No issue in international politics has been more hotly debated than the Arab-Israeli conflict. And no reporter has illuminated both the conflict and the rhythms of life in the Middle East with more immediacy and brilliance than Friedman, a two-time winner of the Pulitzer Prize for international reporting. Whether it's extremism, terrorism, or fundamentalism on right and left, Friedman puts all the operative currents into perspective with an inimitable specificity and clarity.
©2006 Thomas L. Friedman; (P)2006 HarperCollins Publishers
"[Friedman's] writing is vastly descriptive, incredibly illuminating, very educational, and marvelously persuasive." (Library Journal)
Enlightening memoir of reporters' experience in the early stages of the dismantling of Beiruit and then his subsequent time in Israel. Clearly discouraged, he describes firsthand the suffering of families and their culture in the palistinian/israeli escalation. He gives some historical perspective that helped me to understand the timeline of the events after '47 establishment of Israel . I recommend this book for those who want to folllow the peace process this year in Washington. Will they choose to be modern or tribal?
Wonderful read and very entertaining. I was amazed at what some people go through in their daily life. This book has a light and sometimes humorous tone, but also educates the average listener about a very complex part of the world that most of us will never understand. I really enjoyed this book and even listened to it twice just so my wife could hear it. I laughed out loud through many spots. He is a very engaging writer and it was read well. If you like other books by Friedman you will not be disappointed.
I agree with a previous reviewer that the author's voice is a bit high pitched for the seriousness of the text. However, I excuse this since the author is telling us his own story, and these really are his words. Also, his reading is dynamic and never boring or mechanical.
The first half gives an interesting perspective on what it is like to be in Lebanon.
What I found most interesting was the second half regarding Israel. Being a Jewish author gives Friedman credibility when discussing the feelings of the Israelis. Even though I had read quite a bit on this subject (I strongly recommend O Jerusalem by Lapierre), I was enlightened by the clear description of the three aspects of the future Israeli state that Ben-Gurion and subsequent leaders dealt with. This alone makes the book worth listening too as this basic aspect of the formation of a Jewish State is fundamental to all understanding of this major world issue. Having some background in the geography and history will greatly enable the listener to follow the discussions about the Labor and Likud parties.
Because this abridged version is short, it is easy enough to get through, and I recommend it.
Say something about yourself!
Growing up in postwar NYC, as the only non-Jew in my public school classes, I was very much aware of the holocaust.
The idea proposed in this book rings true to me. Jews are infused with victimization and want everyone else to feel guilty about it.
This dynamic is Israel's problem. However, Israel's problem is a problem for the entire world. The Middle East is the thorn in the world's side and this book points out why this thorn is not about to be removed anytime soon. It's been how long? Oh right, over 35 years.
Let's hope it is resolved sooner than the US resolved slavery (over 75 years) and then racial equality (another 100 years).
Friedman describes to parts of his journalistic life in the Middle East: Several years he lived in Beirut, during Israel's 1982 invasion into Lebanon; and several years he lived in Jerusalem with his family.
In the first part of the book (Beirut), Friedman goes on to rave about strong Lebanese people, living their lives despite Israeli invasion and violence of the militants. He talks about people being used to automatic gun shots on their streets and how brave it is of them.
Then, Friedman writes about Israel. For the whole second part of the book, he goes on to criticize Israel - people, politicians, victimhood (as in - Jews should finally stop thinking so much about Holocaust, it was long time ago, come on!), et cetera. Sadly, Friedman did not have many positive words for Israel - criticizing it all the way through.
Unfortunately, being a NYT journalist does not exempt you from one sided, unprofessional reporting.
My son recommended this book to me. The material gives great insight into Lebanese and Isrealis, Muslims and militant Jews. The book is read by the author. His voice is high and soft which is in contrast to the context and words. I probably would have preferred unabridged version and stronger voice.
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