The Five: A Novel of Jewish Life in Turn-of-the-Century Odessa by Vladimir Jabotinsky

Vladimir Jabotinsky

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One staple of the classic, often hagiographic, biographies of Vladimir Jabotinsky is the idea that his life was split into two while his transformation from a Russian journalist and aesthete into a Zionist was decisive and irrevocable. Yet more recent portrayals of Jabotinsky, in Russian and in English, paint him in a more nuanced light. As Hillel Halkin puts it in his new biography of Jabotinsky, regarding this transformation, “Whether his politics were ultimately coherent—whether his life had a deep inner consistency or was at bottom a tragic contradiction—depends on whether this paradox makes sense to us or whether, like … historian Michael Stanislawski … we regard it as rationalization, ‘at best a non sequitur, at worst nonsensical.’ The deeper debate about Jabotinsky starts here.” Halkin ultimately seems to conclude that Jabotinsky “was a man of contradictions.”

Read Marat Grinberg’s article in full at Tablet Magazine

Vladimir Jabotinsky

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