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It's Easier to Reach Heaven than the End of the Street: A Jerusalem Memoir Paperback – Sep 1 2009

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Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Interlink Books (Sept. 1 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1566567890
  • ISBN-13: 978-1566567893
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 2.5 x 21.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 544 g
  • Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #299,796 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


"This book must be one of the most honest accounts of those terrible years. It's proportionate, subtle and comprehensive ... biased toward nobody, but the voices of moderation and hope." -- Guardian --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

EMMA WILLIAMS has worked in Pakistan and Afghanistan. She was a correspondent for the Spectator during her assignment in Israel. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0x9ff493e4) out of 5 stars 9 reviews
25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9ffd8fcc) out of 5 stars I have to keep stopping to cry. Sept. 22 2006
By Lynne Reid Banks - Published on
Format: Hardcover
As someone who has been a committed supporter of Israel for most of my adult life, and who lived there for years and had all my children there, and wrote five books based on this commitment, I find this book one of the best, fairest, most involving, and the most painful on the subject of the Middle East today that I have ever read. The author (neither Arab nor Jew) lived in Jeruslem with her UN-worker husband and four young children (the last born, by her choice, in a Bethlehem hospital at the height of the seige) for three years, 2000-2003, in time for the second intifada, the period of the suicide bombings in Israel, and the IDF incursions into Jenin, Nablus and Ramallah. She crossed and recrossed the line, going to the West Bank and Gaza regularly, and faithfully reporting her encounters with everyone she met, including her neighbours in a Palestinian enclave of W.Jerusalem and her many Israeli friends as well as her husband's NGO colleagues, and journalists from both sides. Every Israeli - every Palestinian - and every American Jew, or at least all who are brave enough, should read it. I personally have never needed so much moral and emotional stamina to get through a book. I have to keep stopping to cry. Lynne Reid Banks.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9ffdc03c) out of 5 stars Perfect for Americans who want to know what's what in the conflict July 31 2011
By J. ABDO - Published on
Format: Paperback
This is not your typical memoir. But that's a good thing- and actually probably pretty typical when your memoir is set in Jerusalem and you are as thoughtful as she is and have access to UN, doctors on both sides, and officials. There is a lot of politics and references to historical events and recent events, but I can see this as a memoir because she's honestly trying to sort this out while she's over there. It is one of the most honest attempts I've seen. It is a little hard to tell what her own views are, which is kind of strange in a memoir, but appreciated in anything attempting to explain the conflict.

When I first started reading the book, I interpreted the news items and her relating interviews and conversations with a pretty wide variety of people as her own, but she does occasionally insert her own views. My impression due to some of her commentary was that she related to Israelis most- that could be due to a suicide bomber blowing up outside her children's school and near it and in places she frequented. Unlike some who have a strong sympathy for Israel, though, she doesn't ignore or deny Palestinian humanity, rights, the fact that Israel is an occupier, the fact that Israel does wrong. I would be curious how she struck people she lived with in Jerusalem; there were a number of times when her friends would say something against Palestinians and she noted that she remained silent. She definitely seems pretty balanced in the book. She really seems to have sympathy for both people and understand the nuance of both sides' politics.

What also made the book so good was that it covers a wide variety of issues: Israeli denial of absolute facts- like IDF kills children, UN workers, etc; how she and others self censor depending on who they talk to; media bias; the Wall; American attitudes; among others.

What could make her so reasonable, besides being British :). Maybe being a doctor (she worked in many hospitals, Palestinian and Israeli, in her public health research while there) helped her not be able to ignore the facts. Seeing the maimed and hearing doctors' struggles on both sides must have had an impact on helping her see the similarity in the two sides, the brutality and senselessness of the violence, whatever the source.

Maybe being a UN worker's wife also helped her feel sympathy toward Palestinians and not only Israelis. She tells of how an Israeli chased her up the street yelling obscenities in her face upon seeing her UN plates because many Israelis feel the UN is "on the Palestinians' side." I guess that could have driven home what kind of hate could be directed at Palestinians by Israelis, if she didn't get it by listening to Palestinian friends' experiences.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9ffdc474) out of 5 stars Remarkably balanced and truthful book that is a joy to read Dec 10 2013
By Pamela Olson - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A truly excellent memoir. I moved to Palestine just after the author left (I was based in Ramallah), and her experiences and reactions (and facts and citations) rang very true -- I was incredibly nostalgic as I read this.

I stumbled into Palestine first as a curious (and clueless) tourist (on my way to Istanbul), stayed on to volunteer with Dr. Mustafa Barghouthi's political party, and ended up working as a journalist and the foreign press coordinator for Dr. Barghouthi when he ran for president of the PA in 2005.

I wrote a book called Fast Times in Palestine to try to get across the surreal atmosphere of the beauty and romance and humor that coexist with blood and hate and theft and attack helicopters, and dispel some of the gross distortions of facts that tend to happen here in the US. It was such a joy to find another book that also has this aim, just located slightly differently in space (Jerusalem instead of Ramallah) and time (the beginning of the second Intifada instead of the end of it).

I found her presentation very balanced, being very sensitive to Israeli suffering and fears, while at the same time not downplaying the brutality of some of the Israeli government's policies and the horrific suffering and fears of the Palestinians because of them. She never excuses violence or brutality, but she does explore why they happen. Her personal stories and discussions with friends and officials on both sides (and journalists and aid workers caught in the middle) were often very revealing, as were her own instincts at times to remain silent in the face of injustice so as not to offend certain people's sensibilities. I'm glad she was able to be honest about this, as it is very common among foreigners who have both Israeli and Palestinian friends.

Her sources are very useful and in many cases difficult to impeach, coming as they do straight from the Israeli press and the words of Israeli soldiers and policymakers. An important contribution to the literature on this subject that I think everyone should read.
9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9ffdc45c) out of 5 stars It is Easier to Reach Heaven Than the End of the Street April 9 2010
By Bernice L. Youtz - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
One of the best books I have read on the Israel/Palestine issue, and I thought that I had read about everything. Author is a British woman MD, married to a UN official. They spent three years in Jerusalem 2000-2003, lived in a Palestinian community, and her three children attended schools with children from diverse backgrounds. She worked as a doctor and as a public health researcher. She and her husband had busy professional and social life, knew and worked with Palestinians and Israelis. She experienced the fear of potential terrorist attacks, was close to tragedies. With her researcher's care she writes with impeccable documentation while vividly recording the events she experienced.
HASH(0x9ffdc81c) out of 5 stars worth reading Sept. 21 2013
By ShaynaMadel - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If I would have read this book before my visit to Judea I would have had a better understanding. While in Judea I felt sadness com over me. Reading this book validated I wasn't alone in these feeling. Anyone traveling to Israel or interested in the politics of the country would benefit reading this book.