The Kibbutz Movement: A History, Origins and Growth, 1909-1939 v. 1

BookThe Kibbutz Movement: A History, Origins and Growth, 1909-1939 v. 1

The Kibbutz Movement: A History, Origins and Growth, 1909-1939 v. 1

The Littman Library of Jewish Civilization


February 21st, 2008



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The two volumes of this work comprise the first comprehensive history of the kibbutz movement in any language.

Origins and Growth covers the first thirty years of this fascinating story, from the formation of the kibbutz in the opening years of the twentieth century to the eve of the Second World War. It is a masterly analysis of the genesis and expansion of the kibbutzim and their relations with the world around them. It considers not only the various components of the kibbutz movement but also the pioneering youth movements from which their members came.

Henry Near’s analysis of the ideological, political, economic, and social development of the kibbutz movement is illustrated throughout by excerpts from historical sources, affording a wealth of colourful insights into the changing quality of kibbutz life as experienced by its members.

The second volume, Crisis and Achievement, 1939-1995 extends the detailed historical analysis to 1977 and gives a comprehensive overview of subsequent developments.

'Long and scholarly volume ... Near brings us every primary source on the topic, making this material available to the non-Hebrew reader for the first time ... a treasure trove of information.'
Sara Reguer, AJS Review

'The most systematic and comprehensive book ever written on the first three decades of kibbutz history ... the abundant statistical data and tables convey the realities beyond the aspirations, and there are descriptions of everyday life and of developments in kibbutz society and education.'
Yuval Dror, Catedra
'Pays special attention to the kibbutz movement as such and has added excerpts from historical sources to give an insight into the changing quality of kibbutz life as experienced by its members.'
International Review of Social History
'There has been no systematic survey of its historical development until Henry Near's fascinating and detailed account ... The story is told in meticulous detail.'
Leon Sheleff, Jerusalem Post
'This is an excellent and well researched book that is well written, with illuminating recollections and quotations from memoirs. It is a pleasure to read and its sequel will be well worth waiting for.'
Hugh Courts, Jewish Book News & Reviews
'Excellent ... the first comprehensive history of the Kibbutz movement in any language.'
Barry Shenker, Jewish Chronicle
'Henry Near has pioneered the history of the Kibbutz movement for the English reader.'
Noah Lucas, Journal of Jewish Studies
'Notably thoughtful and scholarly ... he has succeeded in putting together an admirably coherent and clearly written account of the kibbutz movement's history, an authoritative narrative account of which has long been needed. When completed by a second volume, The Kibbutz Movement: A History is sure to serve as the standard text on the subject for years to come.'
David Vital, Times Literary Supplement

Author Information

Henry Near was Professor Emeritus in the Jewish History and Education Departments at Oranim Academic College and the University of Haifa and had been a member of Kibbutz Beit Ha’emek since 1955. He was the author of The Kibbutz and Society, 1923–1933 (1984), Studies in the Third Aliyah, 1919–1924 (with B. Ben-Avram, 1995), and Living in a Kibbutz (5th edition 1991). The prize-winning first volume of his history of the kibbutz movement appeared in 1992. He died in 2012.