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We Were the Future

by Yael Neeman - £9.99  Gerald Duckworth & Co Ltd (2018)
paperback    ISBN 13: 9780715652756 | ISBN 10: 0715652753

The kibbutzim are collective settlements in Israel which have been written about extensively over the years, and are praised as the only example in world history of entire communities attempting, voluntarily, to live in total equality. Conceived as a socialist utopia by its early pioneers, the kibbutz was a radical experiment in communal living, gender equality, economic egalitarianism, and the reorganisation of family life. But in spite of its progressive ideals, there is a dark side to the kibbutz which is being told in the accounts of children who were raised in the communal 'children's houses', suggesting this was an institution which victimised its offspring for the sake of ideology.
In this spare and lucid memoir, Neeman - a child of the kibbutz in the '60s - draws on the collective memory of the hundreds of thousands of people who grew up in kibbutzim during their height and who have intimately shared their memories with her. We Were the Future is more than merely a compelling personal account of growing up in a kibbutz: it is an unstintingly honest examination of the perils of organising society and a new lens through which to see the history of Israel.

(Price & availability last checked: July 2018)

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In booklists: Jewish History, Jewish Culture,
In categories: History & Biography, Jewish Diaspora,

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