Incisive, often wrenching history of the Palestinians, by Kimmerling (Sociology/Hebrew Univ. of Jerusalem) and Migdal (International Studies/Univ. of Washington). The present status of the Palestinians is a media mainstay, but their history is less well known. Here, Kimmerling and Migdal contend that a Palestinian national identity—like that of most nations—has been forged during the last two centuries, primarily by three events: the brutally quashed 1823 revolt against Egyptian overlords; the revolt against British rule in 1936-39; and the Intifada against Israel, which began in 1987. Starting in the late 19th century, agricultural advances made by Jewish farmers, mechanization, a cash economy, and reliance on world markets marginalized Palestinian farmers. Many became laborers, and, during British rule, an increased deterioration of village life created a landless underclass. The 1936-39 revolt resulted in the exile of the main indigenous Palestinian political institution, the ayan—a group of families that had produced leaders since Ottoman days- -leaving the Palestinians, at the birth of the Israel, without leaders or spokespeople. Between 600,000 and 750,000 Palestinians- -half the population—became refugees, their land taken over by Israelis. And those who stayed, the authors say, became second- class citizens, shunned by other Arabs. Since then, Palestinian efforts to form a political structure have been tied intimately to the goal of gaining a homeland. Kimmerling and Migdal detail the rise of the PLO and the Intifada, which occurred when Palestinians realized that the increasingly harsh occupation of the West Bank would not be temporary, and that they once again were in danger of being pushed aside by Israeli settlers. This revolt has resulted in a fervent sense of community among Palestinians—but also in declining income. A detailed report that provides much-needed context to the Arab-Israeli debate.

Pub Date: Jan. 11, 1993

ISBN: 0-02-917321-3

Page Count: 350

Publisher: Free Press

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 1992

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


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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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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