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My Promised Land: The Triumph and Tragedy of Israel Hardcover – Nov 19 2013


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Spiegel & Grau (Nov. 19 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385521707
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385521703
  • Product Dimensions: 24.4 x 16.7 x 3.2 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 771 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #939 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By lexie2 on Jan. 25 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
What an excellent book! Ari Shavit is an Israeli in love with Israel who nevertheless can hold its discordant realities in his heart. He tries to hold the Palestinian realities in his heart, too. This is so rare and so beautiful when accomplished. Not that this is an easy book to read. It is emotionally very hard to hold. I had to put it down frequently, but it always pulled me back with its openness and integrity. This is writing which comes, not from the head, but from the soul.

On the practical level, this book is as readable as a novel. Shavit brings his material alive by introducing to us, in their own voices gleaned from interviews, a series of characters who played large and small parts in his story. These voices reach back to the founding events, and forward into the dance halls of the youth of Tel Aviv. These voices give the book immediacy authenticity and impact.

A theme which emerged for me was that of 'identity'. The surprising aspect of this is that it was an issue Zionists shared with many peoples in the late 1800s. Many national revolutionary movements were brewing, especially in Europe, at that time. The rejection of the past and single minded determination to create a new order which characterized the early kibbutz settlers reminded me forcefully of the Bolshevik revolutionary spirit. I felt, paradoxically, that the Zionist movement was very much a part of the society it was leaving. The early settlers brought their complex identities with them. It is our dilemma, too. How can we hold both the past and the present. How do we find an identity which is not made by rejecting something else? Who are we as we move farther and farther from our parents' home, our ethnic roots, our traditional alliances?

This book has given me a nuanced view of Israel and the Middle East situation, and has made me think big thoughts. For both, I thank Ari Shavit.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Coscob Quaker on Jan. 18 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The tragedy of the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians is recounted by a native Israeali who holds no punches when describing the atrocities engaged in by both Israelis and Palestinians.
The background of Fear of Annihilation on the part of the Jews, and of Suffering through being Oppressed on the part of the Palestinians is laid out. Neither nation can realize all their hopes. Can they agree to exist together with partial goals achieved by each? I have not finished the book - half-way through -- it is too depressing to read it all without a break. But I am hopeful this author or if not he, Secretary Kerry will point to a way out.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Dar Blue on Dec 24 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I recommend this book to anyone wanting to know know more about Israel and it's origins--good and bad. This is a monument to the Zionist endeavour but also a cry for peace for all the peoples in Israel and Palestine. Deeply discomforting and hopeful at the same time. It's puts a very human face to a complex region of the world.
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This book opened my eyes to the root of all the problems in Israel and the surrounding lands. I really enjoyed it and would highly recommend it to anyone interested in history and current affairs.
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By spider queen on July 1 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Clear and articulate. A thorough, honest, and sound explication of the situation that Israel and Palestine are in today.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Air Shavit has reviewed the impetuous history of the Jewish State though the eyes of many characters from every sphere of life and from every political perspective. The book is balanced and is an eye opener to those who, like myself, care deeply about the state. It does cry out to us to understand and empathise with the Palestinian people while at the same time trumpeting the achievements of this unique and crazy country
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This is one the best analyses I have read of the complicated and difficult situation in the middle east. I heartily recommend it to anyone who cares about both the Israelis and the Palestinians. It is extremely balanced and told in a narrative that is easy to read if not easy to accept.
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A balanced view of the history of Israel; this book provided many details of
early days of which I was unaware. More importantly, the book demonstrates why the issues surrounding peace
are so complex.
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