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.
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. Gaining access to Morton’s private archive and interviews with witnesses, Bishop relates a dramatic story that resonates to this very day in one of the world’s most conflicted regions.
“Bishop’s book has all the suspense and detail of a good novel.”—Boston Globe
“Mr. Bishop’s depiction of Stern’s downfall is masterful.”—The Economist