“From the first US ambassador, a long-awaited revelatory and virtually day-to-day account of modern Israel’s birth in the midst of storm, blood, and fire. James G. McDonald was an American patriot who took part in the great drama prompted by the intensification of the plight of European Jewish refugees. A witness and participant who was wise and perceptive, a lover of mankind, a lover of the Jewish people, and a lover of Israel, he had walked alongside those who survived the Holocaust and had limped beaten and weary, downtrodden and ravaged, into displaced persons camps after World War II. Here he chronicles their initial return to their historical homeland, their assembly within it, and their fight for it. McDonald sought to convince Washington to ensure Israel’s fortification and to support its development as the strategic stronghold of the democratic world in the Middle East. It is difficult not to feel awed by what this generous diary reveals on major policy issues, with unique perspectives on Truman, Bevin, Stalin, Pope Pius XII, Ben-Gurion, and many others in the opening phase of the Cold War in the Middle East. It also provides hundreds of observations of everyday life amidst mass Aliyah, economic development, religious controversy, and much much more. This volume is a celebration for everyone who wishes to know the intimate context of today's Middle East and is as compelling and relevant as tomorrow's newspapers.”
— Tuvia Friling, former Chief Archivist of the State of Israel
“McDonald probably did more than any American in history to establish the enduring close ties between the Israel and the United States, and he did so against unremitting opposition from powerful forces in the U.S. government. His diary is a treasure trove of vignettes and observations which bring vividly to life an exciting and perilous time in the history of both countries. Historians will be poring through it for years to come, but so should policymakers, since many of the issues McDonald dealt with are still alive today. Those who are simply interested in Israel, and in America’s role in that nation’s founding, will find these pages an endless source of fascination and delight.”
— Robert Kagan, Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution and author of The World America Made
“As with previous volumes, the scholarship underpinning these edited diaries is solid and meticulous. . . . Although there are no game-changing revelations in this hefty volume, scholars will find in its pages new detail, depth, and nuance, enhancing their understanding of American and Israeli diplomatic manoeuvering during this formative period.
— Middle East Journal
“[T]his fascinating volume provides a wealth of information and insights about the forging of the American-Israeli "special relationship" and the foreign-policy deliberations inside the Truman administration about the Middle East. ”
“This volume is a celebration for the historian, the sociologist, the researcher of political science, and everyone else who wishes to know the intimate context of today's Middle East and is as compelling and relevant as tomorrow's newspapers.
— Israel Book Review
“The editors have done an outstanding job in sifting through the diaries and countless documents that McDonald preserved regarding his public service.”
— Middle East Quarterly
"The two volumes reviewed here, To the Gates of Jerusalem and Envoy to the Promised Land, record McDonald's relationship with Truman and his work promoting the Zionist cause. The editors have done an outstanding job in sifting through the diaries and countless documents that McDonald preserved regarding his public service."”
— Middle East Forum