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December 13 , 2008

A Sense of Purpose: Recollections


In this memoir, Suzy Eban describes growing up in a Zionist family in Ismailia and Cairo in the 1920s and 1930s, visits to her grandparents in Palestine, the 1929 Arab riots near her grandparents’ Motza farmhouse outside Jerusalem, Aubrey (later Abba) Eban’s courtship, their marriage in 1945, Abba’s diplomatic role in pre-State Israel, his elevation at a young age as Israel’s first ambassador to the UN and to the US. Suzy recounts her role as a diplomat’s wife, a mother and a community activist (she was head of the Israel Cancer Association for almost 40 years), offers candid assessments of prominent political women in Israeli politics, Vera Weizmann, Golda Meir, Rachel Ben-Zvi and Paula Ben-Gurion, and gives insights about the rough-and-tumble Israeli politics of the 1980s.

“This beautifully written, intelligent, and comprehensive memoir will reward readers interested in a behind-the-scenes understanding of Israeli history and politics.” — Deborah Schoeneman, Jewish Book Council

“The first 100 or so pages of [Suzy Eban’s] narrative are absolutely scrumptious. Possessed of a sharp eye and a deft hand (parts of this section were published decades ago in an earlier form in The New Yorker), Eban excels at conjuring up the sights, sounds, scents and other sensuous evocations of her childhood in the 1920s and ‘30s in Ismailia” — Ina Friedman, Ha’aretz

“Suzy Eban has provided a timely reminder of the vacuum left by [Abba] Eban's absence.” — Colin Schindler, The Jerusalem Post

“Suzy [Eban] reveals through her ‘recollections’ a talent for evocative prose... The book’s many delights include intriguing snippets on Chaim Weizmann, David Ben Gurion, and their wives, Vera and Paula, and an emotional description of Suzy’s return to the country of her birth following President Anwar Sadat’s peace mission to Israel in 1977.” — Simon Round, Jewish Chronicle

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