Chaim Topol’s “Topol by Topol”

In Chaim Topol’s engaging autobiography “Topol by Topol” we are privileged to enter into the life of a man born in Israel before it was Israel. Topol was raised in Tel Aviv, the son of parents who had emigrated from Poland and who struggled to make ends meet and raise a son and two daughters. Topol’s writing is so clear and evocative that the smell of the cholent (a type of stew) and the sound of Hebrew children playing and adults arguing is as if one were there.

He takes us from his humble beginnings in the Florentine Quarter of Tel Aviv, through his Army experiences, his career, and the special uniqueness of life as an Israeli and a Jew. He treats everyone with the same warmth and attention, from his friends in his early touring group in Lanakat Hanahal, to international names such as David Niven and David Ben Gurion.

Topol’s narrative is fresh and authentic, and is an enjoyable read for anyone interested in a good story. The book is enhanced by Topol’s line drawings throughout.

Note that I purchased my copy of the book for perhaps $14 total from an English bookseller, via


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