Books by Hanan Ashrawi

Released: May 1, 1995

The autobiography of perhaps the most visible Palestinian spokesperson after Yasir Arafat. Ashrawi was head of the English department of Birzeit University in the Israeli-occupied West Bank when she burst into popular consciousness in 1988 on Nightline. The brilliant, outspoken Ashrawi was labeled the star of that first-ever public debate between Palestinian leaders and Israeli officials. Here she writes at length about the roots of her more than two decades of political activism as a Palestinian and a feminist, and about life with her husband and two daughters. One of her goals, she says, is to add a human dimension to the simplistic image many people have of Palestinians. More riveting, however, are her insider's descriptions of the processes that have led to the current peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians. Her revelations of behind-the-scenes debates and political maneuvers are a must-read for anyone interested in Middle East politics. But this book must also be read for what it reveals between the lines. Superficially, Ashrawi seems like a sycophant of Arafat, and her uncritical attitude toward the PLO chairman appears to mar an otherwise uncompromisingly honest and believable book. But if Ashrawi never has an unkind word to say about the man, she is far less gentle toward some of his policies, including the PLO's costly refusal to condemn Iraq's invasion of Kuwait and the PLO's tendency, as Israel cedes it some measure of authority in the territories, to fill positions on the basis of politics and favoritism rather than talent and expertise. Ashrawi sheds light on the tension between Palestinians inside and outside the territories that is crucial to understanding current and past events. Ashrawi offers a vivid rendering of the Palestinian side of events that have led to a vastly altered but still deeply troubled relationship between Israel and the Palestinian people. (8 pages b&w photos, not seen) (First printing of 50,000; author tour) Read full book review >