Author: Dave Longeuay
Publisher: Seven-7 Publishing
If you liked Exodus by Leon Uris, you will love Rebirth by Dave Longeuay. From the first page I was gripped by this tale of espionage, romance, and the proganist’s pursuit of familial secrets. It begins in July 1945 as Charles Devonshire, a precocious teen-ager, travels to Palestine where he hopes to escape an abusive anti semitic father & solve the mystery of his parents’ mysterious past. On the ship and in port he witnesses the British, professed enemies of the Nazis, nonetheless echoing Nazi anti-semitism. The book moves along at a suspenseful, exciting eventful pace for the next two years illuminating the emotional development of Charles, as extreme circumstances propel him into heroic manhood, as well as a close up view of the painful accurate history of Israel’s rebirth as a nation. Along the way we are introduced to characters who seem absolutely real and interact naturally with the real historical characters whose names we recognize. The author says the novel is based on actual events and even the events that are made up feel like they certainly could have, maybe even did, happen. This history remains relevant to the ongoing middle east crisis. I was struck by the timeliness of the following:
“Moshe stood. ‘Heres the root of our problem. Most Arabs and Jews want peace. It’s the radicals on each side who incite violence and who pressure peaceful Jews and Arabs to fight or die.’ He pulled a paper from his satchel. ‘The grand mufti, Al Husseini, broadcast this message throughout Europe with Nazi funding: ‘Arabs, arise and fight for your sacred rights. Kill Jews wherever you find them. This pleases God, history and religion.” (p. 276)
Earlier, in chapter 17, Charles helps out a young Arab man who has run out of gas for his motorcycle. Later that same young man who is part of a group of young Arabs who believe they must fight and kill the Jews and Americans saves Charles and his friends from the murderous wrath of his own companions because he remembers that Charles had come to his aid earlier and reminds Charles that he had said then he would not forget. It is good that we get to glimpse this desire of each of these young men to treat each other with humanity in the midst of the fear and violence all around them.
My favorite books, the books I consider to be classics, are books that enlighten and educate while they entertain and engage the reader as this one does. I was familiar with the general outlines of Israel’s history but this book transported me to that time and place and I felt like I had experienced it. I highly recommend that anyone interested in the history of Israel as well as the current political situation in the middle east read Rebirth for a fuller understanding of the way history is made. The author has been for many years a songwriter and run a multi media Recording studio expanded in 2000 to include video services and his own experience includes writing, producing, shooting and editing a feature length documentary film. These skills and experience would explain his success at creating a novel with such filmic immediacy. I am very much looking forward to following Charles and his beloved Gladia in the sequel: Reborn.
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Sandra Shwayder Sanchez
Reviewer Sandra Shwayder Sanchez: Sandra is a retired attorney. Her twenty year law practice focused on representation of indigent clients in the Denver criminal, family, juvenile, and mental health courts. In 2005 she co-founded The Wessex Collective (TWC) with R.P. Burnham, publisher of The Long Story literary journal.