A dogged reporter reveals essential truths, from his home and his heart, never broadcast on the evening news—a welcome bit...




An award-winning war correspondent files penetrating stories of Israel containing scant politics and much personal observation.

Fletcher (Breaking News: A Stunning and Memorable Account of Reporting from Some of the Most Dangerous Places in the World, 2008, etc.), the longtime NBC News bureau chief in Tel Aviv, walked the length of Israel from the Lebanese border to Gaza. His trek took him from Galilee to Achziv and a surviving kibbutz, Acre to Haifa and Herzliya, Tel Aviv-Jaffa to Ashkelon, and finally a sighting of Gaza City. Though exceedingly difficult both physically and mentally, the trip provides an engaging portrait of an Israel for which the author cares deeply. No longer a dispassionate broadcaster, Fletcher candidly observes cultural and geographical diversity in a disputed and disputative place, and he encountered many likable and articulate people along the way—Arabs and Jews, Muslims and Zionists, Palestinians and Israelis. They all emerged from simple stereotypes to reveal the famously complex character of the Holy Land, along with the spectacular geography and unrivaled history. With consideration of today’s kibbutzim and the plight of veterans of the Shoah, the author provides insight into the methods of soldiering and considers the predicament of Israeli Arabs. Still, he writes, the norm is coexistence, and mosques, churches and synagogues are neighbors that are not always at odds. From the world’s tinderbox, Fletcher, a son of Holocaust survivors, is a quiet but strong and vital voice amid all the shouting. “I wondered which was closer to the true nature of life in Israel—lazing on the beach with a book or running to the bomb shelter with a baby?,” he writes. “And if it’s a bit of both, then truly, this place must drive you crazy—like a serial bungee jumper guessing when the rope will break.”

A dogged reporter reveals essential truths, from his home and his heart, never broadcast on the evening news—a welcome bit of sanity.

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-312-53481-3

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Dunne/St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: July 12, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2010

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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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