Restoring the Jews to Their Homeland: Nineteen Centuries in the Quest for Zion highlights some of the personalities, movements, and events on the long road that led to the most recent Zionist activity and the State of Israel. This book reaches all the way back to the first millennium C.E., when the Jews were defeated by Rome and lost control of their ancient kingdom. Included are studies of such nationalists as Simeon Bar Kochba, who led an unsuccessful but highly influential revolt against the Romans, and other, lesser known persons and sects who fought to retain control of the Jewish homeland. In response to the loss of political autonomy, Jewish theology quickly equated the coming of the Messiah with the return of the Jews to the land of Israel. Shabbetai Zevi, a self-proclaimed Messiah, roused the hopes of exiled European Jews that their return to Israel was immiment. Others - from early hasidim who recounted legends about the Baal Shem Tov's unsuccessful attempts to emigrate, to the wealthy Jews of Leghorn, Italy, who attempted to buy Jerusalem from its Turkish rulers - prayed and worked for the "ingathering of the exiles" from locations throughout the Middle East and Europe. A formative Zionist work, Rome and Jerusalem by Moses Hess, is revealed as a crucial starting point in modern Zionism, although the work was not popular in its own time. Also introduced is Ahad Ha-Am, the influential writer who advocated that a Jewish spiritual and national consciousness was necessary before a political state could become a reality. These and many other precursors to the contemporary Zionist movement are revealed and explained in this thorough history of the relationship between Jews andIsrael.