“A language is not just a medium for sharing our thoughts, it’s also a signal of who we are. Here, Sherry Sufi deeply explores a use of language that every historian appreciates: nationalist movements use a common language, invented if necessary, to forge diverse people into a single nation-state.”
Steven Pinker, Johnstone Professor of Psychology, Harvard University, and the author of ‘Enlightenment Now’.
“A perceptive analysis of nationalisms past and present. Sherry Sufi presents an engaging comparison of the use of language by different nationalist movements.”
Tony Abbott, 28th Prime Minister of Australia.
“At a time when several positive new studies about nationalism and politics have emerged to contest the dominant but arcane academic terrain of postmodernist theory, Sherry Sufi has written a refreshing and invigorating book that sheds much-needed illumination on the relationship of language to national identity and how the two complement one another. His evidence comes from a range of empirical case studies that he deploys with care. His scholarship is impeccable and his writing is thankfully clear. Highly recommended.”
Keith Windschuttle, Editor-in-Chief, ‘Quadrant’.
“Sherry Sufi has skilfully traced the importance of language over the centuries as a determining factor, beyond ethnicity and religion, as to whether different communities come together as nations; or whether they stay apart or separate, often in conflict. His observations are as relevant to the global and regional politics of today as they were to the historical events he describes.”
Colin Barnett, 29th Premier of Western Australia.
“A useful and detailed historical review of the fascinating interaction between the Hebrew language and Jewish nationalism from biblical times and up to the emergence of Modern Zionism.”
Dr Colin Rubenstein, Executive Director, Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council (AIJAC).
“This book delivers a comprehensive and very well researched comparative analysis of common history-and-language as the building blocks of the successful modern nation state. Through the examination of three very different case studies, Israel, Pakistan and the Soviet Union, Sherry Sufi shows convincingly how both ingredients, common history and language, are essential for the formation of a cohesive and successful nation state. Sufi provides a theoretical framework for the observation, analysis and measurement of the relative cohesion and stability of other nation states, a most important contribution to available scholarship.”
Dr Asher Susser, Professor Emeritus of Middle Eastern History, Tel Aviv University, Israel.
“This is the first thorough and comprehensive attempt to critically review the complex ethno-religious and multi-linguistic landscape of the Soviet Union in many years. Sherry Sufi has managed to highlight both the successes and major challenges for Soviet leadership in developing multinational and multicultural strategies aimed at consolidating Soviet society along with the reasons why it ultimately failed to prevail.”
Dr Alexey D Muraviev, Associate Professor of National Security and Strategic Studies, Curtin University, and Australia’s leading expert on Russian strategic affairs.
“Based on meticulous research, Sherry Sufi offers a unique and original contribution to the study of the rise of Israel and Zionist ideology. He aptly claims that language, specifically the revival of the Hebrew language, played a crucial role in the creation of the Jewish state. This book will surely be a valuable source for scholars and students alike.”
Dr Meron Medzini, Professor Emeritus of Israeli Studies, Rothberg International School, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and former spokesman to Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir.
“A succinct analysis of the linguistic factors that put West and East Pakistan on a collision course, ultimately leading to the establishment of Bangladesh. A must-read for those curious about the history and politics of the Subcontinent.”
Dr Samir Ranjan Chatterjee, Professor Emeritus of Asian Studies, Asia Business Centre, Curtin University.
“Hebrew is a Northwest Semitic language native to Israel, which first emerged in the late Bronze Age period more than 3000 years ago, even before the rise to prominence of the ancient Israelite kingdoms. The revival of Hebrew as the vernacular of the Jewish people in modern Israel is a fascinating story, intimately related to the rebirth of Jewish national sovereignty and political independence in the Jewish homeland. Sherry Sufi explores the connection between the two, demonstrating how the adoption of modern Hebrew as the official language of the State of Israel has contributed to the vitality of the Jewish polity and the Jewish people world-wide. For the Jewish people, Hebrew is no longer simply the language of prayer, or of classical medieval literature, or of ancient religious texts, but is once again the language of daily life in Israel.”
Julie Nathan, Research Director, Executive Council of Australian Jewry (ECAJ).
“Dr Sufi’s treatise on the primacy of language in the historical concept of nation and the contemporary construct of the nation-state offers a unique, incisive and timely contribution to the current discourse on nationalism. Whereas that discussion is often predicated on emotive tropes emanating from both sides of the political spectrum, Sufi’s extensive research presents a more rational approach that transcends the partisan cacophony frequently accompanying this topic. The accounts of how language featured in the establishment of Israel, the liberation of Bangladesh and the fall of the Soviet Union make for a captivating, engaging and stimulating read.”
Dr Moshe Yehuda Bernstein, Adjunct Research Fellow, Faculty of Humanities, Curtin University, and former Director of Jewish Studies, Carmel School.