opinion, is Morris’ account. It is the best book about the war, based on maticulate survey of documents. It provides a thorough explanation of the war in each and every stage.

Morris paid a price for his honesty. I was happy to pave his way into Israeli academia.

By Benny Morris,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked 1948 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Benny Morris demolishes misconceptions and provides a comprehensive history of the Israeli-Arab war of 1948

This history of the foundational war in the Arab-Israeli conflict is groundbreaking, objective, and deeply revisionist. A riveting account of the military engagements, it also focuses on the war's political dimensions. Benny Morris probes the motives and aims of the protagonists on the basis of newly opened Israeli and Western documentation. The Arab side-where the archives are still closed-is illuminated with the help of intelligence and diplomatic materials.

Morris stresses the jihadi character of the two-stage Arab assault on the Jewish community in Palestine. Throughout,…


Book cover of Envoy to the Promised Land: The Diaries and Papers of James G. McDonald, 1948-1951

Jeffrey Herf Author Of Israel's Moment: International Support for and Opposition to Establishing the Jewish State, 1945–1949

From my list on history of establishment of the State of Israel.

Who am I?

I am a historian at the University of Maryland, College Park. In the past forty years, I have published six books and many articles on twentieth-century German history including Reactionary Modernism: Technology Culture and Politics in Weimar and the Third Reich; Divided Memory: The Nazi Past in the Two Germanys; Nazi Propaganda for the Arab World; and Undeclared Wars with Israel: East Germany and the West German Far Left, 1967-1989. My personal interest in German history began at home. My father was one of those very fortunate German Jews who found refuge in the United States before Hitler closed the borders and launched the Holocaust. 

Jeffrey's book list on history of establishment of the State of Israel

Jeffrey Herf Why did Jeffrey love this book?

President Truman appointed James McDonald to be the first U.S. Ambassador to Israel. McDonald’s diaries of 1948-1951 offer fascinating insights into the key events surrounding the establishment of the Jewish state. The diaries offer revealing and astute observations of the personalities and policies of Truman, Secretary of State George Marshall, British Foreign Minister Ernest Bevin, the Jewish Agency’s leading foreign policymaker, Moshe Shertok (later Moshe Sharett), and leader of the Jewish Agency and future Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion. McDonald was that unusual American diplomat who, in those years, supported Zionist aspirations. The McDonald diaries are required reading for anyone seeking a deeper grasp of the founding months and years of the state of Israel.

By James G. McDonald,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Envoy to the Promised Land as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Just before Israel emerged as a state in May 1948, key United States officials hesitated and backtracked. Undersecretary of State Robert Lovett told Moshe Sharett of the Jewish Agency for Palestine that the US had expected a peaceful transition to dual states in Palestine. Now, war between Jews and Arabs and a broader regional conflict loomed. Apart from the Cold War repercussions, another mass slaughter of Jews would roil the US in a presidential election year.

James G. McDonald arrived in Israel soon after its birth, serving as US special representative and later as its first ambassador. McDonald continued his…


Book cover of Jihad and Jew-Hatred: Islamism, Nazism and the Roots of 9/11

Jeffrey Herf Author Of Israel's Moment: International Support for and Opposition to Establishing the Jewish State, 1945–1949

From my list on history of establishment of the State of Israel.

Who am I?

I am a historian at the University of Maryland, College Park. In the past forty years, I have published six books and many articles on twentieth-century German history including Reactionary Modernism: Technology Culture and Politics in Weimar and the Third Reich; Divided Memory: The Nazi Past in the Two Germanys; Nazi Propaganda for the Arab World; and Undeclared Wars with Israel: East Germany and the West German Far Left, 1967-1989. My personal interest in German history began at home. My father was one of those very fortunate German Jews who found refuge in the United States before Hitler closed the borders and launched the Holocaust. 

Jeffrey's book list on history of establishment of the State of Israel

Jeffrey Herf Why did Jeffrey love this book?

As I wrote in the Foreword to the English edition of Küntzel’s work, published first in Germany in 2002, Küntzel synthesized a large body of scholarship in English and German that examined Nazi Germany’s propaganda aimed at the Arab world, as well as the collaboration of Haj Amin el-Husseini with Nazi propaganda efforts. I welcomed Küntzel’s exploration of Nazi Germany’s impact outside Europe, and its aftereffects in Islamist organizations such as the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas, and then the members of Al Qaeda who carried out the attacks of September 11, 2001.

By Matthias Küntzel,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Jihad and Jew-Hatred as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Jihad and Jew-Hatred: Islamism, Nazism and the Roots of 9/11 traces the impact of European fascism and Nazism on Arab and Islamic activists. As Kuentzel investigates the shift of global antisemitism from Nazi Germany to parts of the Arab world during and after World War II, he argues that antisemitism is not merely a supplementary feature of modern jihadism, but lies instead at its ideological core. This fascinating study lays bare the antecedents of the antisemitism that runs rampant in our world today. For anyone interested in exploring the mindset of hatred that led to the crimes in New York…


Book cover of The British Empire in the Middle East, 1945-1951: Arab Nationalism, the United States and Postwar Imperialism

Jeffrey Herf Author Of Israel's Moment: International Support for and Opposition to Establishing the Jewish State, 1945–1949

From my list on history of establishment of the State of Israel.

Who am I?

I am a historian at the University of Maryland, College Park. In the past forty years, I have published six books and many articles on twentieth-century German history including Reactionary Modernism: Technology Culture and Politics in Weimar and the Third Reich; Divided Memory: The Nazi Past in the Two Germanys; Nazi Propaganda for the Arab World; and Undeclared Wars with Israel: East Germany and the West German Far Left, 1967-1989. My personal interest in German history began at home. My father was one of those very fortunate German Jews who found refuge in the United States before Hitler closed the borders and launched the Holocaust. 

Jeffrey's book list on history of establishment of the State of Israel

Jeffrey Herf Why did Jeffrey love this book?

Louis’s excellent, and now classic work, should play a far larger role in discussions of the meanings of imperialism and anti-imperialism than has been the case in recent years. Drawing on a deep grasp of British foreign policy and domestic politics, Louis examines what he calls the “grand strategy of non-intervention and conciliation” that leaned heavily towards the existing Arab regimes. Prime Minister Clement Attlee, and especially Foreign Minister Ernest Bevin, and other leading officials in the British Foreign Office and Colonial Office, believed that a Jewish state in Palestine would antagonize the Arabs and lead to a decline in British influence in the Middle East. Louis draws attention to Richard Crossman and other British critics of the policy of preserving Britain’s imperial role in Palestine. It is one of those indispensable works of scholarship regarding these events.

By Wm. Roger Louis,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The British Empire in the Middle East, 1945-1951 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This book, which examines British disengagement in the Middle East during the Labour Government of 1945-51, is in a large sense a comment on the British response to Arab, Jewish, and Iranian nationalism.


Book cover of One Palestine, Complete: Jews and Arabs Under the British Mandate

Oren Kessler Author Of Palestine 1936: The Great Revolt and the Roots of the Middle East Conflict

From my list on learning the roots of the Israeli-Arab conflict.

Who am I?

I am a journalist, think-tanker, and analyst based in Tel Aviv and formerly in Washington and London. I have a BA in History from the University of Toronto and an MA in Diplomacy and Conflict Studies from Reichman University in Israel, and I was previously deputy director for research at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies in Washington. My first book, Palestine 1936, was named one of the Top Ten Books of 2023 by the Wall Street Journal. Throughout my whole life, I’ve written about the Middle East, the Israeli-Arab conflict, and so on and so forth. I love to travel and to read. And to write.

Oren's book list on learning the roots of the Israeli-Arab conflict

Oren Kessler Why did Oren love this book?

This is a masterpiece of narrative nonfiction. Even for those of us who have read endless books on the Israeli-Arab conflict (hello), this one has so many gems, so many stunning anecdotes, that it is virtually its own genre.

It is beautifully written and incredibly difficult to put down. Yet despite being written like a novel, the primary-source research underlying it is meticulous and impressive. A massive achievement.

By Tom Segev, Haim Watzman (translator), Shara Kay (editor)

Why should I read it?

1 author picked One Palestine, Complete as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

One Palestine, Complete explores the tumultuous period before the creation of the state of Israel. This was the time of the British Mandate, when Britain's promise to both Jews and Arabs that they would inherit the land, set in motion the conflict that haunts the region to this day.

Drawing on untapped archival materials, Tom Segev reconstructs an era (1917 to 1948) of limitless possibilities and tragic missteps. He introduces an array unforgettable characters, tracks the steady advance of Jews and Arabs toward confrontation, and puts forth a radical new argument: that the British, far from being pro-Arab, consistently favored…


Book cover of Statecraft by Stealth: Secret Intelligence and British Rule in Palestine

David P. Oakley Author Of Subordinating Intelligence: The DoD/CIA Post-Cold War Relationship

From my list on history, personalities, activities of intelligence.

Who am I?

My fascination with intelligence studies is tied to my previous experience as a practitioner. While serving as a military officer and CIA officer, I became curious about how two organizations with a shared history could be so different. Exploring the “why” of the CIA/DoD differences led me to the broader interplay of organizational cultures, individuals, and missions in influencing the evolution of intelligence, its purpose, and its role. These five books will provide the reader a broader appreciation of how intelligence was used to help policymakers understand reality and how intelligence organizations have been used to try to change reality. You will not merely learn something about intelligence but will be entertained and engaged while doing so. 

David's book list on history, personalities, activities of intelligence

David P. Oakley Why did David love this book?

The relationship between intelligence and policy and how various countries employ intelligence organizations are two important topics that are not fully explored. Wagner’s book looks at the role played by British intelligence in Palestine during the interwar period---a role that went beyond what many consider intelligence functions. As Wagner explains, British intelligence not only informed policymakers’ thinking but was also involved in the execution of policy in the Palestinian territory during this period. This combined, no better yet intertwined, history of British policy and intelligence during this important period is something that intelligence and regional scholars should read. 

By Steven B. Wagner,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Statecraft by Stealth as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Britain relied upon secret intelligence operations to rule Mandatory Palestine. Statecraft by Stealth sheds light on a time in history when the murky triad of intelligence, policy, and security supported colonial governance. It emphasizes the role of the Anglo-Zionist partnership, which began during World War I and ended in 1939, when Britain imposed severe limits on Jewish immigration and settlement in Palestine.

Steven Wagner argues that although the British devoted considerable attention to intelligence gathering and analysis, they never managed to solve the basic contradiction of their rule: a dual commitment to democratic self-government and to the Jewish national home…


Book cover of The Israel-Palestine Conflict: Contested Histories

Mark Tessler Author Of A History of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

From my list on the core of the Arab-Israeli conflict.

Who am I?

Professor Tessler attended university in Israel and an Arab country, Tunisia, and he has lived for extended periods both in Israel and in several Arab countries. He has written extensively not only on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict but also on politics in Israel and a number of Arab countries. With respect to the latter, he has gained distinction for his groundbreaking research on public opinion in the Arab world; he co-founded the Arab Barometer survey project in 2006 and has been its co-director since that time. The first edition of his book, A History of the Israel-Palestinian Conflict, was named a notable book of the year by The New York Times.

Mark's book list on the core of the Arab-Israeli conflict

Mark Tessler Why did Mark love this book?

The Israel–Palestine Conflict introduces the historical basis of the dispute and explores both the tangible issues and intangible factors that have prolonged the conflict and blocked a peaceful resolution.

Author Neil Caplan helps readers understand the complexities and contradictions of the conflict and why the histories of Palestine and Israel are so fiercely contested. The 2nd edition offers fresh insights about the impact of current global and regional trends marked by instability and violence that reduce the prospects for an Israeli-Palestinian reconciliation.

The 2nd addition also addresses recent debates over two-state versus one-state solutions, growing polarization in public discourse outside of the Middle East, the role of public intellectuals, and the growing trend of merging scholarship with advocacy.

By Neil Caplan,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Israel-Palestine Conflict as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

One of the "10 Must-Read Histories of the Palestine-Israel Conflict"
-Ian Black, Literary Hub, on the 100th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration

The new edition of the acclaimed text that explores the issues continuing to define the Israeli-Palestinian conflict

Numerous instances of competing, sometimes incompatible narratives of controversial events are found throughout history. Perhaps the starkest example of such contradictory representations is the decades-long conflict between Israel and Palestine. For over 140 years, Israelis, Palestinians, and scores of peacemakers have failed to establish a sustainable, mutually-acceptable solution. The Israel-Palestine Conflict introduces the historical basis of the dispute and explores both…


Book cover of Israel: A History

Raphael Cohen-Almagor Author Of Israeli Institutions at the Crossroads

From my list on Israel studies.

Who am I?

Raphael Cohen-Almagor, DPhil, St. Catherine’s College, University of Oxford, is Professor of Politics, Founding Director of the Middle East Study Centre, University of Hull; Global Fellow, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, and Vice President of The Association for Israel Studies. Raphael taught, inter alia, at Oxford (UK), Jerusalem, Haifa (Israel), UCLA, Johns Hopkins (USA), and Nirma University (India). He was twice a Fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, and Distinguished Visiting Professor, Faculty of Laws, University College London. Raphael Has published extensively about Israel, including Basic Issues in Israeli Democracy (Hebrew), Israeli Democracy at the Crossroads, and Public Responsibility in Israel (with Ori Arbel-Ganz and Asa Kasher Hebrew).

Raphael's book list on Israel studies

Raphael Cohen-Almagor Why did Raphael love this book?

I have been teaching from this book for many years. Books about Israel are fraught with bias. Many are post or anti-Zionist. They do not represent Israeli mainstream and the Israeli perception of history. Anita Shapira is Israel’s foremost historian of Zionism who received the Israel Prize, the highest prize Israel confers on its leaders. She describes and explains the emergence of Zionism in Europe against the backdrop of relations among Jews, Arabs, and Turks. Shapira describes the challenges that Zionists had to face in Palestine and from 1948 onwards in the newly established state. Much of her research is based on primary sources: archival sources, including diaries, memoirs, and other documents. This book does an excellent work of explaining Israeli history, politics, and society.

By Anita Shapira,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Israel as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Written by one of Israel's most notable scholars, this volume provides a breathtaking history of Israel from the origins of the Zionist movement in the late nineteenth century to the present day. Organized chronologically, the volume explores the emergence of Zionism in Europe against the backdrop of relations among Jews, Arabs, and Turks, and the earliest pioneer settlements in Palestine under Ottoman rule. Weaving together political, social, and cultural developments in Palestine under the British mandate, Shapira creates a tapestry through which to understand the challenges of Israeli nation building, including mass immigration, shifting cultural norms, the politics of war…


Book cover of Restraint: A New Foundation for U.S. Grand Strategy

Robert Vitalis Author Of Oilcraft: The Myths of Scarcity and Security That Haunt U.S. Energy Policy

From my list on crazy things we believe on oil and world politics.

Who am I?

I have been fascinated with the relationship between the United States and the Middle East since my freshman year at the State University of New York at Stony Brook, where I began as a commuter, stuck in gasoline lines, during the “energy crisis” in the fall of 1973, and where I was among the first SUNY students to study abroad in Egypt after the United States resumed diplomatic relations. I wrote my dissertation on Egypt’s economic development (When Capitalists Collide: Business Conflict and the End of Empire in Egypt, 1995) and have been teaching and writing about U.S. involvement in the region for 35 years.

Robert's book list on crazy things we believe on oil and world politics

Robert Vitalis Why did Robert love this book?

Barry Posen is a civilian expert in U.S. defense issues at MIT. This book influenced lots of foreign policy experts who have come around to accept the argument of Restraint that the United States ought to radically reduce its military commitments abroad, notably in the Persian Gulf. The book is a key source for my own because Posen shows why the U.S. military presence there has no real effect on the security of oil supply, threats to which are routinely and wildly exaggerated. Posen believes, therefore, that something like “prestige” or acting like a superpower because it can, better explains that expansive and wasteful military posture. 

By Barry R. Posen,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Restraint as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The United States, Barry R. Posen argues in Restraint, has grown incapable of moderating its ambitions in international politics. Since the collapse of Soviet power, it has pursued a grand strategy that he calls "liberal hegemony," one that Posen sees as unnecessary, counterproductive, costly, and wasteful. Written for policymakers and observers alike, Restraint explains precisely why this grand strategy works poorly and then provides a carefully designed alternative grand strategy and an associated military strategy and force structure. In contrast to the failures and unexpected problems that have stemmed from America's consistent overreaching, Posen makes an urgent argument for restraint…


Book cover of Moral Contagion: Black Atlantic Sailors, Citizenship, and Diplomacy in Antebellum America

Kevin Kenny Author Of The Problem of Immigration in a Slaveholding Republic: Policing Mobility in the Nineteenth-Century United States

From my list on US immigration in the nineteenth century.

Who am I?

I write and teach about nineteenth-century US history, and I am interested in immigration for both personal and professional reasons. A native of Dublin, Ireland, I did my undergraduate work in Edinburgh, Scotland, completed my graduate degree in New York City, moved to Austin, Texas for my first academic job and to Boston for my second job, and then returned to New City York to take up my current position at NYU, where I teach US immigration history and run Glucksman Ireland House. The key themes in my work—migration, diaspora, and empire—have been as central to my life journey as to my research and teaching. 

Kevin's book list on US immigration in the nineteenth century

Kevin Kenny Why did Kevin love this book?

Moral Contagion tells the shocking story of the Seamen Acts, under which free Black sailors were imprisoned during their stay in southern ports during the antebellum era.

At least 20,000 free Black maritime workers, mostly from Britain and northern US states, were confined—and an unknown number, abandoned by their captains, were sold into slavery. The presence of free Black people in the South—widely feared as a source of “moral contagion”—contradicted the logic of slavery and threatened the very survival of that institution.

Why do I include this book on a list about US immigration history in the nineteenth century? Because, as Michael Schoeppner powerfully demonstrates, that history cannot be understood without considering the laws and policies controlling the movement of Black people in a slaveholding republic.

By Michael A. Schoeppner,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Moral Contagion as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Between 1822 and 1857, eight Southern states barred the ingress of all free black maritime workers. According to lawmakers, they carried a 'moral contagion' of abolitionism and black autonomy that could be transmitted to local slaves. Those seamen who arrived in Southern ports in violation of the laws faced incarceration, corporal punishment, an incipient form of convict leasing, and even punitive enslavement. The sailors, their captains, abolitionists, and British diplomatic agents protested this treatment. They wrote letters, published tracts, cajoled elected officials, pleaded with Southern officials, and litigated in state and federal courts. By deploying a progressive and sweeping notion…


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