INTIMATE ENEMIES

JEWS AND ARABS IN A SHARED LAND

A rambling but occasionally insightful study of the political, economic, and psychological dynamics between Israeli Jews and Palestinian and Israeli Arabs, particularly during the period between the Temple Mount Massacre (Oct. 1990) and the Rabin-Arafat handshake at the White House (Sept. 1993). Benvenisti, Jerusalem's former deputy mayor (197178) and currently a columnist for the Israeli daily Ha'aretz, has very critical things to say about both sides of the conflict. He faults Israel for practicing a kind of malign neglect of Palestinian economic and political needs, for repeatedly trying to internationalize what he feels is inescapably an intercommunal conflict (e.g., by playing the ``Jordanian option'' when dealing directly with the Palestinians has seemed too fruitless or exasperating), and favoring the structurally unachievable goal of separation of the two communities. As for the Palestinians, besides geopolitical misjudgments culminating in support for Saddam Hussein during the Gulf War and Arafat's apparent fiscal corruption and political heavy-handedness toward internal opponents, Benvenisti feels they mistakenly view the conflict as an anticolonialist struggle, such as that of the Algerians against the French during the 1950s. He raises the possible solution of an ``Israel/Palestine'' confederation that ``combines ethnic and cultural separation within a common geopolitical framework on the basis of national equality and a clear definition of the rights and obligations of the two ethnic components.'' But given each community's ties to a diaspora, the sharp economic inequality between, their very different political traditions, and a long history of enmity, such a confederation seems utterly unrealistic for the foreseeable future. But then, the history of the Israeli- Arab conflict is anything but predictable. It's clear how knowledgeable and passionately engaged he is in his subject, but Benvenisti's overly academic style and lack of historical and anecdotal material makes this book less appealing than other recent works on the conflict. (2 maps, not seen)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-520-08567-1

Page Count: 250

Publisher: Univ. of California

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1995

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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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Buffs of the Old West will enjoy Clavin’s careful research and vivid writing.

TOMBSTONE

THE EARP BROTHERS, DOC HOLLIDAY, AND THE VENDETTA RIDE FROM HELL

Rootin’-tootin’ history of the dry-gulchers, horn-swogglers, and outright killers who populated the Wild West’s wildest city in the late 19th century.

The stories of Wyatt Earp and company, the shootout at the O.K. Corral, and Geronimo and the Apache Wars are all well known. Clavin, who has written books on Dodge City and Wild Bill Hickok, delivers a solid narrative that usefully links significant events—making allies of white enemies, for instance, in facing down the Apache threat, rustling from Mexico, and other ethnically charged circumstances. The author is a touch revisionist, in the modern fashion, in noting that the Earps and Clantons weren’t as bloodthirsty as popular culture has made them out to be. For example, Wyatt and Bat Masterson “took the ‘peace’ in peace officer literally and knew that the way to tame the notorious town was not to outkill the bad guys but to intimidate them, sometimes with the help of a gun barrel to the skull.” Indeed, while some of the Clantons and some of the Earps died violently, most—Wyatt, Bat, Doc Holliday—died of cancer and other ailments, if only a few of old age. Clavin complicates the story by reminding readers that the Earps weren’t really the law in Tombstone and sometimes fell on the other side of the line and that the ordinary citizens of Tombstone and other famed Western venues valued order and peace and weren’t particularly keen on gunfighters and their mischief. Still, updating the old notion that the Earp myth is the American Iliad, the author is at his best when he delineates those fraught spasms of violence. “It is never a good sign for law-abiding citizens,” he writes at one high point, “to see Johnny Ringo rush into town, both him and his horse all in a lather.” Indeed not, even if Ringo wound up killing himself and law-abiding Tombstone faded into obscurity when the silver played out.

Buffs of the Old West will enjoy Clavin’s careful research and vivid writing.

Pub Date: April 21, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-21458-4

Page Count: 400

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: Jan. 20, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

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