"This is an essential book for those who wish to understand a city that remains a nexus of world affairs." --Booklist (starred)
Jerusalem is the epic history of three thousand years of faith, fanaticism, bloodshed, and coexistence, from King David to the 21st century, from the birth of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam to the Israel-Palestine conflict.
A New York Times Notable Book
Jewish Book Council Book of the Year
An authoritative and deeply personal narrative history of the State of Israel, by one of the most influential journalists writing about the Middle East today
Not since Thomas L. Friedman's groundbreaking From Beirut to Jerusalem has a book captured the essence and the beating heart of the Middle East as keenly and dynamically as My Promised Land. Facing unprecedented internal and external pressures, Israel today is at a moment of existential crisis. Ari Shavit draws on interviews, historical documents, private diaries, and letters, as well as his own family's story, illuminating the pivotal moments of the Zionist century to tell a riveting narrative that is larger than the sum of its parts: both personal and national, both deeply human and of profound historical dimension. We meet Shavit's great-grandfather, a British Zionist who in 1897 visited the Holy Land on a Thomas Cook tour and understood that it was the way of the future for his people; the idealist young farmer who bought land from his Arab neighbor in the 1920s to grow the Jaffa oranges that would create Palestine's booming economy; the visionary youth group leader who, in the 1940s, transformed Masada from the neglected ruins of an extremist sect into a powerful symbol for Zionism; the Palestinian who as a young man in 1948 was driven with his family from his home during the expulsion from Lydda; the immigrant orphans of Europe's Holocaust, who took on menial work and focused on raising their children to become the leaders of the new state; the pragmatic engineer who was instrumental in developing Israel's nuclear program in the 1960s, in the only interview he ever gave; the zealous religious Zionists who started the settler movement in the 1970s; the dot-com entrepreneurs and young men and women behind Tel-Aviv's booming club scene; and today's architects of Israel's foreign policy with Iran, whose nuclear threat looms ominously over the tiny country. As it examines the complexities and contradictions of the Israeli condition, My Promised Land asks difficult but important questions: Why did Israel come to be? How did it come to be? Can Israel survive? Culminating with an analysis of the issues and threats that Israel is currently facing, My Promised Land uses the defining events of the past to shed new light on the present. The result is a landmark portrait of a small, vibrant country living on the edge, whose identity and presence play a crucial role in today's global political landscape. Praise for My Promised Land "This book will sweep you up in its narrative force and not let go of you until it is done. Shavit's] accomplishment is so unlikely, so total . . . that it makes you believe anything is possible, even, God help us, peace in the Middle East."--Simon Schama, Financial Times
" A] must-read book."--Thomas L. Friedman, The New York Times
"Important and powerful . . . the least tendentious book about Israel I have ever read."--Leon Wieseltier, The New York Times Book Review "Spellbinding . . . Shavit's prophetic voice carries lessons that all sides need to hear."--The Economist
"One of the most nuanced and challenging books written on Israel in years."--The Wall Street Journal
A Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist examines the genesis of one of the greatest political struggles of our time
Searching for the origins of the Arab-Israeli conflict, historians for years focused on the British Mandate period (1920?1948). Amy Dockser Marcus, however, demonstrates that the bloody struggle for power actually started much earlier, when Jerusalem was still part of the Ottoman Empire and the rise of Zionism and Arab nationalism laid the groundwork for the battles that would continue to rage nearly a century later.
Nineteen thirteen was the crucial year for these conflicts?the year that the Palestinians held the First Arab Congress and the first time that secret peace talks were held between Zionists and Palestinians. World War I, however, interrupted these peace efforts.
Dockser Marcus traces these dramatic times through the lives of a handful of the city's leading citizens as they struggle to survive. A current events must read in our ongoing efforts to understand the Arab-Israeli conflict.
Winner of the Everett Family Jewish Book of the Year Award (a National Jewish Book Award) and the RUSA Sophie Brody Medal.
In Like Dreamers, acclaimed journalist Yossi Klein Halevi interweaves the stories of a group of 1967 paratroopers who reunited Jerusalem, tracing the history of Israel and the divergent ideologies shaping it from the Six-Day War to the present.
Following the lives of seven young members from the 55th Paratroopers Reserve Brigade, the unit responsible for restoring Jewish sovereignty to Jerusalem, Halevi reveals how this band of brothers played pivotal roles in shaping Israel's destiny long after their historic victory. While they worked together to reunite their country in 1967, these men harbored drastically different visions for Israel's future.
One emerges at the forefront of the religious settlement movement, while another is instrumental in the 2005 unilateral withdrawal from Gaza. One becomes a driving force in the growth of Israel's capitalist economy, while another ardently defends the socialist kibbutzim. One is a leading peace activist, while another helps create an anti-Zionist terror underground in Damascus.
Featuring an eight pages of black-and-white photos and maps, Like Dreamers is a nuanced, in-depth look at these diverse men and the conflicting beliefs that have helped to define modern Israel and the Middle East.
James Carroll's urgent, masterly Jerusalem, Jerusalem uncovers the ways in which the ancient city became a transcendent fantasy that ignites religious fervor unlike anywhere else on earth. That fervor animates American history as much as it does the Middle East, in the present as deeply as in the past.In Carroll's provocative reading of the deep past, the Bible came into being as an act of resistance to the violence that threatened Jerusalem from the start. Centuries later, holy wars burned apocalyptic Jerusalem into the Western mind, sparking expressly religious conflict among Jews, Christians, and Muslims. The heat stretched from Richard the Lionheart to Field Marshal Edmund Allenby, whose World War I conquest of the city relit the fuse for a war that still rages. Carroll's brilliant leap is to show how, as Christopher Columbus was dispatched from the Crusades-obsessed Knights Templar's last outpost in Iberia, the New World too was powerfully shaped by the millennial obsessions of the City on a Hill -- from Governor Winthrop to Abraham Lincoln to Woodrow Wilson to Ronald Reagan. Heavenly Jerusalem defines the American imagination -- and always, the earthly city smolders. Jerusalem fever, inextricably tied to Christian fervor, is the deadly -- unnamed -- third party to the Israeli-Palestinian wars. Understanding Jerusalem fever is the key that unlocks world history, and the diagnosis that gives us our best chance to reimagine peace.
A very personal journey through Jewish history (and Cohen's own), and a passionate defense of Israel's legitimacy.Richard Cohen's book is part reportage, part memoir--an intimate journey through the history of Europe's Jews, culminating in the establishment of Israel. A veteran, syndicated columnist for The Washington Post, Cohen began this journey as a skeptic, wondering in a national column whether the creation of a Jewish State was "a mistake." As he recounts, he delved into his own and Jewish history and fell in love with the story of the Jews and Israel, a twice-promised land--in the Bible by God, and by the world to the remnants of Europe's Jews. This promise, he writes, was made in atonement not just for the Holocaust, but for the callous indifference that preceded World War II and followed it--and that still threatens. Cohen's account is full of stories--from the nineteenth century figures who imagined a Zionist country, including Theodore Herzl, who thought it might resemble Vienna with its cafes and music; to what happened in twentieth century Poland to his own relatives; and to stories of his American boyhood. Cohen describes his relationship with Israel as a sort of marriage: one does not always get along but one is faithful.
One of Britain's most renowned military historians revisits a controversial murder: that of Zionist leader Avraham Stern, head of Israel's notorious Stern Gang, in Tel Aviv during WWII.
Militant Zionist Avraham Stern believed he was destined to be the Jewish liberator of British Palestine. As the ringleader of the infamous Stern Gang, also known as Lehi, he masterminded a series of high-profile terrorist attacks in pursuit of his dream. On the run from British authorities who'd put a bounty on his head, Stern was hiding in an attic in Tel Aviv when he was killed by Assistant Superintendent Geoffrey Morton, a British colonial policeman assigned to capture him.
Morton claimed Stern was trying to escape. But witnesses insisted he was executed in cold blood. His controversial death inspired a cult of martyrdom that gave new life to Lehi, helping to destroy hopes of a detente between the British, the Arabs, and the Jews.
The Reckoning is the story of Patrick Bishop's quest to discover the truth. Based on extensive research--including access to Morton's private archive and eyewitness interviews--it recounts this seismic event in full, without bias, placing it within the context of its turbulent time. Bishop's gripping, groundbreaking narrative brings to life two men similar in ambition and dedication, chronicles the events that led to their fatal meeting, and explores how the impact of Stern's death reverberated through the final years of British rule and the birth of Israel.
Benny Morris demolishes misconceptions and provides a comprehensive history of the Israeli-Arab war of 1948
This history of the foundational war in the Arab-Israeli conflict is groundbreaking, objective, and deeply revisionist. A riveting account of the military engagements, it also focuses on the war's political dimensions. Benny Morris probes the motives and aims of the protagonists on the basis of newly opened Israeli and Western documentation. The Arab side--where the archives are still closed--is illuminated with the help of intelligence and diplomatic materials.
Morris stresses the jihadi character of the two-stage Arab assault on the Jewish community in Palestine. Throughout, he examines the dialectic between the war's military and political developments and highlights the military impetus in the creation of the refugee problem, which was a by-product of the disintegration of Palestinian Arab society. The book thoroughly investigates the role of the Great Powers--Britain, the United States, and the Soviet Union--in shaping the conflict and its tentative termination in 1949. Morris looks both at high politics and general staff decision-making processes and at the nitty-gritty of combat in the successive battles that resulted in the emergence of the State of Israel and the humiliation of the Arab world, a humiliation that underlies the continued Arab antagonism toward Israel.
Renowned historian Tom Segev strips away national myths to present a critical and clear-eyed chronicle of the year immediately following Israel's foundation."Required reading for all who want to understand the Arab-Israeli conflict...the best analysis...of the problems of trying to integrate so many people from such diverse cultures into one political body" (The New York Times Book Review). Historian and journalist Tom Segev stirred up controversy in Israel upon the first publication of 1949. It was a landmark book that told a different story of the country's early years, one that wasn't taught in schools or shown in popular culture. Rather than painting the idealized picture of the Israel's founding in 1948, after the wreckage of the Holocaust, Segev reveals gritty underside behind the early years. The new country of Israel faced challenges on all sides. Day-to-day life was severe, marked by austerity and food shortages; Israeli society was fractured between traditional and secular camps; Jewish immigrants from Middle-Eastern countries faced discrimination and second-class treatment; and clashes between settlers and the Arabs would set the tone for relations for the following decades, hardening attitudes and creating a violent cycle of retaliation. Drawing on journal entries, letters, declassified government documents, and more, 1949 is a richly detailed look at the friction between the idealism of the Zionist movement and the cold realities of history. Decades after its publication in the United States, Segev's groundbreaking book is still required reading for anyone who wants to understand Israel's past and future.