Israel remains a country of rich culture with an amazing history. They are known as the central are for religion due to their capital being Jerusalem, the birth place of baby Jesus. It is also considered the birthplace of the Jewish people. Because of this, Israel is known as the Holy Land. In Israel, there are many sites that are considered sacred to a variety of religions.
What are the Best History of Israel Books to read?
Israel is not all peace and prosperity, however. Bloodshed from various wars, both religious and not, have plagued the land at one time or another. Israel had to fight for independance, and then keep it before becoming allies with the United States. Throughout history, there were many kingdoms that wanted to claim Israel as a part of their country due to it’s sacred religious sites. There were also many people that attempted to take over and rule this sacred land. Because of this, the history is packed with battles, wins, losses, and religion. There are a plethora of interesting characters in every single piece of history as well.
These books capture the most captivating parts of the history of the Holy Land, both entertaining and educating readers.
Best Books on History of Israel: Our Top 20 Picks
Here are some of the best history of israel books that you can consider to expand your knowledge on the subject:
1. My Promised Land: The Triumph and Tragedy of Israel
My promised land is written by a man that has researched, learned and lived the history of Israel. He has served on the Association of Civil Rights, fought for the people of Israel and educated himself on the through history of Israel, making him an expert on the topic. When readers engage in his literature, they can trust that it comes from a reputable source.
The book is a chronological text of the timeline of Israel, from battles and wars to politicians. He discloses interviews and documents of great interest to support his text. Then, he slowly informs the reader about consequences of the actions of the nation, how things have turned out for the nation, and what the future may hold if things remain the same. It is a page turner that will both inform and fascinate the reader.
- Authors: Ari Shavit (Author)
- Publisher: Random House; Illustrated Edition (February 3, 2015)
- Pages: 512 pages
2. Rise and Kill First: The History of Israel’sTargeted Assassinations
Most people know Israel for many things. They remember them in terms of the Holocaust, or of them becoming a Jewish nation. Israel also remains well known for it’s sacred temples and historically religious sites that bring millions of visitors per year. Less than that, they are known for their wars and battles with their neighbors.
There is another part to Israel history, however. A darker part that is less well-known than the rest of the history of this country. It is the history of their assassinations. These propelled the nation to the security and survival that it has today, but most do not even know that they existed. This text tells not only of assassinations, but of the tactical operations that led to them. It explains the cover ups, the purpose behind them, and the consequences of them. Everything comes at a price, and Israel paid for their survival in the best way that they knew how. Learn what the consequences of those actions were through this exclusive book.
- Authors: Ronen Bergman (Author)
- Publisher: Random House (January 30, 2018)
- Pages: 737 pages
3. A Concise History of A Nation Reborn
A Concise History of A Nation Reborn captures the true history of the Jewish nation. It tells tales from the beginning of the country wishing to be a Jewish nation, of the trials and tribulations that plagued the nation, and of reasons why so many countries and people remain fascinated by this small country. This text captures the essence of both the people and the place of Israel through history, documents and literature.
Those that are searching for text regarding the battles and wars that Israel has been involved in will not enjoy this one, but readers that enjoy learning history and want to learn more about this nation in general will enjoy this book. It does not just tell of events that helped transform this nation into what it is today, but also the people behind those. It is not age appropriate for small children.
- Authors: Daniel Gordis (Author)
- Publisher: Ecco; Illustrated Edition (September 5, 2017)
- Pages: 560 pages
4. Israel: A History
The author of this book sought out to provide a comprehensive book encompassing a great deal of Israel’s history, and he did an exceptional job. Text covers politics, and some of the most notable events of the government of this nation. Readers will also learn about many of the wars that this great nation fought, including the ones with the Arab’s, something that made Israel more well-known than anything.
Then, the text takes readers beyond the obvious politics and wars of Israel to educate them on the deeper history of this country. They will learn about the early times of settlement, tension among the population due to religion, and about the Israel armed forces, something that most other books on the topic do not cover.
This book provides a rich amount of detailed history and education to anyone that is interested in this country.
- Authors: Martin Gilbert (Author)
- Publisher: RosettaBooks (June 5, 2014)
- Pages: 798 pages
5. Reclaiming Israel’s History
David Brog wrote this book with the reader in mind. The language is easy to understand for beginner’s that are not accustomed to reading at a higher education level but elaborate enough that those with a high degree will not find the language boring or bothersome.
He encompasses a great deal of the history of Israel in this single book. It is told in chronological order, beginning with the roots of this great nation. Then, he elaborates to tell tales of the wars that this country remains known for as he recounts the history of Israel. Readers will learn about common beliefs, such as the oppression of Israel, and why the author does not believe them to be true. Instead, he highlights the inspiration behind the country and its people. Those that want to hear more of the positive about Israel will enjoy this book.
- Authors: David Brog (Author)
- Publisher: Gateway Editions; Reprint Edition (October 9, 2018)
- Pages: 256 pages
6. Crash Course in Jewish History
Those that are just now learning about the history of religion or the Jewish people will appreciate this all inclusive book. It tells of the years of the Jewish people, of persecution and of some of the most brilliant minds. It ponders the popular question of why the Jewish people were consistently persecuted throughout their history, and how they remained strong and stuck with their beliefs throughout their troubling times.
Alongside Jewish history is the history of Israel. This nation, commonly referred to as the Holy Land, is the home of the Jewish people. As the reader learns more about the history of this religion and what they have been through, they will also learn pieces of history about Israel.
Readers that would prefer to learn more about Israel, such as wars with Arab neighbors or politicians, might not enjoy this book as much because it focuses more on Jewish history. It is important to keep that in mind while deciding if this is the right book for you.
- Authors: Ken Spiro (Author)
- Publisher: Targum Press; First Edition (February 1, 2010)
- Pages: 509 pages
7. A History of Israel
Those that are interested in the history of the Bible or the history of Israel during the times of the Old Testament will thoroughly enjoy this book. It tells of events from a time long ago, a time that most people remain fascinated by. Instead of a simple recant of historical events from the Old Testament, this book is specific to the history of Israel. It includes detailed evidence that supports theories, tells of the things that prophets said, and includes scholarly articles and evidence as well. This book tells of facts that are supported by evidence instead of opinions and personal bias.
It is important to note that this book does not cover recent history of Israel, such as politicians and the wars with its Arab neighbors. Instead, it solely focuses on the Old Testament history of Israel.
- Authors: John Bright (Author)
- Publisher: Westminster John Knox Press; 4th Edition (July 1, 2000)
- Pages: 574 pages
8. History of Israel: From the Rise of Zionism to Our Time
The author carefully recounts the chronological history of this nation from years ago until the book was written, which was in the 1970’s. He makes use of his personal experience to inform readers about the trials and tribulations that this small nation faced on the road to peace.
The author also takes the time to detail political events and leadership tactics, from the politicians themselves to different types of government that this nation has had. It should be noted that he is a bit opinionated when detailing the political points of this book, and is somewhat one sided. Those that agree with his point of view will appreciate this, but those that are on the other side might find it a bit offensive.
This book does not cover the history of Israel during biblical times, but instead focuses on more recent times of history.
- Authors: Howard M. Sachar (Author)
- Publisher: Knopf; 3rd Revised and Updated Edition (July 31, 2013)
- Pages: 1270 pages
9. Survey of Israel’s History
The author of this book, Leon Wood, pursued the study of the Old Testament, attending higher education courses through Israel. Upon reading this book, he enjoyed it immensely. He has now edited the book to include more recent events and make the history book of Israel up to date.
Wood left much of the text from older generations in tact while only adding his own portions so that readers can still enjoy the book that they originally fell in love with as well.
Those that have never read this book before will appreciate the use of visual aids that are used. A chronological timeline is helpful, there are charts, graphs, pictures and more. The text and pictures used are both educational and interesting at the same time. This book is a great place for beginners to start or scholars to learn more about the small nation that has become known as the Holy Land.
- Authors: Leon J. Wood (Author)
- Publisher: Zondervan Academic; Revised ed. Edition (October 11, 1986)
- Pages: 434 pages
10. Israel History Maps
Those that would like to see more visual aids in their history books will enjoy that there are over 300 maps found in this single book. They provide a way for readers to follow the history of Israel with more than just text.
Although this map is geared more towards the history of Israel, it does include a history of the Jewish people and other peoples in the region as well. It seems to focus specifically on the Jewish people in Israel, their trials and more. The maps are used as a visual aid to help readers see what was happening in Israel as it was happening.
Because this book covers the history of that particular region, readers will learn more about the history of other groups that occupied the region as well. Most of the history lessons are centered around Israel and the Jewish people, but there are interesting facts about it’s neighbors included as well.
This book provides a comprehensive collection of Israel history in chronological order. With texts and visual aids that cover more than 3000 years of history, this is one of the most inclusive books on the topic.
- Authors: Ilan Reiner (Author), Amir Reiner (Author), Iris Israeli (Editor), Aviva Lee (Editor)
- Publisher: Israel History Maps; 5.9 Edition (June 9, 2015)
- Pages: 139 pages
11. Israel and the Nations
This book is known to be an exceptional introduction for those that are interested in learning about the history of Israel. It follows the people of Israel through what later became known as the Exodus, and further explains the history of the Holy Land.
This book also encompasses several interesting details that are not always included in other books. For example, it tells of how the geographical location of Israel led to it being in the middle of many conflicts in the Middle East region.
Readers should note that this book primarily covers the history of Israel in the Old Testament. It can serve as a nice introduction to future history of Israel, but does not include New Testament or current history of the country. It does serve as a starting point for future studies, making it a nice idea for students that are just beginning to be interested in the history of Israel.
- Authors: F. F. Bruce (Author), David F. Payne (Author)
- Publisher: IVP Academic (August 3, 1998)
- Pages: 258 pages
12. A History of Israel: From the Bronze Age Through the Jewish Wars
This book pertaining to the history of Israel focuses on the New Testament era, a time long before today. It carefully reviews what is said of the country in a biblical sense, but then takes things a step further through academic research and scholarly testaments to further prove evidence of the history of this nation.
In addition to educational text, this book provides hundreds of carefully detailed images. These images include ancient and current maps of the country that readers can use for reference. They also include photos of ancient artifacts and charts that readers can refer back to, or simply use to learn more about the country.
This book does more than advocate for the truth of the history behind Israel, it provides detailed evidence to support everything that it claims to be true.
- Authors: Walter C. Kaiser Jr. (Author), Paul D Wegner (Author)
- Publisher: B&H Academic; Revised Edition (February 13, 2017)
- Pages: 728 pages
13. Ancient Israel
Readers that are interested in learning more about ancient Israel will thoroughly enjoy reading about the Holy Land and its history through the ages. This book covers time periods from the Bronze Age through the Iron Age and more. Texts are covered that include the role of the Persians, the Israelites first appearance in Canaan and many more notable events that helped put Israel on the map, and transform it into the nation that it has become today.
This book does not focus on whether the Bible should be considered a historical document or not, and does not focus on Biblical history. This is a nice breath of fresh air for readers that would simply like to enjoy learning about the history of Israel while simultaneously avoiding the controversy that they do not wish to be a part of.
- Authors: Captivating History (Author)
- Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (September 19, 2018)
- Pages: 100 pages
14. Israel: A History
This book educates the reader about the history of Israel from the Zionism movement up until the present history of this inspiring nation. Dive into this book to learn about the relationships that the Holy Land had with its neighbors as well as the cultural impact this had on them as a country. The way that this book includes those cultural aspects of Israel is one of the things that sets it apart from other history books on the topic.
In addition to that, this impressive collection of Israel history also includes political history, social history and the historical events of the country that most remain fascinated by, such as the wars with its neighbors. It does not cover the Biblical historical period.
The text also includes excerpts from diaries, journals, newspapers and more so that readers can enjoy both evidence that supports the historical claims as well as the point of view of someone that lived during the time periods that the author references.
- Authors: Anita Shapira (Author)
- Publisher: Brandeis; Reprint Edition (August 5, 2014)
- Pages: 528 pages
15. Side by Side: Parallel Histories of Palestine and Israel
Years ago, there was a controversy regarding the teaching of Palestine and Israel history. When comparing history books, it was discovered that there were extreme differences between the ways that the two Middle Eastern countries recounted the same events. This led to scholars comparing the teachings of events in both countries.
Ultimately, this comparison led to a side by side history book of the two countries. Students and scholars can read about each event that occured from the point of view of both countries to see where it is the same and different. This book provides an interesting opportunity for readers to discover how people view things differently, and how each country is teaching history.
This book is not only used to teach history lessons, but to establish a conversation that needs to happen between Middle Eastern countries regarding the past, the present and the future of the nations that sit so close together.
- Authors: Sami Adwan (Editor), Dan Bar-On (Editor), Eyal Naveh (Editor), Peace Research Institute in the Middle East (Editor)
- Publisher: The New Press; 0th Edition (March 6, 2012)
- Pages: 416 pages
16. A Biblical History of Israel, Second Edition
The author of this book retells the history of Israel through a biblical approach that remains a topic of controversy as historians battle over whether the Bible should be included alongside other historical documents. In this book, readers will not only learn more about the history of Israel, but they will learn about biblical history as well.
This book does not hold back in opinions as the author fights to prove the truth behind biblical texts that are the topic among many in a heated debate. It not only explains history, but provides documentation as evidence to support things that are said in the book. These include archaeological references, charts and tables. Maps are also included for additional reference and evidence. Those that struggle as to whether to believe the Bible or not will become entranced in this book and the information that it provides the reader with.
- Authors: Iain Provan (Author)
- Publisher: Westminster John Knox Press; 2nd Edition (November 6, 2015)
- Pages: 512 pages
17. A History of Ancient Israel and Judah
This textbook takes a unique, unbiased approach that is not often seen in books regarding Israel history. The authors combine facts, data, evidence and history into one exceptional book to provide the reader with as much information as possible. Students reading this textbook will learn about the actions of the nations of the Middle East, and how they affected the future of the nation as well as things such as government, trades, etc.
This edition is the second edition, and includes a wealth of information for the reader. Readers will be able to utilize charts and graphs that serve as evidence for claims stated in the book. Over 30 maps provide more visual aids to help the reader understand locations, routes used, etc. Photographs are also included for additional educational purposes. This book includes a little bit of everything to leave the reader full of knowledge.
- Authors: J. Maxwell Miller (Author), John H. Hayes (Author)
- Publisher: Westminster John Knox Press; 2nd Edition (October 1, 2006)
- Pages: 552 pages
18. Ancient Civilizations
A book on ancient civilizations, this text does not merely focus on Israel. Instead, readers will dive deep into the history of multiple civilizations, such as the Canaanites and Hittites as well. Explore the history of these ancient civilizations, such as battles that they won or lost, their culture and more as you learn about what they endured during older times.
This book also explores the role of these ancient civilizations in a biblical sense as the author explains what each civilization’s role was in the Old Testament. This book combines history and biblical history wonderfully, giving the reader an opportunity to see what role each civilization played in history, and how it affected other civilizations.
This book is carefully divided into three sections, each one covering a different civilization. Each section encompasses important things that the reader needs to know, facts about the civilization and evidence to support the claims of the book so that readers can feel confident in what they are doing.
- Authors: Captivating History (Author)
- Publisher: Captivating History; Illustrated Edition (January 10, 2020)
- Pages: 234 pages
19. Ancient Israel’s History
The history of ancient Israel in the Old Testament remains a heated conversation among scholars. While some believe that the Hebrew Bible is a work of fiction, others strongly believe that it should be considered a work of history along with other historical documents. Instead of believing one side or the other, students are encouraged to delve deep into their own research to form their own opinion on the topic.
This book gives them the opportunity to do just that. It provides clear, concise data that will give the mind a jump start combined with evidence to support both sides. This book remains one of the few unbiased books on the topic that truly makes the mind work through deciding which side should be believed.
The authors of this book are a combination of both historical and Biblical scholars, ensuring that readers get to view both sides of the coin.
- Authors: Bill T. Arnold (Author), Richard S. Hess (Author)
- Publisher: Baker Academic; Reprint Edition (November 6, 2018)
- Pages: 560 pages
20. The Story of Israel
This book is a simple book that tells the story of Israel. Instead of being full of evidence to prove the story one way or the other, readers will be able to enjoy a text that simply presents the story of the Bible as the truth. It tells of how God created the land, and more.
Readers can learn about the role of the Holy Land in the Old Testament, such as key players and events that helped shape Israel into the nation that it is today. Unlike other books, this one does not stop at the Old Testament. Instead, readers will also learn about Israel in the New Testament, and about the actions of the nation and historical events of that time period. Then, the book expands beyond Biblical time periods, educating the reader on events that have happened since then up until the present. This book provides a comprehensive history of the Holy Land.
- Authors: J. Carl Laney (Author)
- Publisher: Independently published (April 30, 2019)
- Pages: 220 pages
Choosing the Best History of Israel Books
When searching for a book to read that covers the history of Israel, it’s important to consider what history you would like to learn about. There are books that discuss Biblical history, those that argue for or against the use of the Bible as a historical document, and then there are history books that simply delve into the history of the Holy Land with no reference to the Bible. Because the history of this country encompasses thousands of years, it remains vital to make sure that you know what time period you are interested in to make sure that you find a book that is perfect for you.