Memorably captures in one man’s story the hard work of peacemaking in the Middle East.



One Palestinian’s tale, from Fatah fighter to prisoner to peace activist.

His mother was a victim of the Nakba, the “Catastrophe,” as Palestinians refer to the 1948 creation of the Israeli state and their consequent dispossession. After the 1967 Six-Day War, five-year-old Jundi and his parents were forced to move again to another part of Jerusalem. As a youth, he threw stones, shouted slogans and protested the Israeli occupation outside Al-Aqsa mosque or the Damascus Gate. He tried to join the 1976 war in Lebanon and later dropped out of school to work in a Jewish-owned factory that fired him for sabotaging the work. Brutally interrogated by Israeli police for his part in a failed bomb plot, he served ten years. In prison he became an organizer, a leader and a teacher, educating himself by reading widely. He studied Gandhi and began to contemplate nonviolence as a tool to effect political change. After his release, after forming some tentative friendships with Jews and after harsh treatment at the hands of the Palestinian Authority, the author drifted into the Palestinian Center for Non-Violence and later helped found the Seeds of Peace Center for Coexistence in Jerusalem, a youth program dedicated to fostering dialogue between Jews and Muslims. With his former Center colleague Marlowe (Darfur Diaries: Stories of Survival, 2006), Jundi describes his transformation—without ever abandoning his “stance against occupation, settlements, and land and water expropriation,” he learned to separate political issues from human beings and to fight against bigotry and hate. The authors devote a third of the book to their indefatigable, inspiring efforts on behalf of the Seeds program, even in amid of the Second Intifada, maintaining ties among the children of the warring sides. They also describe their dismay at the political infighting and bureaucratic bungling that led the organization astray. After recounting years of various horrors and indignities, the author’s comment on his firing is the narrative’s most heartbreaking: “Ten years of prison had not damaged me as deeply as Seeds of Peace had.”

Memorably captures in one man’s story the hard work of peacemaking in the Middle East.

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-56858-448-5

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Nation Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 30, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2010

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If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.


The authors have created a sort of anti-Book of Virtues in this encyclopedic compendium of the ways and means of power.

Everyone wants power and everyone is in a constant duplicitous game to gain more power at the expense of others, according to Greene, a screenwriter and former editor at Esquire (Elffers, a book packager, designed the volume, with its attractive marginalia). We live today as courtiers once did in royal courts: we must appear civil while attempting to crush all those around us. This power game can be played well or poorly, and in these 48 laws culled from the history and wisdom of the world’s greatest power players are the rules that must be followed to win. These laws boil down to being as ruthless, selfish, manipulative, and deceitful as possible. Each law, however, gets its own chapter: “Conceal Your Intentions,” “Always Say Less Than Necessary,” “Pose as a Friend, Work as a Spy,” and so on. Each chapter is conveniently broken down into sections on what happened to those who transgressed or observed the particular law, the key elements in this law, and ways to defensively reverse this law when it’s used against you. Quotations in the margins amplify the lesson being taught. While compelling in the way an auto accident might be, the book is simply nonsense. Rules often contradict each other. We are told, for instance, to “be conspicuous at all cost,” then told to “behave like others.” More seriously, Greene never really defines “power,” and he merely asserts, rather than offers evidence for, the Hobbesian world of all against all in which he insists we live. The world may be like this at times, but often it isn’t. To ask why this is so would be a far more useful project.

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-670-88146-5

Page Count: 430

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1998

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Doyle offers another lucid, inspiring chronicle of female empowerment and the rewards of self-awareness and renewal.

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More life reflections from the bestselling author on themes of societal captivity and the catharsis of personal freedom.

In her third book, Doyle (Love Warrior, 2016, etc.) begins with a life-changing event. “Four years ago,” she writes, “married to the father of my three children, I fell in love with a woman.” That woman, Abby Wambach, would become her wife. Emblematically arranged into three sections—“Caged,” “Keys,” “Freedom”—the narrative offers, among other elements, vignettes about the soulful author’s girlhood, when she was bulimic and felt like a zoo animal, a “caged girl made for wide-open skies.” She followed the path that seemed right and appropriate based on her Catholic upbringing and adolescent conditioning. After a downward spiral into “drinking, drugging, and purging,” Doyle found sobriety and the authentic self she’d been suppressing. Still, there was trouble: Straining an already troubled marriage was her husband’s infidelity, which eventually led to life-altering choices and the discovery of a love she’d never experienced before. Throughout the book, Doyle remains open and candid, whether she’s admitting to rigging a high school homecoming court election or denouncing the doting perfectionism of “cream cheese parenting,” which is about “giving your children the best of everything.” The author’s fears and concerns are often mirrored by real-world issues: gender roles and bias, white privilege, racism, and religion-fueled homophobia and hypocrisy. Some stories merely skim the surface of larger issues, but Doyle revisits them in later sections and digs deeper, using friends and familial references to personify their impact on her life, both past and present. Shorter pieces, some only a page in length, manage to effectively translate an emotional gut punch, as when Doyle’s therapist called her blooming extramarital lesbian love a “dangerous distraction.” Ultimately, the narrative is an in-depth look at a courageous woman eager to share the wealth of her experiences by embracing vulnerability and reclaiming her inner strength and resiliency.

Doyle offers another lucid, inspiring chronicle of female empowerment and the rewards of self-awareness and renewal.

Pub Date: March 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-0125-8

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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