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SIDE BY SIDE

PARALLEL HISTORIES OF ISRAEL-PALESTINE

The Peace Research Institute in the Middle East (PRIME) constructs an innovative textbook juxtaposing the historical narratives of two peoples in seemingly endless conflict.

Developed by a group of Israeli and Palestinian teachers, this text will prove useful not just to the young, but to anyone who quails at the thought of even attempting to unravel the knotty history of the Middle East. Under PRIME’s auspices, editors Adwan (Education/Bethlehem Univ.), Bar-On (now deceased) and Naveh (U.S. History/Tel Aviv Univ.), recognizing that the hostilities run deep and the divisions remain bitter, have set aside any attempt at consensus. They have “settled” instead for dual, oftentimes dueling, narratives of Israeli and Palestinian history, from the 1917 Balfour Declaration through 2000, the end of the Clinton administration and the outbreak of the Second Intifada. On alternate pages, literally “side by side,” the editors present both the Palestinian and Israeli versions of significant events that have marked the fraught decades of the 20th century. This device—along with a short introduction explaining their methodology—helps demonstrate the scrupulousness of their enterprise and underscores the differences between the parties, but it unfortunately makes for cumbersome reading. Alternate chapters would have served just as well to illustrate the stark divisions between these longtime antagonists. One side’s “War of Independence” is the other’s “catastrophe”; for Israel, the 1967 Six-Day War was “a huge victory in a war it didn’t initiate or intend,” where the Palestinians see it as an act of pure “aggression”; for the Israelis, America prosecuted the Gulf War to “maintain stability in the Middle East, “ understanding “its first priority was to achieve a political order acceptable to all sides,” while the Palestinians condemn the U.S. for using “its achievements in the war to enhance its hegemony even on its European allies.” Readers shouldn’t expect fine writing; this is a committee project where the goal is to avoid the flashy or the incendiary, to present, as honestly as possible, each side’s point of view. A small but important step, if not toward peace, then perhaps toward understanding.

 

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-59558-683-4

Page Count: 384

Publisher: The New Press

Review Posted Online: Aug. 10, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2011

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KILLERS OF THE FLOWER MOON

THE OSAGE MURDERS AND THE BIRTH OF THE FBI

Dogged original research and superb narrative skills come together in this gripping account of pitiless evil.

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Greed, depravity, and serial murder in 1920s Oklahoma.

During that time, enrolled members of the Osage Indian nation were among the wealthiest people per capita in the world. The rich oil fields beneath their reservation brought millions of dollars into the tribe annually, distributed to tribal members holding "headrights" that could not be bought or sold but only inherited. This vast wealth attracted the attention of unscrupulous whites who found ways to divert it to themselves by marrying Osage women or by having Osage declared legally incompetent so the whites could fleece them through the administration of their estates. For some, however, these deceptive tactics were not enough, and a plague of violent death—by shooting, poison, orchestrated automobile accident, and bombing—began to decimate the Osage in what they came to call the "Reign of Terror." Corrupt and incompetent law enforcement and judicial systems ensured that the perpetrators were never found or punished until the young J. Edgar Hoover saw cracking these cases as a means of burnishing the reputation of the newly professionalized FBI. Bestselling New Yorker staff writer Grann (The Devil and Sherlock Holmes: Tales of Murder, Madness, and Obsession, 2010, etc.) follows Special Agent Tom White and his assistants as they track the killers of one extended Osage family through a closed local culture of greed, bigotry, and lies in pursuit of protection for the survivors and justice for the dead. But he doesn't stop there; relying almost entirely on primary and unpublished sources, the author goes on to expose a web of conspiracy and corruption that extended far wider than even the FBI ever suspected. This page-turner surges forward with the pacing of a true-crime thriller, elevated by Grann's crisp and evocative prose and enhanced by dozens of period photographs.

Dogged original research and superb narrative skills come together in this gripping account of pitiless evil.

Pub Date: April 18, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-385-53424-6

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: Feb. 1, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2017

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A PEOPLE'S HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES

For Howard Zinn, long-time civil rights and anti-war activist, history and ideology have a lot in common. Since he thinks that everything is in someone's interest, the historian—Zinn posits—has to figure out whose interests he or she is defining/defending/reconstructing (hence one of his previous books, The Politics of History). Zinn has no doubts about where he stands in this "people's history": "it is a history disrespectful of governments and respectful of people's movements of resistance." So what we get here, instead of the usual survey of wars, presidents, and institutions, is a survey of the usual rebellions, strikes, and protest movements. Zinn starts out by depicting the arrival of Columbus in North America from the standpoint of the Indians (which amounts to their standpoint as constructed from the observations of the Europeans); and, after easily establishing the cultural disharmony that ensued, he goes on to the importation of slaves into the colonies. Add the laborers and indentured servants that followed, plus women and later immigrants, and you have Zinn's amorphous constituency. To hear Zinn tell it, all anyone did in America at any time was to oppress or be oppressed; and so he obscures as much as his hated mainstream historical foes do—only in Zinn's case there is that absurd presumption that virtually everything that came to pass was the work of ruling-class planning: this amounts to one great indictment for conspiracy. Despite surface similarities, this is not a social history, since we get no sense of the fabric of life. Instead of negating the one-sided histories he detests, Zinn has merely reversed the image; the distortion remains.

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 1979

ISBN: 0061965588

Page Count: 772

Publisher: Harper & Row

Review Posted Online: May 26, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 1979

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