A troubling and truculent history of the still-stalemated search for peace in the Middle East.



An assiduous assault on the management of the apparently defunct peace process that has eluded Israel and Palestine.

With this earnest addition to the expanding shelf of commentary on the seemingly irresoluble Arab-Israeli conflict, journalist Thrall, a senior analyst with the International Crisis Group, offers, under the rubric of “Forcing Compromise” (the first third of the book), a detailed history of failed efforts to reach accord in the Holy Land. The problem is more than settlements, recognition of the State of Israel, the eventual status of Jerusalem, or even the number of casualties. It is well-earned distrust on both sides. Writing mostly of Israeli activities and American reactions, Thrall reviews the failures of Camp David, the Wye River meetings, and the Oslo agreements. Menachem Begin, Yitzhak Rabin, and Benjamin Netanyahu were and are wrong; ditto negotiators Marin Indyk, Dennis Ross, and John Kerry. So, too, in various ways, were many American presidents who were, in the author’s view, too easy on the Israelis. Thrall proposes increased American and European pressure on the parties without elaborating on what the pressure would be or how it would work. Meanwhile, Arabs and Israelis accept the status quo as their best alternative. The remainder of the book consists of reprints of reviews and essays published elsewhere. The author provides copious footnotes (with many secondary sources cited), and he frequently mentions “Mandatory Palestine” in comparison to the Jewish state. The looming Arab nations in the neighborhood and the Arab League’s support of Hamas (which runs Gaza and whose goal is still destruction of “the Zionist entity”) are not recognized as threats to peace. Certainly, each party faces legitimate, fundamental problems: rockets, suicide bombers, checkpoints, land grabs, and internecine conflicts. However, as earnest as he is in illuminating the problems, Thrall remains partial and selective in probing them.

A troubling and truculent history of the still-stalemated search for peace in the Middle East.

Pub Date: May 16, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-62779-709-2

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Metropolitan/Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: March 15, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2017

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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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Bernstein and Woodward, the two Washington Post journalists who broke the Big Story, tell how they did it by old fashioned seat-of-the-pants reporting — in other words, lots of intuition and a thick stack of phone numbers. They've saved a few scoops for the occasion, the biggest being the name of their early inside source, the "sacrificial lamb" H**h Sl**n. But Washingtonians who talked will be most surprised by the admission that their rumored contacts in the FBI and elsewhere never existed; many who were telephoned for "confirmation" were revealing more than they realized. The real drama, and there's plenty of it, lies in the private-eye tactics employed by Bernstein and Woodward (they refer to themselves in the third person, strictly on a last name basis). The centerpiece of their own covert operation was an unnamed high government source they call Deep Throat, with whom Woodward arranged secret meetings by positioning the potted palm on his balcony and through codes scribbled in his morning newspaper. Woodward's wee hours meetings with Deep Throat in an underground parking garage are sheer cinema: we can just see Robert Redford (it has to be Robert Redford) watching warily for muggers and stubbing out endless cigarettes while Deep Throat spills the inside dope about the plumbers. Then too, they amass enough seamy detail to fascinate even the most avid Watergate wallower — what a drunken and abusive Mitchell threatened to do to Post publisher Katherine Graham's tit, and more on the Segretti connection — including the activities of a USC campus political group known as the Ratfuckers whose former members served as a recruiting pool for the Nixon White House. As the scandal goes public and out of their hands Bernstein and Woodward seem as stunned as the rest of us at where their search for the "head ratfucker" has led. You have to agree with what their City Editor Barry Sussman realized way back in the beginning — "We've never had a story like this. Just never."

Pub Date: June 18, 1974

ISBN: 0671894412

Page Count: 372

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Oct. 10, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 1974

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