A visionary approach so daring that it could actually work.

ONE LAND, TWO STATES

ISRAEL AND PALESTINE AS PARALLEL STATES

A coterie of bold, open-minded international academics offers a fresh paradigm for Israeli-Palestinian coexistence.

The free movement of people and goods over one shared area, while governed by one Israeli state structure and one Palestinian, offering common economic and security policy, and equal (if separate or harmonized) political, legal and civil benefits for all? Proponents of the Parallel States Project, organized by the Center for Middle Eastern Studies at Sweden’s Lund University, reached out to Israeli, American and Palestinian academics for some thoughtful ways of breaking out of the countless failed models for Israeli-Palestinian coexistence. A two-state solution is considered dead in the water, according to Alvaro de Soto (former UN special envoy), while the apartheid structure of Israeli occupation is not feasible. Neither side is willing to give up its territory or sovereignty—but what is “sovereignty,” Jens Bartelson (Lund Univ.) asks in an excellent historical overview, but an outmoded notion of the modern nation-state that has eroded since the pressures of globalization? Indeed, many of the contributors look to the once-utopian structure of the European Union as an effective new way of “dovetailing the sovereignty claims of individual states within an institutional framework.” What would this parallel sovereignty with integrated resources look like? Peter Wallensteen (Uppsala Univ.) lays out a graduated concrete plan starting in 2017, delineating everything from the safeguarding of human rights to taxation and property rights. Crucial concerns of security are hashed out in two separate essays, one from the Israeli side (Nimrod Hurvitz and Dror Zeevi) and one from the Palestinian (Hussein Agha and Ahmad Samih Khalidi), though the general consensus seems to be that by mixing the populations, hostility and terrorism are eliminated, encouraging other Arab countries to ease their animus of Israel. Also important: empowering the Palestinian economy and allowing refugees right of return.

A visionary approach so daring that it could actually work.

Pub Date: July 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-520-27913-1

Page Count: 296

Publisher: Univ. of California

Review Posted Online: May 17, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2014

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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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A PEOPLE'S HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES

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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