Stevan Hobfoll explores our family roots in his new book

Psychologist Stevan Hobfoll knows a thing or two about war.

A former officer in the Israel Defense Forces, he has spent the past few decades advising on terrorism and traumatic stress. He has written and edited more than 200 publications on the subjects.

Now, Dr Hobfoll, 59, has released his first work of fiction, The Imperfect Guardian, an historical novel set in Eastern Europe during WWI.

The adventure story is based loosely on his grandfather's early years in Poland and Russia between 1906 and 1921.

Mr Hobfoll, who lives in Chicago, says the book will particularly appeal to British Jews. He tells People: "It's about Jews and their families throughout the world.

"Ninety per cent of the parents and grandparents of UK Jews came in droves from Eastern Europe after WW1. They didn't start in Hampstead Heath."

Dr Hobfoll, who has lived in the UK and Israel, says: "The story is about how what was going on at that time has produced so much of what we consider to be our world. It's a fascinating period, which helps us to understand where we are at. So often we are controlled by the circumstances that surround us." He adds: "History has tried to rewrite Jewish life as being pious and religious. But Jews were involved in every part of the world in which they lived; as revolutionary leaders, scoundrels, soldiers, intellectuals, peddlers, gangsters, horse traders and doctors."

He says the book also seeks to understand men "and the responsibility placed on them as 'imperfect guardians'."

Previous books by Dr Hobfoll include The Ecology of Stress, Stress Culture and Community and Work Won't Love You Back: The Dual Career Couple's Survival.

    Last updated: 11:02am, February 17 2011