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



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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A standout immigrant coming-of-age story.



In her first nonfiction book, novelist Grande (Dancing with Butterflies, 2009, etc.) delves into her family’s cycle of separation and reunification.

Raised in poverty so severe that spaghetti reminded her of the tapeworms endemic to children in her Mexican hometown, the author is her family’s only college graduate and writer, whose honors include an American Book Award and International Latino Book Award. Though she was too young to remember her father when he entered the United States illegally seeking money to improve life for his family, she idolized him from afar. However, she also blamed him for taking away her mother after he sent for her when the author was not yet 5 years old. Though she emulated her sister, she ultimately answered to herself, and both siblings constantly sought affirmation of their parents’ love, whether they were present or not. When one caused disappointment, the siblings focused their hopes on the other. These contradictions prove to be the narrator’s hallmarks, as she consistently displays a fierce willingness to ask tough questions, accept startling answers, and candidly render emotional and physical violence. Even as a girl, Grande understood the redemptive power of language to define—in the U.S., her name’s literal translation, “big queen,” led to ridicule from other children—and to complicate. In spelling class, when a teacher used the sentence “my mamá loves me” (mi mamá me ama), Grande decided to “rearrange the words so that they formed a question: ¿Me ama mi mamá? Does my mama love me?”

A standout immigrant coming-of-age story.

Pub Date: Aug. 28, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-4516-6177-4

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: June 12, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2012

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Buffs of the Old West will enjoy Clavin’s careful research and vivid writing.



Rootin’-tootin’ history of the dry-gulchers, horn-swogglers, and outright killers who populated the Wild West’s wildest city in the late 19th century.

The stories of Wyatt Earp and company, the shootout at the O.K. Corral, and Geronimo and the Apache Wars are all well known. Clavin, who has written books on Dodge City and Wild Bill Hickok, delivers a solid narrative that usefully links significant events—making allies of white enemies, for instance, in facing down the Apache threat, rustling from Mexico, and other ethnically charged circumstances. The author is a touch revisionist, in the modern fashion, in noting that the Earps and Clantons weren’t as bloodthirsty as popular culture has made them out to be. For example, Wyatt and Bat Masterson “took the ‘peace’ in peace officer literally and knew that the way to tame the notorious town was not to outkill the bad guys but to intimidate them, sometimes with the help of a gun barrel to the skull.” Indeed, while some of the Clantons and some of the Earps died violently, most—Wyatt, Bat, Doc Holliday—died of cancer and other ailments, if only a few of old age. Clavin complicates the story by reminding readers that the Earps weren’t really the law in Tombstone and sometimes fell on the other side of the line and that the ordinary citizens of Tombstone and other famed Western venues valued order and peace and weren’t particularly keen on gunfighters and their mischief. Still, updating the old notion that the Earp myth is the American Iliad, the author is at his best when he delineates those fraught spasms of violence. “It is never a good sign for law-abiding citizens,” he writes at one high point, “to see Johnny Ringo rush into town, both him and his horse all in a lather.” Indeed not, even if Ringo wound up killing himself and law-abiding Tombstone faded into obscurity when the silver played out.

Buffs of the Old West will enjoy Clavin’s careful research and vivid writing.

Pub Date: April 21, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-21458-4

Page Count: 400

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: Jan. 20, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

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