Shipler's canny journalistic eye here focuses on the Israeli people who live lives complicated by long histories, bitter feuds, and complex identities. Avoiding the tempation to recapitulate how the Middle East got the way it is, or to allow any ideologues their voices, Shipler, instead, decided simply to write about Arabs and Jews in Israel and in the territories Israel administers. He concentrates on the images and stereotypes they have of each other, and the fears those images and stereotypes evoke. Such a venture is risky, for it obscures the wider scene against which the Arab-israeli conflict is staged, so that even as it tries to make a plausible case that Arabs and Jews can learn to live with each other if they can overcome learned patterns of prejudice, the book virtually ignores significant external influences. Despite this difficulty, Shipler has drawn a vivid portrait of peoples sharing much except peace. One does not have to accept the constant underlying claim that the two peoples are incredibly similar to appreciate the important questions raised here. Ranging from the violence that separates the peoples to the stereotypes that exist to the slow, hesitant steps toward reconciliation, Shipler is unsparing in his portrayal of the sometimes inhumane results of emotions rubbed raw. Alternating poetic description and straight journalism, Shipler draws a poignant portrait of a holy land with very human people in search of religious harmony and a method for living with each other.