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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THE BEST introduction to the middle east
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...
Published on June 19 2004 by ROZ mandelcorn

versus
7 of 11 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Irresponsible history - Should be able to give it no stars
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...
Published on May 7 2004 by Arnold Irving


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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
By 
ROZ mandelcorn (LA, CA United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: From Beirut to Jerusalem (Paperback)
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
region.
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. Is it therefore any surprise some of them are so very
frustrated, dissatisfied and unhappy they would become militant
or terrorists.
Although Israel has done some good things for the peoples of the
West Bank, it is unfortunately outweighed by the bad its done there and in Gaza.
And with Israel's peoples being so different than most of the
Middle East and carrying Mohammed's Qu'ran stories of the Jews'
friendship and then perceived betrayal of Mohammed over 700 years
ago, one can see why attacking Israel is a whole lot easier for
these terrorists than challenging the regimes they live under for
better opportunities.
I wish all Americans, at least, would read this book so they
would be better versed in what happens in the rest of the world.
This is a GREAT BOOK.
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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
By 
richard tremblay (montréal, canada) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: From Beirut to Jerusalem (Paperback)
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
This review is from: From Beirut to Jerusalem (Paperback)
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
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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
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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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5.0 out of 5 stars Most thorough description of the ongoing battle in the middle east, Jan. 14 2013
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This review is from: From Beirut to Jerusalem (Paperback)
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
By 
Tal Cohen (USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: From Beirut to Jerusalem (Paperback)
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
1.0 out of 5 stars Irresponsible history - Should be able to give it no stars, May 7 2004
By 
Arnold Irving (Chicago, IL United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: From Beirut to Jerusalem (Paperback)
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, June 1 2004
This review is from: From Beirut to Jerusalem (Paperback)
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 overcomes all the problems to finally kill a whole army or nation (where ironically they all happen to be in what is known today as "terrorists") and sells it all around the globe. Friedman thinks he knows it all when it comes to "analysing" the Lebanese crisis and the Israeli socio-religious complexity, while in my opinion reading about the Mideast's history may be helpful, in addition to some classical music knowledge at least to know that Pachelbel's CaNon doesnt include any firing of any caNNon. And by the way, a Canon is the strictest form of imitation in musical composition in which the voices or melodies begin one after another, at regular intervals, successively taking up the same subject.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Ultimate Guide to the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, May 18 2004
By 
N. Tsafos (Washington, DC) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: From Beirut to Jerusalem (Paperback)
Navigating through the complexities of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is hard enough; but doing so whilst remaining neutral and objective is almost impossible. Yet this is precisely what "From Beirut to Jerusalem" does: it takes a very thorough and candid look at the recent history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in a fair and balanced view.
Thomas Friedman, of the New York Times, narrates his almost decade-long adventure of reporting the Middle East, first in Beirut and then in Jerusalem. The product is an elegant and well-written book that combines his journalistic attention to precision, detail, and anecdotes with his historian's drive for proving context, perspective, and analysis.
"From Beirut to Jerusalem" contains a great deal of adventure (who says reporters can't live James Bond-like lives?). But in the end, what makes this a great book is its ability to tell the story of the Middle East in the 1980s, while dissecting the important political and historical forces that define the geopolitical environment of the conflict. Written for the layman and expert alike, this is surely one of the best books on the Middle East.
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