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How to Cure a Fanatic [Hardcover]

Amos Oz
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)

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Book Description

16 Jan 2006

Internationally acclaimed novelist Amos Oz grew up in war-torn Jerusalem, where as a boy he witnessed firsthand the poisonous consequences of fanaticism. In two concise, powerful essays, the award-winning author offers unique insight into the true nature of fanaticism and proposes a reasoned and respectful approach to resolving the Israeli Palestinian conflict. As an added feature, he comments on contemporary issues--the Gaza pullout, Yasser Arafat's death, and the war in Iraq--in an extended interview at the end of the book.

Oz argues that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is not a war of religion or cultures or traditions, but rather a real estate dispute--one that will be resolved not by greater understanding, but by painful compromise. As he writes, "The seeds of fanaticism always lie in uncompromising righteousness, the plague of many centuries."

The brilliant clarity of these essays, coupled with Oz's ironic sense of humor in illuminating the serious, breathes new life into this centuries-old debate. Oz argues that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is not a war of religion or cultures or traditions, but rather a real estate dispute--one that will be resolved not by greater understanding, but by painful compromise. He emphasizes the importance of imagination in learning to define and respect other's space, and analyzes the twisted historical roots that have led to Middle East violence. In his interview, Oz sends a message to Americans. Why not, he proposes, advocate for a twenty-first-century equivalent of the Marshall Plan aimed at preventing poverty and despair in the region? "What is necessary is to work on the ground, for example, building homes for hundreds of thousands of Palestinian refugees who have been rotting in camps for almost sixty years now."

Fresh, insightful, and inspiring, How to Cure a Fanatic brings a new voice of sanity to the cacophony on Israeli-Palestinian relations--a voice no one can afford to ignore.

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 104 pages
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press (16 Jan 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0691126690
  • ISBN-13: 978-0691126692
  • Product Dimensions: 15.5 x 10.9 x 1.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,272,322 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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"This little volume (4" x 6") . . . is lucid, rational, and constructive. . . . This small book embodies so much realism and optimism."--Elizabeth R. Hayford, Library Journal

"The burning issues of the Arab-Israeli dispute are grist for Israeli novelist Amos Oz's slim volume, How to Cure a Fanatic, which is never less than thought-provoking."--Canadian Jewish News

"Amos Oz sets out to wrest the conflict from its ideological and religious participants, from those on both sides whose symbiotic desire to elevate or sanctify the conflict renders it ever more immune to reasonable resolution. This is pursued in two short, gently-crafted essays."--Ben Harris, Jewish Journal

"This pocket-size book is an important read. Whether you want to agree with him or rail against him, you cant ignore Oz."--Suzi Brozman, Atlanta Jewish Times

Book Description

A landmark work from a celebrated author on how to resolve the Israel-Palestine conflict. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How to Cure a Fanatic by Amos Oz 9 Jun 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
"How to Cure a Fanatic" by Amos Oz consists of a pair of lectures and can be read in approximately two hours. Yet it is extremely informative and thought provoking. it should be read by anyone and everybody who wants to understand the conflict between Palestinians and Jewish Israelis and certainly by everyone who thinks she or he understands the conflict. Oz shows how the conflict is exceedingly complex in terms of two narratives that contradict each other like an immovable stone and an irresistible force. At the same time he shows that the conflict is heart-rendingly simple: there is no right and wrong, only right and right - and wrong and wrong. For this reason, anyone who takes one side, (whichever side) becomes part of the problem. The solution can only arise out of both sides listening to each other and learning each other's narrative as well as their own. I cannot recommend this little book too highly.
Ruth Barnett, June 2011
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A quick read 20 Sep 2006
By james
I read this book to flesh out the mainly historical context from which I try to make sense of the Israeli Palestinian conflict. I was not disappointed to start with. Oz's pragmatic approach was refreshing and thought provoking i.e. 'Make peace not love.'

Unfortunately I thought the latter half of the essay drifted away from the insightfullness of the start, although Oz's observations of the fanatic are interesting.

The final interview seemed a bit of a filler, covering some points already addressed.

It's a short read but contains some really interesting ideas, providing this topic has already gripped you.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars short but very insightful 7 July 2007
Amos Oz's two short essays are full of valuabe insights into the mindset of a fanatic in general, as well as into just and effective ways to deal with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Coming from an insider in every sense of the word, it is very refreshing to read his opinion that the conflict "is not a religious war, although the fanatics on both sides are trying very hard to turn it into one" but simply a "real-estate dispute". Oz is able to put things into perspective without resorting to hiding behind obscure depictions of the conflict as predominantly a clash of religions/civilizations, or worse, of vile anti-semitism. His message is all the more valuable because he is an insider.

His ideas about the necessity of injecting imagination, as well as a sense of humor, in the mind of a fanatic, provide an interesting, and possibly effective way of loosening up the rigid mould of a fanatic mind. His "Order of the teaspoon" is a fascinating concept (I'm in), but I won't elaborate on it so you'd find out for yourselves!

If only politicians would consult with novelists like Oz, our world would be a much, much better place!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wisdom 27 Sep 2010
By Curtez
A good bok to read and learn and the more the reader remembers from it the better. If only the world would consist of people with such insight and tolerance.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Voice of Sanity; Voice of Common Sense 6 April 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This booklet ( a mere 6"x4" - don't expect more for your money !) contains two brilliant lectures given by Amos Oz. They happen to have been delivered in the two years following 9/11 and are effectively a plea for peace and common sense, explaining that the Israeli-Palestinian issue is really a quarrel over real estate. He further suggests that there is no other solution than a compromise that will be painful for both parties to recognise. So ultimately he hopes for a two state solution with pragmatically lots of bi-lateral agreements and co-operation.

The title is a slight misnomer, and potentially a disappointment. The first lecture has been titled "Between Right and Right" which implies that both sides have legitimate claims. The second, which lends its title to the book itself, pleads for a sense of humour to prevail so that little by little broadmindedness and tolerance are encouraged. Fanatics would then evolve over a period of time and actually learn to tolerate multiculturalism and diversity. As things stand, Oz points out in the context of fanaticism that "Ben Laden loves us" and wants to save us from ourselves. He is as sincere as he is sarcastic for it is a love of course we can do without.

The booklet ends with a short interview with Oz in 2012 in which he is asked a number of searching questions. Have his views changed in the light of recent events ? What would you imagine ? Common sense remains common sense.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A great little book 8 Dec 2013
By Jamesay
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Not sure it would cure a fanatic but it should given them plenty of things to reflect on and consider!
Well written and most definitely a concise piece which is a swift and easy read but deceptive in that it demands our return to it to - just to reconsider the challenging points the author makes.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Amos Oz 14 Sep 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Fun to read and has some useful tips!

I have spent the last couple of months restoring the house and redecorating before having 7 people to stay for a week!
What makes you think I have time to read all of the above since you sent them to me????

Call back next year!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars aMOS OZ
Not sure quite how to rate this item as it went as a christmas present and although I was thanked there was little comeback at the tine
Published 15 months ago by Mrs Gabrielle Brumby
4.0 out of 5 stars How to cure a fanatic - Amos Oz.
A little paperback, full of wisdom; Oz is one of the best Israeli novelists, this book is a collection of little pieces, some of them only marginally related to fanaticism. Read more
Published 17 months ago by Dr. Jack Cohen
4.0 out of 5 stars a good taster
a very small book but a good starting point for somebody wanting to read more by this amazing jewish author
Published 17 months ago by Dr. F. Arnold
4.0 out of 5 stars Oz calling
A tiny book, but its impact is much larger, a cogently argued case for a possible solution to the Israel-Palestine problem. Read more
Published 19 months ago by Bing
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant book by a brilliant writer. Gives us insight into the...
Recommend it to anyone who loves literature, philosophy and has a mind to understand complex conflicts.
Amos Oz keeps us in touch with our humanity
Published 19 months ago by Tisha Shaw
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent
The most balanced and intelligent take on Israel / Palestine - if only the political leaders could read and adopt!
Published 20 months ago by tmor
4.0 out of 5 stars A Miniature Wonder
A tiny book, but packed with good sense and an insight that can only come from personal experience.
If Amos Oz's humanity, even-handedness and intelligence were common... Read more
Published 20 months ago by Tony Fisher
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