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 Ari Shavit draws on interviews, historical documents, private diaries, and letters, as well as his own family's story, illuminating the pivotal moments of the Zionist century to tell a riveting narrative that is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)
Shavit is an engaging writer and the vignettes he paints give the reader an insight into the diversity of Israel and of Israeli life.
I'm a relative novice as to the history of and situation in Israel. Shavit's book provided a wonderful and current primer on one of the worlds most contested pieces of real estate. I felt tossed between the rights of both the Jews and the Palestinians as the author makes powerful arguments for both camps. I can't say the book entirely changed my opinion, but I gained valuable insights and it has left me wanting to learn so much more.
I found the narration to be excellent. Boehmer has an outstanding voice and managed pronunciations in all languages perfectly.
This book is a MUST for anyone who wants to form their own opinions about Israel
without being continually influenced by a biased world media.
Quite a great historical presentation of Israel's recent history shedding light on the present day tensions in the area. Seems to be a balanced view. Well read by Mr. Boehmer.
Very informative. I learned a lot about the history of the state of Israel. I enjoyed the narrator's accent as well. He made me feel like I was with the author the whole time.
This isn't a story of Israel. It is a severely skewed tale of a devout leftist. Every story is defined by some negative account that is actually minor in the grand scheme of things but is central to this ashamed Jew. Every account leading up to Israel's independence highlights Jewish war crimes while barely mentioning any involvement of Palestinine atrocities. Embarrassing. I could only stand it for six hours. So, to be fair, this review doesn't cover the final 2/3 of the book.
"Unsettling and challenging critique of Israel"
An important book that deserves to be widely read and discussed.
The author, an Israeli journalist, structures his book around a series of key themes and explorations, each focused on individuals and their perspectives, set within the context of the unfolding political economy of Israel. We hear through this chronology about Zionism and the establishment of Israel, the aspirations and values, the challenges, and ultimately the different forms of violence perpetrated by early settlers against the Palestinian communities, the violence of surrounding Arab states against the fledgling state, and the violence of the settlers against a wide range of Palestinian communities.
This is a well structured, interesting but challenging book. It is unsettling and disconcerting. It throws up, time and again, dilemmas and decisions - taken between a so-called rock and a hard place. Decisions were made which allowed Israel to survive and in so doing undermined the rights and search for nationhood by the Palestinians. The rationale for Israel is presented against the backdrop of the Holocaust and the desire by Arab states to wage war, defeat and ultimately end the Jewish presence in the Middle East.
Chapters focus on a single issue explored from multiple perspectives - covering issues ranging from the Israeli Peace Movement and how it has been undermined to the Settlements and their ambitious and cunning establishment of a new locus of power and authority within Israel. We learn about the Israeli Palestinians and their dilemmas and desires, the Israeli nuclear capability, and the nightmares facing Israeli citizens playing a small part, each, in undermining the rights of Palestinian protestors and youth. We hear insights reflecting the views of key stakeholders - those engaged in establishing Israel's burgeoning economy which at different stages has flourished dramatically, the demise of the social contract and emergence of neoliberalism undermining the sense of community and social cohesion, the role of the nightclubs and sex and hedonism which is a tonic for the daily tensions and personal confrontations around the raison d'etre for Israel while its role in the occupation has torn at its values-base.
We learn about the ongoing challenges within the country and within the region, within the people and within its supporters. Shavit provides much food for thought, arguing in the final pages and along the way, that this past and the realities need to be recognised; that hard choices need to be made which represent an acknowledgement of the suffering of the Palestinians and agreed form(s) of compensation; the end to Occupation and Settlements; and the need to rekindle the human and collective values upon which the state was originally proposed; and the importance of a fair, modernised, transformed and reinstitutionalised democracy (my string of terms) in which all can live with their rights and entitlements intact.
"Excellent personal and political history"
The book includes interviews and anecdotes from some of the towering figures of Israel, past and present. The description of the explosion of Tel Aviv's clubbing scene, the changing opinions and lifestyles of young people and the consumerist nature of today's Israel all provide a perfect backdrop in understanding its current political situation.
I personally didn't mind the Hebrew accent, his pronunciation of various names and places was perfect and made the recording feel more authentic.
Beautiful book, nicely read.
One of the great tragedies of Human kind, will it ever stop..
"Israel's history, from a very balanced perspective"
Wonderfully narrated, balanced, gripping
no specific moment
Strong Israeli accent, but it is part of the picture. Can pronounce Israeli names correctly.
A stunning, honest and timely assessment of the state of Israel. Truly an education. He has put his heart and soul into it and though I didn't always agree with his assessment I found it hugely informative.
"All you needed to know about Israel"
If, like me, you are interested in the history of Israel and feel your opinions are divided by what you have read in the press or viewed on TV. This is the book for you.
The detail of history is well balanced between the Jewish story and the Arab story. The proxy war between America and Russia. The Arab confusion, Nazi Germany, expulsion from Europe. This book covers it all. A great read, well put together and enlightening.
"A memorable listen."
Only listened to the book, so can't say.
Has to be the chapter on Lod (or Lodda as pronounced by Mr Boehmer), vivid and horrific details of what it took to establish the State of Israel, totally engrossing.
Mr Boehmer's pronunciation was both addictive and annoying but perfect for this book.
Again, the chapter on Lod.
Superb book, the author's angle of approach is certainly engaging, producing story after story which draws the reader into a roller coaster ride through the life of Israel.
"A must read"
An excellent insight into the complexity of Israel. A critical dispassionate view which unfortunately predicts the events as they come to pass.
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