"THE JEWS WISH TO HAVE A STATE, AND THEY SHALL HAVE ONE": RARE FIRST AMERICAN EDITION OF HERZL'S A JEWISH STATE
A Jewish State: An Attempt at a Modern Solution of the Jewish Question.
Item Number: 63048
New York: The Maccabaean Publishing Co, 1904.
First American edition of Herzl’s landmark manifesto for an independent Jewish state, “one of the most important books in the history of the Jewish People.” Octavo, bound in full buckram, all edges gilt. Preface and notes by Jacob de Haas. Photographic portrait by E. M. Lilien of Herzl leaning over the balcony-rail of the Hotel Les Trois Rois. In near fine condition, strengthening to the inner hinges. First editions are rare, especially in this condition.
Having concluded the Jewish people could not completely and successfully assimilate into the world's countries, not only because of persistent anti-Semitism but also because of their own will to survive, Herzl proposed: "Let the sovereignty be granted us over a portion of the globe large enough to satisfy the reasonable requirements of a nation; the rest we shall manage for ourselves." First published in Vienna in 1896 as Der Judenstaat and first published in English that same year (in London by David Nutt), this work inaugurated Herzl's work in "transform[ing] Zionism from a weak and insignificant movement into a world organization and a political entity that Great Britain was prepared to accept as the authorized representative of the Jewish people. This in turn led to the Balfour Declaration and eventually to the founding of the State of Israel" (Encyclopedia Judaica 8:419-20). "Herzl's book… crystallized the idea of a national home for the Jews… By his work he transformed the Jewish people from a passive community into a positive political force" (PMM 381). It "has remained the single most important manifesto of modern Zionism and is one of the most important books in the history of the Jewish People" (Heymann, Bibliotheca Rosenthaliana—Treasures of Jewish Booklore 46:102-03).