Littman Library of Jewish Civilization

The Kibbutz Movement: A History

Volume 1: Origins and Growth, 1909-1939
Henry Near

'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 . . . is sure to serve as the standard text on the subject for years to come.'
David Vital, Times Literary Supplement

'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

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'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

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.

 

About the author

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 second volume of his history of the kibbutz movement appeared in 1997. He died in 2012.

Publication details

Format 21.5 x 13.5 cm / 5.5" x 8.5"
Pages 450 pages, 40 photographs, 1 map, 18 tables
ISBN 978-0-19-710069-1
Price £21.95 / $34.95
Date of publication hardback: 1992 out of print
paperback: 21 February 2008

Contents

List of tables
List of illustrations and maps
Note on Translation, Transliteration, Annotation, and References

Introduction
1 Backgrounds and Beginnings, 1904-1920
Zionist Settlements and the Second Aliya * Communes and Kvutzot * The Spread of Kvutzot * Historical Dimensions in the Creation of the Kvutza
2 Expansion and Consolidation, 1918-1923
The Third Aliya and the 'Fellowship of the Roads' * Gedud Ha'avoda and Hashomer Hatzair * The Kibbutz Movement in 1923
3 The Pioneering Youth Movements: Origins and Growth, 1900-1935
Hechalutz * The 'Classic' Youth Movements * The Smaller Youth Movements * The Youth Movements in the Early 1930s
4 The Fourth Aliya and the Creation of the Kibbutz Movements, 1924-1930
The Fourth Aliya: Patterns of Settlement * Gedud Ha'avoda and Ein Harod * The Foundation of the Kibbutz Movements * Unity and Variety
5 After the Crisis: Recovery and Growth, 1927-1935
The World in Transition * Economics and Settlement * Development of the Kibbutz Movements
6 Politics and Youth, 1927-1935
The Politicization of the Kibbutz Movement * The Expansion of the Youth Movements * Historical Influences on the Development of the Youth Movements
7 Glimpses of Social History: The Kibbutz Community, 1925-1935
Patterns of Education: The 1920s and 1930s * Community and Culture * Ways of Life: Three Kibbutzim, 1935
8 Diversity and Unity: The Smaller Movements, 1930-1939
Pioneering Youth Movements in the Diaspora * Pioneering Youth Movements in the Yishuv * The Religious Kibbutz Movements * Youth Movements and Kibbutz Movements
9 The Heroic Period, 1936-1939
The Arab Revolt * The Kibbutz Movement and the Defence of the Yishuv * Tower and Stockade * Hechalutz and Illegal Immigration
10 Economics, Politics, and Society, 1936-1939
The Kibbutz Economy * Demographic Developments * The Kibbutz in Politics * Social Developments
11 Comments and Conclusions
Economics * Social Developments * The Kibbutz and the Outside World: Ideological Variants * Politics * Reflections * Achievements and Apprehensions

Appendix 1: The kibbutz movement in 1939
Appendix 2: Guide to other settlements mentioned

Glossary
References
Index
Map: The kibbutz movement in context, 1939

 

Reviews

'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 memoires. 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

 

Prizes

Winner of the Ben-Shemesh Prize for Historical Research for 1994 for Volume 1 of The Kibbutz Movement: A History