SHALOM, FRIEND

THE LIFE AND LEGACY OF YITZHAK RABIN

An absorbing portrait of the remarkable life of the late Israeli Prime Minister. David Horovitz, managing editor of The Jerusalem Report, deftly assembled the research of over two dozen of the Report's writers to produce a biography of Rabin that focuses on the recent peace process and the circumstances that led to his assassination. Earlier events in Rabin's life are covered in full—his early years in the Palmach, his military accomplishments in both the War of Independence and the Six Day War, and his stint as Israel's ambassador to the US—but this book's strength lies in its gripping analysis of Rabin's relationship with both the Palestinians and with Israeli settlers in the contested territory of the West Bank. Until the outbreak of the Intifada, Rabin paid almost no attention to the Palestinians. He knew little about them and had no interest in knowing more. His solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict leaned to the ``Jordanian Option,'' with its provision for continued Israeli settlement along the Jordan Valley. When the Intifada did break out in 1987, Rabin, misreading the Palestinians, dismissed it as insignificant. Yet it was precisely the Intifada that caused Rabin to realize that the Palestinians were an enemy with whom he would have to negotiate. The Intifada ``had turned the Palestinian people into a proper enemy. And, as such, they earned the right in Rabin's eyes to a proper peace.'' And if Rabin lacked insight into the Palestinians, he had even less into the West Bank settlers. He perceived most of them as obstacles to peace, and ``was positively infuriated by the vigilante elements among them.'' And as a secular Jew, Rabin had ``few sentiments for the area's past.'' It may well have been, in fact, the chasm between the secular Rabin and the religious nationalists that set the scene for his tragic death. Well-researched, engrossing, and admirably objective, Shalom, Friend is a significant contribution.

Pub Date: May 1, 1996

ISBN: 1-55704-287-X

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Newmarket Press

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 1996

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An engrossing memoir as well as a lively treatise on what extraordinary grace under extraordinary pressure looks like.

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BECOMING

The former first lady opens up about her early life, her journey to the White House, and the eight history-making years that followed.

It’s not surprising that Obama grew up a rambunctious kid with a stubborn streak and an “I’ll show you” attitude. After all, it takes a special kind of moxie to survive being the first African-American FLOTUS—and not only survive, but thrive. For eight years, we witnessed the adversity the first family had to face, and now we get to read what it was really like growing up in a working-class family on Chicago’s South Side and ending up at the world’s most famous address. As the author amply shows, her can-do attitude was daunted at times by racism, leaving her wondering if she was good enough. Nevertheless, she persisted, graduating from Chicago’s first magnet high school, Princeton, and Harvard Law School, and pursuing careers in law and the nonprofit world. With her characteristic candor and dry wit, she recounts the story of her fateful meeting with her future husband. Once they were officially a couple, her feelings for him turned into a “toppling blast of lust, gratitude, fulfillment, wonder.” But for someone with a “natural resistance to chaos,” being the wife of an ambitious politician was no small feat, and becoming a mother along the way added another layer of complexity. Throw a presidential campaign into the mix, and even the most assured woman could begin to crack under the pressure. Later, adjusting to life in the White House was a formidable challenge for the self-described “control freak”—not to mention the difficulty of sparing their daughters the ugly side of politics and preserving their privacy as much as possible. Through it all, Obama remained determined to serve with grace and help others through initiatives like the White House garden and her campaign to fight childhood obesity. And even though she deems herself “not a political person,” she shares frank thoughts about the 2016 election.

An engrossing memoir as well as a lively treatise on what extraordinary grace under extraordinary pressure looks like.

Pub Date: Nov. 13, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5247-6313-8

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Nov. 30, 2018

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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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