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How to Cure a Fanatic [Paperback]

Amos Oz

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Book Description

Sept. 19 2010 9780691148632 978-0691148632 Reprint

Internationally acclaimed novelist Amos Oz grew up in war-torn Jerusalem, where as a boy he witnessed firsthand the poisonous consequences of fanaticism. In two concise, powerful essays, the award-winning author offers unique insight into the true nature of extremism and proposes a reasoned and respectful approach to resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He also comments on related issues--the Gaza pullout, Yasser Arafat's death, and the war in Iraq--in an extended interview at the end of the book.

The brilliant clarity of these essays, coupled with Oz's ironic sense of humor in illuminating the serious, breathes new life into this old debate. Oz argues that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is not a war of religion or cultures or traditions, but rather a real estate dispute--one that will be resolved not by greater understanding, but by painful compromise.

Fresh, insightful, and inspiring, How to Cure a Fanatic brings a new voice of sanity to the cacophony on Israeli-Palestinian relations--a voice no one can afford to ignore.


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From Publishers Weekly

Oz, one of Israel's foremost novelists and also a leader in the peace movement, sets up opposite poles—pragmatism and fanaticism—in the two essays in this thin (both in size and content) volume. Pragmatism is Oz's path to peace between Israelis and Palestinians. Writing in ardent, articulate and informal prose (the essays originated as lectures), Oz (A Tale of Love and Darkness) writes that this conflict is a straightforward, though intense, battle over real estate in which both sides have legitimate claims to one tiny piece of land. And the necessary compromise—in the form of two states, "divided roughly according to demographic realities"—will be deeply painful for both, the loss of land a kind of amputation, in Oz's words. Also crucial to peace, in Oz's view, is providing homes and jobs for the residents of the squalid Palestinian refugee camps. But how to convince the anti-compromise fanatics on both sides? On this score, Oz is less satisfying, suggesting the remedial value of humor and imagination (i.e., learning to really see the other). The book's third part, an interview with Princeton University Press's Brigitta van Rheinberg, is largely redundant, leaving this feeling more like a padded pamphlet than a book, despite the virtues of Oz's perspective. (Mar.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Review

"This little volume (4" x 6") . . . is lucid, rational, and constructive. . . . This small book embodies so much realism and optimism."--Elizabeth R. Hayford, Library Journal

"The burning issues of the Arab-Israeli dispute are grist for Israeli novelist Amos Oz's slim volume, How to Cure a Fanatic, which is never less than thought-provoking."--Canadian Jewish News

"Amos Oz sets out to wrest the conflict from its ideological and religious participants, from those on both sides whose symbiotic desire to elevate or sanctify the conflict renders it ever more immune to reasonable resolution. This is pursued in two short, gently-crafted essays."--Ben Harris, Jewish Journal

"This pocket-size book is an important read. Whether you want to agree with him or rail against him, you can't ignore Oz."--Suzi Brozman, Atlanta Jewish Times

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.5 out of 5 stars  11 reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Short but very insightful March 26 2008
By Alma Lavandeery - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Amos Oz's two short essays are full of valuabe insights into the mindset of a fanatic in general, as well as into just and effective ways to deal with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Coming from an insider in every sense of the word, it is very refreshing to read his opinion that the conflict "is not a religious war, although the fanatics on both sides are trying very hard to turn it into one" but simply a "real-estate dispute". Oz is able to put things into perspective without resorting to hiding behind obscure depictions of the conflict as predominantly a clash of religions/civilizations, or worse, of vile anti-semitism. His message is all the more valuable because he is an insider.

His ideas about the necessity of injecting imagination, as well as a sense of humor, in the mind of a fanatic, provide an interesting, and possibly effective way of loosening up the rigid mould of a fanatic mind. His "Order of the teaspoon" is a fascinating concept (I'm in), but I won't elaborate on it so you'd find out for yourselves!

If only politicians would consult with novelists like Oz, our world would be a much, much better place!
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars must read March 23 2008
By Donald L. Fink - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Whoever has followed the Israeli-Palestinian agonies must read this realistic and informed view of what must be done. His writing , as always, is lucid, expressive, and deep.
14 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great deal of wisdom in a very small package. March 4 2006
By Philip S. Griffey - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I usually do not find books written by Israelis or Palestinians about past or present events in the land whose very name is a matter of perspective and politics to be very interesting or enlightening. The authors usually either have an agenda or are engaging in pure propaganda. This book (along with David Grossman's "Death as a Way of Life") is a rare exception.

In lucid, eloquent and sensitive language, Oz presents the situation and the necessary cures not for Israelis, not for Palestinians, but for human beings. If you do not like this book, you are probably a fanatic, and not subject to logical persuasion.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Powerful ideas in a very small book. March 14 2013
By Blanziflor - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Although the author's focus is on Israel and Palestine, the ideas he brings out have much broader application, to our own lives as well as to bigger conflicts. His description of fanatics could be of American parents or husbands or wives or political commentators. Everyone should read this book!
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars EXCELLENT BOOK Jan. 14 2012
By AG - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Love the writings of Amos Oz.
This book is probably the one I liked best.
It is a small book, and makes very easy reading.
I believe Mr. Oz is very naive when he thinks they can really have Peace in the Middle East. He is overly optimistic in my opinion.
However I recommend this book.
Hope every Israeli and Arab would read this book!

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