The Revolt

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First US edition

The Revolt (also published as Revolt, The Revolt: Inside Story of the Irgun and The Revolt: the Dramatic Inside Story of the Irgun) is a book about the militant Zionist organization Irgun Zvai Leumi, by one of its principal leaders, Menachem Begin. In Israel, the organization is commonly called Etzel, based on its Hebrew acronym.

The book traces the development of the Irgun from its early days in the 1930s, through its years of violent struggle in the Palestine Mandate against both British rule (the "revolt" of the title) and Arab opposition, to the outbreak of the Israeli War of Independence in 1948. The book is also part autobiographical, tracing Begin's own political development.

First published in English in 1951 by W. H. Allen in the UK and Henry Schuman in the US, the book has gone through many editions and reprints, with the latest edition published in 2002.

The political scientist John Bowyer Bell who studied both the Irgun and the Irish Republican Army recalled that many of the IRA men whom he interviewed in the 1960s had read The Revolt and admired it as a manual of guerrilla warfare.[1] It was also studied by African National Congress Nelson Mandela after he went underground in 1960, and credited it as being among the books he used a guide in planning the ANC's guerrilla campaign against the apartheid government of South Africa.[2]


  1. ^ "During the course of his research he discovered that the Irgun saw the Irish War of Independence as a role model, and he began to explore the history of the IRA as background. (He would later get to know IRA men who studied Menachem Begin's memoir The Revolt as a manual of guerrilla warfare.)"
  2. ^ Rocker, Simon (2012-05-17). "How Israel's 1948 struggle inspired Nelson Mandela". The Jewish Chronicle. Retrieved 30 March 2013.