A worthy companion to Mourid Barghouti’s like-minded I Saw Ramallah (p. 515).



A thoughtful journal, by a Palestinian human-rights activist and attorney, documenting the Israeli invasion of the West Bank in April 2002.

The reasons for that invasion were many, Shehadeh (Strangers in the House, 2002, etc.) acknowledges; they followed repeated episodes of illegal Israeli settlement in the “occupied territories” after the Oslo Accords and an attendant rise in the number of terror attacks on Israeli civilians—in particular, the bombing in March 2002 of a hotel in Netanya in which a wedding feast was being held, which resulted in 29 deaths and provided the Sharon government reason to send in the tanks. Shehadeh holds that the Oslo Accords were doomed to failure, for they allowed Israel to transfer responsibility for civilian affairs to the Palestinian Authority; at the same time, however, the intransigent Sharon regime took steps to keep the Authority from delivering services and imposed prolonged curfews and restrictions. Shehadeh writes affectingly of how the military occupation played out day by day in the once-thriving Palestinian city of Ramallah, where civilians now had to dodge military patrols, submit to house-to-house searches, and endure privation, many of them “stranded for days in buildings and shops without food, surviving on dried chickpeas that they soaked in water and ate.” For his part, Shehadeh writes, he spent much of that terrible month pacing back and forth, regarding himself as fortunate because he had a large house. A balanced and sensitive observer, Shehadeh condemns governments, not individuals; in one moving passage, he recounts that an Israeli soldier left a note for a neighbor after a particularly destructive search: “Sorry for the mess. I hope we meet in better times. Stay away from the windows.” Yet his anger at the Israeli government—and that of Yasir Arafat—is evident and constant, and supporters of either will likely take issue with many of his remarks.

A worthy companion to Mourid Barghouti’s like-minded I Saw Ramallah (p. 515).

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2003

ISBN: 1-58642-069-0

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Steerforth

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2003

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Did you like this book?


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

Did you like this book?