Winner of the Natan Book Award
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 Ari Shavit draws on interviews, historical documents, private diaries, and letters, as well as his own family's story, illuminating the pivotal moments of the Zionist century to tell a riveting narrative that is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.
©2013 Random House Audio (P)2013 Ari Shavit
“Shavit's provocative book avoids the clichés typical of some works about the Middle East, and the audio version benefits from Paul Boehmer's superb presentation.” (AudioFile)
“One of the most nuanced and challenging books written on Israel in years . . . [The] book’s real power: On an issue so prone to polemic, Mr. Shavit offers candor.” (The Wall Street Journal)
“The most extraordinary book that I’ve read on [Israel] since Amos Elon’s book called The Israelis, and that was published in the late sixties.” (David Remnick)
The book is excellent - the arguments are cogent and make good sense.
NO NO NO - Why the fake accent? It isn't even good.
PLEASE don't do fake accents - find an Israeli actor who can narrate this book. But definitely not someone who can't "do" an Israeli accent.
I think having a narrator who didn't seem like he was on the verge of slugging me or drinking himself into oblivion would have helped. At first I thought I hated the book for being repetitive and lecturing but then I realized a big part of the problem was the narrator's exasperated, judgmental tone.
Probably not, but maybe if there were were a different narrator.
Anyone. Sorry, Mr. Boehmer. Usually I applaud narrators but I quit this book twice.
Frustration with the author and narrator, as well as frustration with the political situation.
I'm a lefty so it wasn't the politics that bugged me.
The narration took me a moment to get beyond, but I eventually came to enjoy Boehmer's voice and his style. Shavit's book is, as the headline says, enlightening and beautifully written. It gave me a perspective on Israeli history and contemporary issues that was lacking for me before. He takes a very measured, reasoned approach missing in much contemporary political debate. He made Israel come alive for me in a way that I think will make an upcoming Christian pilgrimage I'm taking that much richer.
The book covers a wide span of the country's history, leveraging personal stories to make history more real.
It nicely covers several aspects of history providing different points of view, enabling the reader to develop an own opinion.
As a diaspora Jew I was always taught Israel's history in a romantic and naive way. The author helped me come to terms with the reality of Israel's past, present, and future.
It has also a great performance by the narrator. Kudos to both.
I know a fair amount about Israel to start. I cannot express how much I appreciate the enrichment of my understanding provided by this book. Not only do I deeply admire those who founded Israel but I am touched and saddened by the tragedy that it seems to represent.
Shavit is a little preachy but, it adds an emotional tone that brings the book to life. His personal relationships and journalistic experience a rich and lively. As a person trying to decide how to feel about the situation of Israel and the Palestinians, I consider this story to be essential.
I will add that I don't think he portrays the negative aspects of the Palestinians as enthusiastically as he does those of Israel. Not enough to make it feel polemic or push any buttons, but still a little less balanced that I think would be fair.
As for the narration which has been criticized for its accent, I cannot disagree more. I thought the narration was terrific.
The accent he used was both interesting and helpful. It gave the story a greater sense of place and was pleasant to the ear. I was/am astonished to find that he's not an Israeli. While I have no idea what a native would think of his accent, it never sounded false to me.
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