No Room for Small Dreams: Courage, Imagination, and the Making of Modern Israel (Hardcover)
Shimon Peres, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize and one of the towering figures of the twentieth century, caps his legacy with this final book, completed shortly before his death—a majestic, intimate, and personal exploration of modern Israel’s history and values that provides invaluable insights for its future.
In 1934, eleven-year-old Shimon Peres emigrated to the land of Israel from his native Poland, leaving behind an extended family who would later be murdered in the Holocaust. Few back then would have predicted that this young man would eventually become one of the towering figures of the twentieth century. Peres would indeed go on to serve the new state as prime minister, president, foreign minister, and the head of several other ministries. He was central to the establishment of the Israeli Defense Forces and the defense industry that would provide the young state with a robust deterrent power. He was crucial to launching Israel’s nuclear energy program and to the creation of its high-tech “Start-up Nation” revolution. His refusal to surrender to conventional wisdom and political norms helped save the Israeli economy and prompted some of the most daring military operations in history, among them the legendary Operation Entebbe. And yet, as important as his role in creating and deploying Israel’s armed forces was, his stunning transition from hawk to dove—with its accompanying unwavering commitment to peace—made him one of the globe’s most recognized, honored, and admired statesmen.
In this, his final work, finished only weeks before his passing, Peres offers a long-awaited examination of the crucial turning points in Israeli history through the prism of having been a decision maker and eyewitness. Told with the frankness of someone aware this would likely be his final statement, No Room for Small Dreams spans decades and events, but as much as it is about what happened, it is about why it happened. Examining pivotal moments in Israel’s rise, Peres explores what makes for a great leader, how to make hard choices in a climate of uncertainty and distress, the challenges of balancing principles with policies, and the liberating nature of imagination and unpredicted innovation. In doing so, he not only charts a better path forward for his beloved country but provides deep and universal wisdom for younger generations who seek to lead—be it in politics, business, or the broader service of making our planet a safer, more peaceful, and just place.
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Shimon Peres ( Hebrew: שמעון פרס; born Szymon Perski; August 2, 1923 – September 28, 2016) was a Polish-born Israeli statesman. He was the ninth President of Israel, serving from 2007 to 2014. Peres served twice as the Prime Minister of Israel and twice as Interim Prime Minister, and he was a member of 12 cabinets in a political career spanning over 66 years. Peres was elected to the Knesset in November 1959 and, except for a three-month-long hiatus in early 2006, served continuously until 2007, when he became President, serving in the role for another 7 years. At the time of his retirement in 2014, he was the world's oldest head of state. He was considered the last link to Israel's founding generation.
From a young age, he was renowned for his oratorical brilliance. He began his over 66 year-long political career in the late 1940s, holding several diplomatic and military positions during and directly after Israel's War of Independence. His first high-level government position was as Deputy Director-General of Defense in 1952 which he attained at the age of 28, and Director-General from 1953 until 1959. In the 1950s, he took part in negotiations on the Protocol of Sèvres described by British Prime Minister Anthony Eden as the "highest form of statesmanship." Peres won the 1994 Nobel Peace Prize together with Yitzhak Rabin and Yasser Arafat for the peace talks that he participated in as Israeli Foreign Minister, producing the Oslo Accords. During his career, he represented five political parties in the Knesset: Mapai, Rafi, the Alignment, Labor and Kadima, and led Alignment and Labor. In his private life, he was a poet, writing stanzas during cabinet meetings, some of which would later be turned into songs. As a result of his deep literary interests, he could quote from Old Testament prophets, French literature and Chinese philosophy with equal ease.
Following a massive stroke, Peres died after two weeks of hospitalization at the Sheba medical center near Tel-Aviv on September 28, 2016.