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Publisher's Summary

Leon Uris retums to the land of his acclaimed best-seller Exodus for an epic story of hate and love, vengeance and forgiveness. The Middle East is the powerful setting for this sweeping tale of a land where revenge is sacred and hatred noble. Where an Arab ruler tries to save his people from destruction but cannot save them from themselves. When violence spreads like a plague across the lands of Palestine - this is the time of The Haj.

©1984 Leon Uris (P)2014 Audible, Inc.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • DIANE
  • Thornhill,, Ontario, Canada
  • 06-13-14

A sweeping saga of Arab/Israeli conflict

This was a book that confirmed my impressions about blind hatred and how much damage it can do. I found it so sad that the family who were the "protagonists" of the story, that of Haj Ibrahim, were all victims of the hatred that they espoused and continued. One by one, the children died due to savagery on the part of their own people, not the Israelis. There were a number of references in the book to the fact that the Arabs really had very little problem with the "Jews" but had a lot of problems with their own people. The notion that one was raised from infancy to hate a people for no reason blew me away, though I have known for some time that this happens. It is like a family feud that is fuelled by nothing but a history of the feud itself. Many of the Arabs refused to take supplies offered by the Jews so as not to give them the impression that they needed them in order to survive. And yet, the Arabs in this story fed on hatred and it ultimately consumed them in both a spiritual and physical sense. There were very disturbing parts of this book but I feel it was probably fairly accurate. I am sure that there are people who would think that this book was biased. I do not think so. The Haj was a very good book and a sad story of a family self-destructing.

11 of 12 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Jayne
  • CARMICHAEL, CA, United States
  • 03-01-15

Insightful and Alarming but never dull & boring!

If you could sum up The Haj in three words, what would they be?

Excellent Audio!

What other book might you compare The Haj to and why?

Exodus tells about the plight of the Jewish people without a land
Haj is a story about the Arabs who have land they do not use or cultivate
The clash of the two cultures is heartbreaking

What does Neil Shah bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Great! Very articulate - acting out the voices beautifully - one does not have to figure out who is talking because Neil Shah so easily takes on a different voice for each character- even the women. Wonderful Reader!

If you could rename The Haj, what would you call it?

Arab Assumptions and Chaos

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Jean
  • Santa Cruz, CA, United States
  • 10-01-14

Oversimplification of Middle East problems

I read this book in 1984 when it first came out. I have a note in my records that I thought the book was excellent. I can remember that I did not enjoy it as much as I did “Exodus.” I thought that with all the problems in the Middle East the book might provide me with some insight to the situation, so I decided to re-read the book.

The story is about a Palestinian Arab family living in Palestine in the 1920-1950 eras. The main narrator of the story is Ishmael the youngest son of Ibrahim, who is the Muktar of an isolated village of Tabah in the Ajalon Valley. The book drags along, Ibrahim made his pilgrimage to Mecca as a young man. The pilgrimage is called the Haj, thus the title of the book. The story takes us to the formation of Israel and the family chooses to flee Palestine to a refugee camp near Jericho.

Uris provides colorful details, descriptions of the country and lots of sex and violence. I had to keep in mind the book is written by a Jew and the time frame of the book is 1920 to 1950. Uris does provide some history mixed into the story. I really enjoyed the part of the story when Ishmael took artifact he found to the archeologist. The history explained by him and the explanation about archeology was interesting. The author does write with some sympathy for the Arabs but mostly the impression I got from the book is the British and Arabs are bad and the Jews are good.

I had a totally different response to the book than I did when I read it in 1984. At that time I just enjoyed the story, this time I see the hyperbole, propaganda and the oversimplification. The story remains exciting but now I guess I can see more than just the story. Neil Shah does a good job narrating the story.

26 of 35 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

I now understand...and it's terrifying.

Uris is known for his ability to put actual events,people and philosophies into a "fictional " form. He has done it again here and anyone who thinks that the Western world can come to a meeting of the minds and achieve a lasting peace with the Arab world is delusional. Uris takes you on a walk through history through the eyes of an extraordinarily likable character. He sees and often internally battles with his own culture. In the end, you have seen what molded the events in the Middle East, understood the how and why's, and come out with the frightening understanding that it can't and won't ever change. I think we all have suspected it, but now we know why. Very well written and performed. A gripping story.

7 of 9 people found this review helpful

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  • Debbie
  • Toney, Alabama
  • 06-20-16

Want to understand? Listen to this . . .

Religion of peace? Nope . . . never has been, never will be . . . eye opening, The Haj takes you back to around 1922 up through the 1960s . . . this book confirms what you know in your gut . . . in the Middle East, hatred is elevated, celebrated, lying to the infidels is permitted, encouraged and an everyday occurrence in the pursuit of Islam . . . and all those sins that the westerners partake of . . . fornication, adultery, homosexuality, drunkenness . . . yes, they exist in the Middle East . . . men there regularly engage in those behaviors . . . and kill their wives and daughters if they catch them in the same . . . this book is written in a way that is unbiased, a Jew and an Arab are friends, trying beyond all hope, to help their own people . . . and for the first time I UNDERSTAND . . . why there cannot ever be peace . . . why all the attempts at democracy have failed and will always fail . . . why a people so intent on hatred and self-destruction cannot be salvaged . . . and yes, I know that I will get tons of bad feedback on this review . . . but so be it . . . you cannot help a people intent on murder and deceit

12 of 16 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Palestine finally made clear.

If you could sum up The Haj in three words, what would they be?

Palestine made clear.

What other book might you compare The Haj to and why?

Exodus, same author, more expanded subject

What does Neil Shah bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

A sense of the place and time is elicited by his accent.

If you could take any character from The Haj out to dinner, who would it be and why?

Gideon Asch

Any additional comments?

I read this book many years ago, I love it in the audio because I'm able to share it with my husband who otherwise couldn't read it. He also loves this book.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Insight into a 1300 year story that goes back 3500

aside from the salacious parts, portrayal of hatred of jews and each other in the Arab world is displayed, explaining the intransigence of Arab countries. There is plenty of oil $ to build a decent life for Palestinian Arabs anywhere, but they're kept in hell holes in order to excuse their blind hatred for Israel. Sons of Abraham will triumph when their Messiah returns. BHO & JFKerry will be soon forgotten once the new administration corrects this latest in a long line of BHO blunders. The Muslim in chief can return to Indonesia, his real home & roots.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Overwrought but informative

The two extremes of criticism are, if you read opinions on this book (1) it is as odious a piece of anti-Arab literature as Mein Kampf was against the Jews, or (2) it finally tells the truth in a robust, well-researched fictional narrative about the foolish Arab determination to maintain endless warfare against the Jews until they are driven into the sea. My observation is somewhere between. And, as well, that, since the Forties, there is no lasting generalization that one can make about who is more conciliatory or more cruel in a give period of Israel-Arab history. Uris's Israel in the book comes across as an oasis of survival in a bleak region, a light of material and spiritual growth. If the book serves as an inspiration to you to study the Middle East's history, it will have served a worthwhile purpose for you. It's hard, though, to imagine that Uris's purpose was to inspire objective study. Rather, it seems to be one more narrative to explain what a catalyst for positive change Israel has been and could be in the Middle East. One final note: the final couple of chapters strike me as excessive, madly irrational, and (if I were Uris's publisher) ill-advised.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Still timely

If you could sum up The Haj in three words, what would they be?

What an extraordinary work of historical fiction and what brilliant narration!

What other book might you compare The Haj to and why?

None

Have you listened to any of Neil Shah’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

no

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

Extreme reaction was of being completely engrossed!

4 of 6 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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A must listen

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

this book was recommended to me years ago, but was to large a task to attempt. Fortunately, Audible made it possible and it was worth every one of the 21+ hours. The narration was spot on and the story is one that everyone should read if you hope to have any understanding of the history and reasons behind the problems in the Middle East. the insight into the thinking of the Arab mind is spot on, and the tale is current even though it was written decades ago.

4 of 7 people found this review helpful