Tackling the history of the Jews in Palestine from a new and unusual angle, Haim Katz explores Jewish society in Eretz Israel in the 19th century as it is reflected in the legal minutia of every day life: verdicts and decisions; Halakhic edicts; and, Rabbinical letters as well as books that emanated from the nascent printing industry of Jewish society in Palestine at that time. Katz divides his book into three different courses of societal development. First is the spiritual struggle of Jewish society grappling with two opposing Messianic philosophies, the shadow of active and sometime successful missionaries, and the bitter internal conflict relating to modern education. The material struggle probes the demographics of Jewish society, its land purchases and trade, the rampant poverty of the Jews in Palestine, the inequitable Halukkah system, and the discord this engendered. Finally, Katz examines the social struggle and the conflict between Jews and Gentiles, Sephardim and Ashkenazim, and the general intra-communal tensions of a small society of opinionated people.