44 / CHRONICLESnhe does not, all striving is useless, andnhe might as well write books like Fiona’snFolly, the steamy novel by one of thencharacters in Hacks at Lunch, the highbrownnovel by Mary Bringle. In eitherncase, a pseudonym seems like a goodnidea. ccnAndrei Navrozov is editor of The YalenLiterary Magazine and a contributingneditor of Harper’s.nForget This Alamonby Stephen L. TannernErnest Brawley: The Alamo Tree;nSimon and Schuster; New York.nThis is the kind of novel that inspiresnslick reviewers and writers of publisher’snblurbs to new outrages in inflated butntacky description: “lusty,” “brawling,”n”pulsing with ambition,” “passion andngreed,” “an epic saga.”nThe story begins in Mexico in 1927,nwith flashbacks going back to the turn ofnthe century, and ends in 1982. Setnmosdy in Mexico with a few excursionsnnorth of the border, it relates the vicissitudesnand intertwinings of three generationsnof two families—the O’Hares andnCarrizos—one American, one Mexican.nMaureen O’flare (the touch ofnIrish in such novels is supposed toncontribute spirit and passion) begins asnthe owner of a seedy hotel in a smallnMexican town. With the help of herndaughter, with whom she has a stormynlove-hate relationship, she developsnluxurious resort hotels in Acapulco.nHer erstwhile servant, Gallo Carrizo,nmaster of the Mexican style of briberynand double-dealing, ultimately becomesna tycoon and governor of anMexican state. His nephew and Maureen’sndaughter marry to form another ofnthe passionate but perverted sexual relationshipsnthat characterize the novel.nBrawley spent his youth as an agriculturalnworker in California, a railroadnswitchman, and a guard at San Quentinnprison and has lived for extended periodsnin Mexico and Argentina. He cramsnin an appeal to many interests: Mexicannhistory, family saga, sex (mostly kinky),nviolence (in gruesome detail), lives ofnthe wealthy and powerful, primitivenIndian customs and beliefs, internationalndrug smuggling, and the cause ofnthe oppressed. He is a good storytellernand provides abundant variety in characternand incident. But no importantnthemes are developed in a consistent,npenetrating, or significant way. Earlyninto the novel, one realizes with ansinking feeling that the idosyncratic andnoften engaging characters, the singularnincidents, the abundant and quirky sexnare there as ends in themselves and willnnot work together to shape or illuminatenour vision of human experience. Thenultimate effect is a titillation of ournshallower curiosities. ccnStephen L. Tanner is professor ofnEnglish at Brigham Young University.n^^W-nStar of Davidnby Paul SalstromnJehuda Reinharz: Chaim Weizmann:nThe Making of a Zionist Leader, OxfordnUniversity Press; New York;n$29.95.nAs Israel becomes increasingly importantnin world affairs, Jews and non-Jewsnalike increasingly want to understandnthe origins of the Israeli state and of thenZionist movement. This is volume onenof the first scholarly biography ofnChaim Weizmann. It provides a thoroughlynresearched account of how anRussian Jew from the Pale of Settlementncame to be, by age 40 (whennWorld War I began and this volume ofnthe biography ends), a leading Zionistnand the possessor of the patent forna crucial process in manufacturingnexplosives.nWeizmann did not exactly trade hisnpatent for the Balfour Declaration,nwhich in 1918 promised British helpntoward making Palestine “a nationalnhome for the Jewish people.” Immediatelynafter World War I erupted, Weizmannngave his patent to the Britishngovernment gratis. By that time he hadnlived in England for 10 years and been anBritish subject for four years. In I9I6,nwhen Lloyd George became primenminister, Weizmann was appointed directornof naval laboratories. But Weizmannndid wring every advantage hencould for Zionism from his crucialnrole as a munitions chemist. Not onlynthe Balfour Declaration but the eventualncreation of Israel probably owesnmore to Weizmann than has beennacknowledged.nnnJehuda Reinharz does not paint annespecially flattering portrait of thenyoung Weizmann, though, showing repeatedlynhow Weizmann allowed hisnrelations with Theodore Herzl, MenahemnUssishkin, and other leading Zionistnleaders to be governed by sheernopportunism and transparent obsequiousness.nStfll, most readers will admirenWeizmann’s tenacious perseverancenduring his formative years. Weizmannnwas far from stable in his emotional life,nyet he was able to restrain his impulsesnand keep a cool head. In political dealingsnhe was always patient but alsonalways watchful, ready to exploit anynopening. Even before opposing Herzl’snproposal in 1903 for a Jewish state innAfrica, Weizmann led a faction opposednto Herzl’s elitist way of operatingn— a “Democratic Faction” throughnwhich Weizmann, Martin Buber, andna few others tried to control Herzl’snsecret negotiations with the OttomannSultan. The “Democratic Faction”nfaded to control Herzl, but it did set anprecedent for the creation of factionsnand subfactions within the World ZionistnOrganization—some of which almostndrove Weizmann to distractionnduring his own tenure as president ofnthe WZO (I920-I93I and 1935-1946).nProfessor Reinharz offers a completenand balanced representation of all aspectsnof his subject’s life, even whenntreating such delicate matters as Weizmann’sntreatment of his first fiancee,nSophia Getzova, with whom he hadnintimate relations on the understandingnthey would be married but whom henabruptly dropped when the more beautifulnVera Khatzman crossed his path.nThis incident, like others, is presentednstarkly and yet without judgmentalncommentary. Many readers will probablynempathize with Weizmannnand Vera, for their long courtship (conductednlargely by mail) is treatednwith restrained sensitivity. Reinharznresists the temptation of psychohistorynthroughout.nThe author’s primary focus remainsnpolitical, however. Only his mastery ofnZionist history makes possible a biographynso fully documented, so fully to thenpoint. Master of a lucid prose, Reinharznrelates the story of Zionism’s strugglingnadolescence before World War I in anstyle both engaging and thoroughlynreadable. Readers will finish the booknlooking forward to the volumes yet toncome. ccnPaul Salstrom teaches history atnBrandeis University.n