Say the word Israel today and it sparks images of walls and rockets and a bloody conflict without end. Yet for decades the symbol of the Jewish State was the noble pioneer draining the swamps and making the deserts bloom: the legendary kibbutznik. So what ever happened to the pioneers' dream of founding a socialist utopia in the land called Palestine?
Chasing Utopia: The Future of the Kibbutz in a Divided Israel draws listeners into the quest for answers to the defining political conflict of our era. Acclaimed author David Leach revisits his raucous memories of life as a kibbutz volunteer and returns to meet a new generation of Jewish and Arab citizens struggling to forge a better future together. Crisscrossing the nation, Leach chronicles the controversial decline of Israel's kibbutz movement and witnesses a renaissance of the original vision for a peaceable utopia in unexpected corners of the Promised Land. Chasing Utopia is an entertaining and enlightening portrait of a divided nation where hope persists against the odds.
"Leach reveals an imaginative and sharply inquiring mind, a gift for capturing the social complexity of the Israeli kibbutz and the troubled society beyond through humorous, moving, and often thrilling anecdotes. Lively, unsentimental, yet deeply empathic, Chasing Utopia is a new classic in kibbutz scholarship, a vibrant story with real heart and intellect." (Ranen Omer-Sherman, author of Imagining the Kibbutz: Visions of Utopia in Literature & Film, endowed chair in Judaic Studies, University of Louisville)
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