A cleareyed study that sounds a serious alarm for the future of Israel—a must for any library’s collection on the conflict.

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MYTHOLOGIES WITHOUT END

THE US, ISRAEL, AND THE ARAB-ISRAELI CONFLICT, 1917-2020

Evenhanded summary of Arab-Israeli relations since the beginning of the Zionist settlements 100 years ago.

“For the past fifty years,” writes Slater, a retired political science professor, “I have been studying, teaching, and writing about Israel and the Arab-Israeli conflict, and have many close connections in that country.” In this highly valuable contribution to the subject, the author combs secondary sources—he does not read Hebrew but notes that most studies are translated immediately into English—offering a "work of synthesis and interpretation of the existing literature." Slater is especially influenced by the so-called new historians such as Ilan Pappé, Benny Morris, and Avi Shlaim, and he essentially provides a systematic refutation of Abba Eban's famously snide 1973 comment: “The Arabs never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity.” As Slater points out, along with Israeli aggression in the region, the U.S. has become a willing and noncritical ally. The author first debunks the myths that both Israel and the U.S. have long held regarding the founding of Israel—e.g., the "underdog" argument, the religious argument, and "Arab intransigence" argument, among others. Writing about the nature of Zionism, he shows that, “despite the Israeli mythology, the evidence is irrefutable that [David] Ben-Gurion and other Zionist leaders were not willing to compromise over Palestine and therefore 'accepted' the 1947 UN partition plan only as a temporary tactic to gain time until Israel was strong enough to take over all of Palestine." Moving meticulously through the many relevant conflicts—1948, 1956, 1967, the Cold War, and wars with Lebanon, Syria, and Egypt—to the present, the author argues convincingly that Israeli officials have often worked from a policy of deliberate provocation. Slater concludes with the Trump plan, which makes a two-state solution nearly impossible.

A cleareyed study that sounds a serious alarm for the future of Israel—a must for any library’s collection on the conflict.

Pub Date: Nov. 2, 2020

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: 480

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2020

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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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This moving, potent testament might have been titled “Black Lives Matter.” Or: “An American Tragedy.”

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BETWEEN THE WORLD AND ME

NOTES ON THE FIRST 150 YEARS IN AMERICA

The powerful story of a father’s past and a son’s future.

Atlantic senior writer Coates (The Beautiful Struggle: A Father, Two Sons, and an Unlikely Road to Manhood, 2008) offers this eloquent memoir as a letter to his teenage son, bearing witness to his own experiences and conveying passionate hopes for his son’s life. “I am wounded,” he writes. “I am marked by old codes, which shielded me in one world and then chained me in the next.” Coates grew up in the tough neighborhood of West Baltimore, beaten into obedience by his father. “I was a capable boy, intelligent and well-liked,” he remembers, “but powerfully afraid.” His life changed dramatically at Howard University, where his father taught and from which several siblings graduated. Howard, he writes, “had always been one of the most critical gathering posts for black people.” He calls it The Mecca, and its faculty and his fellow students expanded his horizons, helping him to understand “that the black world was its own thing, more than a photo-negative of the people who believe they are white.” Coates refers repeatedly to whites’ insistence on their exclusive racial identity; he realizes now “that nothing so essentialist as race” divides people, but rather “the actual injury done by people intent on naming us, intent on believing that what they have named matters more than anything we could ever actually do.” After he married, the author’s world widened again in New York, and later in Paris, where he finally felt extricated from white America’s exploitative, consumerist dreams. He came to understand that “race” does not fully explain “the breach between the world and me,” yet race exerts a crucial force, and young blacks like his son are vulnerable and endangered by “majoritarian bandits.” Coates desperately wants his son to be able to live “apart from fear—even apart from me.”

This moving, potent testament might have been titled “Black Lives Matter.” Or: “An American Tragedy.”

Pub Date: July 8, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-8129-9354-7

Page Count: 176

Publisher: Spiegel & Grau

Review Posted Online: May 6, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2015

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