Synopses & Reviews
Renowned military historian Patrick Bishop revisits the death of notorious Zionist leader Avraham Stern—head of the infamous Stern Gang—challenging the prevailing account of his demise.
The charismatic mastermind of a series of high-profile terrorist attacks with the goal of attaining Jewish independence and statehood, Avraham Stern was driven by his belief that he was the Jewish liberator of British Palestine. By early 1942 he was the most wanted man in Palestine, forced to take refuge in an attic in Tel Aviv to evade Assistant Superintendent Geoffrey Morton, who was assigned to track him down.
Stern's capture and death have been debated and endlessly contested over the years. The official British report stated that Stern was attempting to escape, and Morton had reason to believe that he had explosives. However, witnesses claimed that it was a cold-blooded murder that precipitated a cult of martyrdom, precluding any possibility of a détente among the British, the Arabs, and the Jews, and inspiring his followers for many years.
The Reckoning chronicles Patrick Bishop's fascinating quest to uncover the truth about Stern's ignominious death. Bishop gained access to Morton's private archive and interviews with witnesses, and relates a dramatic story that resonates to this very day in one of the world's most conflicted regions.
Bishop's gripping narrative describes without bias what actually transpired in the safe house where Stern was discovered. He relates Stern's capture in the context of the complex battle to expel the British from Palestine and secure Jewish independence. These men appear to have nothing in common, yet Bishop succeeds in depicting critical traits that they did share—dedication to their causes and an unflinching determination to achieve their goals at all costs. Bishop makes a strong case for the impact of Stern's shooting in the remaining years of British rule through meticulous research and a profound understanding of the forces at play during this historic conflagration.
Praise for Fighter Boys: “I know of no more thoughtful nor yet more moving study of their achievement.” Max Hastings, < i=""> Sunday Telegraph <> (London), on FIGHTER BOYS
“As a vivid chronicle of who the Battle of Britain pilots were, what motivated them, and why they were ultimately successful, Fighter Boys is unsurpassed.” < i=""> Daily Telegraph <> (London) on FIGHTER BOYS
“No one reading this book can possibly doubt the heroism of those involved…there cant be a finer history.” James Holland, < i=""> The New Statesman <> (London) on FIGHTER BOYS
“Mr Bishops depiction of Sterns downfall is masterful.” < em=""> The Economist < m="">
“Bishops fast-paced, well-written work sheds considerable light not only on how and why Stern was killed but on the final, violent years of the British mandate in Palestine.” < em=""> Publishers Weekly < m="">
“Clearly representing the point of view of the colonial British authorities, the author largely avoids demonizing or making heroes of either of his main protagonists, a failing of most English and Israeli accounts of the period.” < em=""> Library Journal < m="">
“What [Bishop] does, thanks to tireless research and powerful storytelling, is show how a ruthless murderer of civilians became an unnecessary martyr.” < em=""> New York < m=""> magazine
“Bishops book has all the suspense and detail of a good novel.” < em=""> Boston Globe < m="">
“Patrick Bishops book has important lessons for the modern day.” < em=""> Economist < m=""> (UK), & #8220;Books of the Year & #8221; pick
“Patrick Bishops book on the death of Avraham Stern is an important chapter in the tragic and bloody history of the Holy Land” < em=""> Iron Mountain Daily News < m=""> (Michigan)
“Bishop successfully weaves a story that is both entertaining and revealing…. He does an admirable job of showing how British police officers faced the difficult task of maintaining order between Jews and the Arabs whose resistance set the stage for later bloody confrontations.” < em=""> Washington Post < m="">
One of Britain's most renowned military historians revisits a controversial murder: that of Zionist leader Avraham Stern, head of Israel's notorious Stern Gang, in Tel Aviv during WWII.
Militant Zionist Avraham Stern believed he was destined to be the Jewish liberator of British Palestine. As the ringleader of the infamous Stern Gang, also known as Lehi, he masterminded a series of high-profile terrorist attacks in pursuit of his dream. On the run from British authorities who'd put a bounty on his head, Stern was hiding in an attic in Tel Aviv when he was killed by Assistant Superintendent Geoffrey Morton, a British colonial policeman assigned to capture him.
Morton claimed Stern was trying to escape. But witnesses insisted he was executed in cold blood. His controversial death inspired a cult of martyrdom that gave new life to Lehi, helping to destroy hopes of a detente between the British, the Arabs, and the Jews.
The Reckoning is the story of Patrick Bishop's quest to discover the truth. Based on extensive research—including access to Morton's private archive and eyewitness interviews—it recounts this seismic event in full, without bias, placing it within the context of its turbulent time. Bishop's gripping, groundbreaking narrative brings to life two men similar in ambition and dedication, chronicles the events that led to their fatal meeting, and explores how the impact of Stern's death reverberated through the final years of British rule and the birth of Israel.
About the Author
Patrick Bishop has emerged in the last decade as one of Britain's best-regarded military historians with his books Fighter Boys and Bomber Boys, which cast a new light on the men who flew in the Battle of Britain and the Strategic Air Campaign, as well as 3 Para, which follows British troops in the 2006 battle in Helmand. He is also the author of two novels.