Shmuel Katz’s detailed and comprehensive biography of Vladimir Jabotinsky (1880–1940) is an unabashedly partisan defense of one of the most complex Zionists of the early 20th century. Jabotinsky was a Russian poet, playwright, journalist, and novelist as well as the founder of Revisionist Zionism and of Betar. His oratory in many languages was legendary. Katz first heard him speak in South Africa in the early part of the 20th century and was so impressed that he dropped out of university to work for Revisionist Zionism.
Katz recounts Jabotinsky’s efforts to create the Jewish Legion during World War I, traces the history of Jewish relations with the British during the time of the Palestine Mandate, describes Jabotinsky’s role in the defense of the Jewish Yishuv and in organizing the Af-Al-Pi “illegal” Jewish immigration to Palestine before World War II. He paints a vivid mural of competing Jewish personalities, factions and ideologies in the decades before the establishment of Israel.