A thoughtful, well-written addition to the literature on a bitterly debated subject.

JERUSALEM 1913

THE ORIGINS OF THE ARAB-ISRAELI CONFLICT

A searching contribution to the history of the troubles in Palestine by Wall Street Journal reporter and former Middle East correspondent Marcus.

Many Western historians locate the birth of the Arab-Israeli conflict in the British Mandate, which governed Palestine from 1920 to 1948. Marcus pushes the date back to 1913, when the Zionist movement had established itself in Palestine and begun to enlist European settlers, mostly from Russia. One recruiting device, a film by Russian Zionist Noah Sokolovsky of the Jewish enterprise, conveyed “a pulsing nationalism that did not need words or sound to vividly express itself.” Arab leaders, naturally, were wary of such expressions of nationalism, and as the Zionist presence grew and with it Arab resentment, the previously broadly agreed upon “notion of a country made up of various peoples united by a common identity seemed to be receding.” To the credit of both, the Zionist and Arab leadership made efforts at détente, or perhaps even entente, during an international conference devoted to dismantling the Ottoman Empire. However, the growing numbers of Jews in the Arab land spawned violence and terrorist actions; the infamous “Rehovot incident” sharply divided the two camps, and with that came an end to the idea that a multiethnic secular state might emerge once the Ottomans left. Leaders such as the German-born attorney Arthur Ruppin foresaw that the problem would only grow, and he encouraged the development of the kibbutz system and Jewish settlements that were located close to one another for easier defense, quickening the pace of land acquisition and with it Jewish immigration. Interestingly, Marcus notes, the Turkish government recently released some 14,000 pages of documents related to land sales in and around Jerusalem. “It wasn’t clear yet what the archive would reveal,” she writes, “but the shadow cast by 1913 seemed to loom ever larger over the city’s future.”

A thoughtful, well-written addition to the literature on a bitterly debated subject.

Pub Date: April 23, 2007

ISBN: 0-670-03836-9

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2007

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

NIGHT

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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A Churchill-ian view of native history—Ward, that is, not Winston—its facts filtered through a dense screen of ideology.

AN INDIGENOUS PEOPLES' HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES

Custer died for your sins. And so, this book would seem to suggest, did every other native victim of colonialism.

Inducing guilt in non-native readers would seem to be the guiding idea behind Dunbar-Ortiz’s (Emerita, Ethnic Studies/California State Univ., Hayward; Blood on the Border: A Memoir of the Contra War, 2005, etc.) survey, which is hardly a new strategy. Indeed, the author says little that hasn’t been said before, but she packs a trove of ideological assumptions into nearly every page. For one thing, while “Indian” isn’t bad, since “[i]ndigenous individuals and peoples in North America on the whole do not consider ‘Indian’ a slur,” “American” is due to the fact that it’s “blatantly imperialistic.” Just so, indigenous peoples were overwhelmed by a “colonialist settler-state” (the very language broadly applied to Israelis vis-à-vis the Palestinians today) and then “displaced to fragmented reservations and economically decimated”—after, that is, having been forced to live in “concentration camps.” Were he around today, Vine Deloria Jr., the always-indignant champion of bias-puncturing in defense of native history, would disavow such tidily packaged, ready-made, reflexive language. As it is, the readers who are likely to come to this book—undergraduates, mostly, in survey courses—probably won’t question Dunbar-Ortiz’s inaccurate assertion that the military phrase “in country” derives from the military phrase “Indian country” or her insistence that all Spanish people in the New World were “gold-obsessed.” Furthermore, most readers won’t likely know that some Ancestral Pueblo (for whom Dunbar-Ortiz uses the long-abandoned term “Anasazi”) sites show evidence of cannibalism and torture, which in turn points to the inconvenient fact that North America wasn’t entirely an Eden before the arrival of Europe.

A Churchill-ian view of native history—Ward, that is, not Winston—its facts filtered through a dense screen of ideology.

Pub Date: Sept. 16, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-8070-0040-3

Page Count: 296

Publisher: Beacon Press

Review Posted Online: Aug. 18, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2014

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