Solid historical guidance for policymakers and students of the Israeli-Palestinian conundrum.

BE STRONG AND OF GOOD COURAGE

HOW ISRAEL'S MOST IMPORTANT LEADERS SHAPED ITS DESTINY

Profiles in leadership spotlighting four towering figures in Israeli history who took great “risks for an elusive peace”—and why those qualities are needed in our current time.

American authors Ross and Makovsky (co-authors: Myths, Illusions, and Peace: Finding a New Direction for America in the Middle East, 2009) are both passionately committed to Israeli-Palestinian peace and diplomacy and believe the current Israeli leadership cannot deliver the solution. They observe that long-term Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu does not believe peace with the Palestinians is in his political interest and is allowing the issue to drift inexorably toward the establishment of a binational state. The authors offer the instructive examples of David Ben-Gurion, Menachem Begin, Yitzhak Rabin, and Ariel Sharon as guides for the next step. Though all were flawed leaders, they all were “able to see risks clearly and understand which ones had to be run and not avoided,” and they were “willing to make very lonely decisions.” Founding father Ben-Gurion maintained a single-minded determination to establish a Zionist state, a desire magnified by the Holocaust, although he grasped the terrible cost of a war with the Arab neighbors; he was willing to compromise, when needed, though he did not foresee the growth of the religious right. Begin, former leader of the paramilitary underground, led the conservative coalition Likud to leadership in 1977, seizing the moment of making peace with Egypt’s Anwar Sadat (thanks to U.S. mediation) and ending “the virtually constant threat of war looming over Israel during its last three decades.” Rabin also understood the need for concessions, despite the awful political consequences, and Sharon, the early architect of the building of settlements, rehabilitated himself, after a controversial military career, by making the decision to withdraw from the Gaza Strip and recognizing Palestinian statehood. The choice for the next leaders, write the authors, is “whether [Israel] remains Jewish and democratic.”

Solid historical guidance for policymakers and students of the Israeli-Palestinian conundrum.

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5417-6765-2

Page Count: 368

Publisher: PublicAffairs

Review Posted Online: July 15, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2019

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If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

THE 48 LAWS OF POWER

The authors have created a sort of anti-Book of Virtues in this encyclopedic compendium of the ways and means of power.

Everyone wants power and everyone is in a constant duplicitous game to gain more power at the expense of others, according to Greene, a screenwriter and former editor at Esquire (Elffers, a book packager, designed the volume, with its attractive marginalia). We live today as courtiers once did in royal courts: we must appear civil while attempting to crush all those around us. This power game can be played well or poorly, and in these 48 laws culled from the history and wisdom of the world’s greatest power players are the rules that must be followed to win. These laws boil down to being as ruthless, selfish, manipulative, and deceitful as possible. Each law, however, gets its own chapter: “Conceal Your Intentions,” “Always Say Less Than Necessary,” “Pose as a Friend, Work as a Spy,” and so on. Each chapter is conveniently broken down into sections on what happened to those who transgressed or observed the particular law, the key elements in this law, and ways to defensively reverse this law when it’s used against you. Quotations in the margins amplify the lesson being taught. While compelling in the way an auto accident might be, the book is simply nonsense. Rules often contradict each other. We are told, for instance, to “be conspicuous at all cost,” then told to “behave like others.” More seriously, Greene never really defines “power,” and he merely asserts, rather than offers evidence for, the Hobbesian world of all against all in which he insists we live. The world may be like this at times, but often it isn’t. To ask why this is so would be a far more useful project.

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-670-88146-5

Page Count: 430

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1998

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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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