A Death in Jerusalem by Kati Marton
The Assassination by Jewish Extremists of the First Arab/Israeli

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Synopsis

On the evening of September 17, 1948, a car carrying Count Folke Bernadotte, the first United Nations–appointed mediator in the Middle East, traveled up a narrow Jerusalem street. As the car shifted gears for the climb toward the New City, an Israeli Army jeep nosed into the road, forcing Bernadotte’s car and the two following him to come to a full stop. From the jeep sprang three uniformed men clutching automatic weapons. In a moment that set the stage for a legacy of violence that has since characterized Arab-Israeli negotiations, Count Bernadotte was shot six times and killed. The assassins were never brought to justice.
 
A Death in Jerusalem reveals the forces behind this assassination, the passion that first dictated the tactics of terrorism in Israel and that continue to shape the thinking and actions of those even now determined to block accommodation with the Palestinians.
 
At its birth in 1948, the State of Israel was endangered as much by a fratricidal war between Jewish moderates and extremists as it was by the invading armies of its Arab neighbors. In the first test of its authority, the fledgling United Nations forged a temporary truce between Arabs and Jews and dispatched Count Bernadotte to negotiate a permanent peace. A Swede with a reputation for skillful negotiations with the Nazis for the release of prisoners, including Jewish concentration-camp victims, Bernadotte had seemed the ideal choice for mediator. But he was dangerously unversed in the Israeli underground’s passionate visions of a homeland restored to its biblical geographical proportions.
 
To the Stern Gang, led by future Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir, any concession of land was as threatening to Israel’s integrity as the Arabs’ invading armies. And the Sternists did not trust Count Bernadotte, whom they saw as threatening Israel’s claim to the holy city of Jerusalem. As Bernadotte prepared his plan for the allocation of disputed territory, the Stern Gang plotted his murder.
 
Drawing on previously untapped sources, including Bernadotte’s family and former Stern Gang members, Kati Marton tells the vivid and haunting story of what propelled the Sternists, how they achieved their goal, and how and why the assassins were shielded from prosecution.


From the Hardcover edition.
 

About Kati Marton

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Kati Marton is the author of seven books, most recently, Enemies of the People: My Family’s Journey to America, a National Book Critics Circle Award finalist and the subject of an upcoming motion picture. Her other books include The Great Escape: Nine Jews Who Fled Hitler and Changed the World and the New York Times bestseller Hidden Power: Presidential Marriages That Shaped Our History, as well as Wallenberg, The Polk Conspiracy, and A Death in Jerusalem. She is an award-winning former NPR and ABC News correspondent. She lives in New York City.
 
Published November 23, 2011 by Pantheon. 321 pages
Genres: History, Political & Social Sciences, War, Biographies & Memoirs. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for A Death in Jerusalem

Kirkus Reviews

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 An intriguing examination of the circumstances surrounding the 1948 murder in Israel of UN mediator Count Folke Bernadotte.

May 20 2010 | Read Full Review of A Death in Jerusalem: The Ass...

Publishers Weekly

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In September 1948, Swedish humanitarian activist Count Folke Bernadotte, a United Nations-appointed mediator attempting to facilitate peace between Israelis and Arabs, was assassinated by members of L

Oct 31 1994 | Read Full Review of A Death in Jerusalem: The Ass...

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