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The Lemon Tree: An Arab, a Jew, and the Heart of the Middle East by [Tolan, Sandy]
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The Lemon Tree: An Arab, a Jew, and the Heart of the Middle East Kindle Edition

4.5 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews

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Length: 400 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. The title of this moving, well-crafted book refers to a tree in the backyard of a home in Ramla, Israel. The home is currently owned by Dalia, a Jewish woman whose family of Holocaust survivors emigrated from Bulgaria. But before Israel gained its independence in 1948, the house was owned by the Palestinian family of Bashir, who meets Dalia when he returns to see his family home after the Six-Day War of 1967. Journalist Tolan (Me & Hank) traces the history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict through the parallel personal histories of Dalia and Bashir and their families—all refugees seeking a home. As Tolan takes the story forward, Dalia struggles with her Israeli identity, and Bashir struggles with decades in Israeli prisons for suspected terrorist activities. Those looking for even a symbolic magical solution to that conflict won't find it here: the lemon tree dies in 1998, just as the Israeli-Palestinian peace process stagnates. But as they follow Dalia and Bashir's difficult friendship, readers will experience one of the world's most stubborn conflicts firsthand. 2 maps. (May)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* To see in human scale the tragic collision of the Israeli and Palestinian peoples, Tolan focuses on one small stone house in Ramla--once an Arab community but now Jewish. Built in 1936 by an Arab family but acquired by a Jewish family after the Israelis captured the city in 1948, this simple stone house has anchored for decades the hopes of both its displaced former owners and its new Jewish occupants. With remarkable sensitivity to both families' grievances, Tolan chronicles the unlikely chain of events that in 1967 brought a long-dispossessed Palestinian son to the threshold of his former home, where he unexpectedly finds himself being welcomed by the daughter of Bulgarian Jewish immigrants. Though that visit exposes bitterly opposed interpretations of the past, it opens a real--albeit painful--dialogue about possibilities for the future. As he establishes the context for that dialogue, Tolan frankly details the interethnic hostilities that have scarred both families. Yet he also allows readers to see the courage of families sincerely trying to understand their enemy. Only such courage has made possible the surprising conversion of the contested stone house into a kindergarten for Arab children and a center for Jewish-Arab coexistence. What has been achieved in one small stone building remains fragile in a land where peacemaking looks increasingly futile. But Tolan opens the prospect of a new beginning in a concluding account of how Jewish and Arab children have together planted seeds salvaged from one desiccated lemon tree planted long ago behind one stone house. A much-needed antidote to the cynicism of realpolitik. Bryce Christensen
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Product Details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 2927 KB
  • Print Length: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury USA; 1 edition (Dec 1 2008)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B002UM5B8C
  • Text-to-Speech: Not enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #20,229 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
If you wish to understand the Middle East conflict which has dominated the news and the world for 60 years, this book is a very comprehensive exploration of the issues which lie at the heart of the problem. It is told as a narrative about 2 very real families who are on either side of a great divide. Mr. Tolan puts a human face to an ugly, complicated and critical issue as he educates the reader about the facts surrounding the conflict. It should be required reading for everyone who cares about, wondered about or is affected by this issue.
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A well written and, I believe, well balanced on-the-ground account of the Israeli Palestinian conflict. The history of the conflict is woven into the story of a house in old Palestine, vacated in 1948 by a Palestinian family, and later occupied by Bulgarian Jews. The two families ultimately meet and the house and land (and the lemon tree) become the focus of their debates on the necessities and injustices of the current situation. Sandy Tolan's credentials make him highly credible on the issue, and a detailed annotation and bibliography is provided for the reader. Recommended reading for anyone with an opinion on the issue.
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What can I saw that all the other reviewers and critics haven't already? I loved this book. Heartbreaking how impossible peace is in that area and upon reading the book, it became even more clear as to why.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is a book that is well researched and, I believe, accurate. A few years ago my wife and I had occassion to spend some tome in Israel/Palistine and what we saw and experienced is well reflected in the book. We deliberately stayed in East Jerusalem in a Palistian hotel. We contracted with Israli, Palistian and Christian guides. We saw many things that are not normally reported in the Western press. We visited with a palistian family that had been evicted from their house in the middle of the night so that a new Jewish family could move in. I thoroughly enjoyed the book.
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A wonderfully clear and unbiased account of Palestinian- Israeli history and two families with one home affected by the creation of Israel.
This is a warts and all picture of both sides and a humanizing of history. There are moments of great hope as each family is affected by, and internalizes the story of the other. But also there is an enduring incomprehension on some level which fuels the conflict. When no one is prepared to recognize and try to correct historical mistakes it is difficult to see a possibility of a satisfying resolution for either side.
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