Sure to raise contention, a strong dissenting voice from a burdened land where dissent is not simply tolerated, but a way of...



A Jerusalem-based journalist presents his exegesis on how Israel came together and how he sees it coming apart.

American Prospect senior correspondent Gorenberg (The Accidental Empire: Israel and the Birth of the Settlements, 1967-1977, 2006, etc.) recounts the history of the lone democracy in the Middle East, as well as the faults peculiar to democracies and their guarantee of free speech. He presents an earnest survey of the resentful discourse, internecine political battles and other endemic problems besieging the small nation. In cities across Israel, the religious right has moved into Palestinian conclaves. Settlements outside the contested Green Line were established without permits, and West Bank homesteaders erected residences without seeking permission. Against biblical injunction, ancient and productive Arab olive trees were destroyed. Religious fundamentalists claim “The Whole Israel” as their legacy. Can or will the army or the police disengage the increasing cadre of settlers from the occupied territories? Parties are divided. Jewish civil-rights groups sue, but some Supreme Court victories simply languish and are not enforced. Israel’s split personality engages zealots of all stripes, but the rule of law, ignored at times, still exists as nowhere else in the region. Employing considerable and powerful selective history, the author is, for the most part, passionately persuasive. His concluding remedy comprises three parts: first, end the occupation in Judea and Samaria; next, divorce state and synagogue; finally, be less Jewish in favor of equality. As readers and his countrymen will remind the author, Israel’s reason for being—from its birth, parented in 1948 by the international community through its battles for survival—is that it is the Jewish State, a state like no other. Gorenberg offers no significant guarantee of that birthright.

Sure to raise contention, a strong dissenting voice from a burdened land where dissent is not simply tolerated, but a way of life.

Pub Date: Nov. 8, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-06-198508-9

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: July 26, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2011

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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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