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From Beirut to Jerusalem [Paperback]

Thomas L. Friedman
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (128 customer reviews)

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Book Description

July 15 1990
Winner of the 1989 National Book Award for nonfiction, this extraordinary bestseller is still the most incisive, thought-provoking book ever written about the Middle East. Thomas L. Friedman, twice winner of the Pulitzer Prize for international reporting, and now the Foreign Affairs columnist on the op-ed page of the New York Times, drew on his ten years in the Middle East to write a book that The Wall Street Journal called "a sparkling intellectual guidebook... an engrossing journey not to be missed." Now with a new chapter that brings the ever-changing history of the conflict in the Middle East up to date, this seminal historical work reaffirms both its timeliness and its timelessness. "If you're only going to read one book on the Middle East, this is it." -- Seymour Hersh. "From Beirut To Jerusalem is the most intelligent and comprehensive account one is likely to read." -- New York Times Book Review.

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From Publishers Weekly

"Friedman, who twice garnered the Pulitzer as a New York Times correspondent in Lebanon and Israel, further delineates the two countries in this provocative, absorbing memoir cum political and social analysis," commented PW. The work won the National Book Award.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

There have been any number of books that have worked hard at interpreting the melange called the Middle East. This one, however, makes a difference because it's so well written and captures the psychological mannerisms of the people of Lebanon and Israel--the first step to understanding some of the mysterious "why" that seems to elude the American public and government. Friedman's credentials are impressive: he spent six years of journalistic service for the New York Times in Beirut and Jerusalem, has won two Pulitzer prizes, and is now the Times 's chief diplomatic correspondent. His writing is vastly descriptive, incredibly illuminating, very educational, and marvelously persuasive. His advice to U.S. diplomats is that since "Middle East diplomacy is a contact sport," they must bargain as grocers, or, in other words, realize that everything has a price and the sale can always be made with enough hard work. This title is highly recommended for all libraries. See also Sandra Mackey's Lebanon: Death of a Nation , reviewed below.
- Ed. -- David P. Snider, Casa Grande P.L., Ariz.
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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First Sentence
In June 1979, my wife, Ann, and I boarded a red-and-white Middle East Airlines 707 in Geneva for the four-hour flight to Beirut. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THE BEST introduction to the middle east June 19 2004
As one of the first books I read about Middle East, and its
conflicts, I RECOMMEND this book STRONGLY for everyone: those that
are new to the region, needing an introduction to the Middle East,
as well as those who want to refresh their knowledge of the region
and the various forms of conflict so common there.
The Middle East can be a confusing place but Friedman sorts it out
for you. FRIEDMAN IS SUCH A TERRIFIC WRITER he made me feel
confident in my new found knowledge, relieved to have his insight
as my foundation, and so wanting to learn more about the entire
I read "From Beirut to Jerusalem" for the first time just before
the first Gulf War; now it is my touchstone, reading parts, or
all of it, again when things over there get crazier.
While Friedman focuses on Lebanon and Israel in this book, he
really is providing you with an understanding of the whole
framework of the Middle East and its conflicts: between countries,
within countries, amongst religions, between peoples of different
ethnic, cultural or racial backgrounds.
Warring religious conflicts within Lebanon may remind you of the
religious tensions between the Sunnis of northern Iraq and the
Shi'ia of south. Syria's late Assad's massive killing of his own
people will immediately remind you of the murder by Saddam Huessin
of the Kurds in northern Iraq.
Even if Israel didn't exist, many of these conflicts would have
happened anyway...and will continue to happen.
Now the fastest growing portion of the Arab and Muslim populations
are the school-aged and young adults. Most have limited
educations and little in the way of meaningful employment to look
forward to.
Read more ›
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An essential read... March 22 2007
As a journalist Mr Friedman is at its very best when he reports the historical facts, puts them in perspective and analyses them. And reporting the facts is what he does in the first part of this book, Beirut. This is the best part hands down. His analysis is profound, true, and it gives a singular and personal lighting of the civil war in Lebanon and the Israeli invasion.
However, Mr Friedman, as a sociologist, isn't nearly as good (or just maybe his analysis has lost its relevance in the 20-odd years since the book was first published). The Jerusalem part is far too convoluted and sometimes downright obscure in its multi-layered division of the Israeli society.
Also Mr Friedman is a very good writer with a wit all its own. But at times the metaphors he uses are too cute for their own good and the author spends far too much time (his and ours) justifying their pertinence. The book is an impressionist analysis, sort of a 600 pages op-ed supported by impressions, but short on statistical data.
Still a great and essential read.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars great book June 12 2004
I grew up in Beirut; I found this book very insightful. I can say that this book pretty much reflects what really happened in Beirut. If you want an objective view, this book is a must read. I recommend this book to anyone who wants to understand more about what the real situation is like in Palestine and Israel; And what took place in Beirut.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A classic! March 28 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
A must for anyone who wants to attempt to understand an area that is not easily understood. Friedman's firsthand experiences are exceptionally readable, and insightful. Better than a university course.
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5.0 out of 5 stars this book has all my recommendations July 4 2013
By Diego
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
everybody should read this book. Is so interesting ( even wrote by a Jude ) and the writer knows what is taking about. His point of view, his way to describe, very cleaver. I am a lot more prepare to understand the world after this piece of evidence from Mr. Friedman.
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Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Most thorough description of the ongoing battle and confusion in the middle east - I learned the struggle that has been going on for centuries is still there. It will not be resolved until both sides truly seek peace and pursue it, respecting the rights of the other.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Best but not the Only Book to Read Now Jan. 10 2001
Like so many the world over, I love this book and recommend it highly. It is however far from the Only book to read. Following Friedman are other books I find, if not as panoramic and if not as in-genius, important and wonderful. In no particular order, but all less well known, they concern the same turf but either from a slightly different angle or from a later date: Danny Rubinstein's "The People of Nowhere", Amira Hass' "Drinking the Sea at Gaza" and Wendy Orange's "Coming Home to Jerusalem." With these four books read altogether one begins to see with real clarity. Connect the dots.
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7 of 11 people found the following review helpful
I know this is a popular book. When I lecture on the Middle East, everyone seems to have read it. There are some good parts -- such as the author's description of his personal experience in Lebanon. It's his historical analysis that's the problem. He argues at one point that you can understand Hafez Assad's seige of Hama (February 1982) by understanding the Umayyid Dynasty (beginning in the 8th century). This is classic Western bias. No one would say you could understand (insert modern Western massacre here, say Mai Lai) by understanding (insert ancient Western history here, say the Crusades). And yet Friedman is basically saying that Arabs haven't changed in a millenia. While this is obviously not true, (and couldn't possibly be true of anyone) it reveals an underlying and subtle racism -- or just abject stupidity. There are plenty of better books, and this shows me that being an easy read will beat being responsible any day.
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1.0 out of 5 stars Rambo's analysis
No matter how "exciting" this book may be to read (and not to base our opinions upon), just like Hollywood's Rambo, where Stalone knows everything about his enemy and... Read more
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Ultimate Guide to the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict
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4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting
An interesting chronology and analysis of a journalist's decade long stay in Lebanon and Jerusalem. I learned a lot about the two countries and the issues that divide them. Read more
Published on April 10 2004 by J. Jacobs
5.0 out of 5 stars A Frightening Firsthand Of The Middle East Conflict
Both a personal memoir and treatise on the Middle Eastern conflict, From Beirut To Jerusalem manages to excel in both areas.
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Published on March 27 2004 by David J. Gutowski
3.0 out of 5 stars objective reporting only gets you so far
There is a strain of thought among journalists, to which Friedman unfortuantely succumbs, which says that one must at all costs be objective. Read more
Published on Feb. 18 2004 by D. Friedman
5.0 out of 5 stars It was important to feel that Israel was right
In the 1980's Friedman could not feel that the Israeli incursion into Lebanon was sound policy. He wrote the articles for THE NEW YORK TIMES detailing the massacres in... Read more
Published on Feb. 7 2004 by Mary E. Sibley
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