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40 of 41 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating, funny, angry
Mark Thomas is a comedian, an intelligent radical polemicist, British, and a keen rambler. In this book these four elements are brilliantly combined to provide an extremely funny, angry, well articulated, self depreciating, enthusiastic analysis, of the impact of the wall/barrier/fence built by Israel to separate itself from the Palestinians of the West Bank...
Published on 2 May 2011 by P. G. Harris

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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Funny in parts but flawed
I'm generally a fan of Mark Thomas's antics on TV, but my initial reaction was to give this book just 2.5 stars out of five. That was not possible, so I've rounded it up to three. It was, after all, quite funny in places - though I'm not quite sure I was laughing at the sections that were supposed to be funny. In any case, the most entertaining part for me was the general...
Published 7 months ago by Ivorf


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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars No longer sitting on the fence ...., 20 Aug 2011
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Love Books "Jessie" (Durham, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Extreme Rambling: Walking Israel's Separation Barrier. For Fun. (Paperback)
I'm sure there are other excellent, accessible books about Israel's separation barrier, but I haven't come across them yet. The book is written in the sometimes mildly irritating form of a travelogue by comedian Mark Thomas. There isn't a huge amount in the way of describing the scenery, but there is plenty of information about how the barrier is affecting the Palestinians trapped on one side of it and having to struggle to find ways to reach their farms/schools/hospitals/places of work on the other.

I thought the book was relatively well balanced in that it makes it very clear from the first chapter why many Israelis wanted to build the wall, and thought it necessary and also helps explain the seething anger on both sides.

There is some hope for future reconciliation, with people on both sides striving to make things better, but the main thing I'll take with me after reading this book is outrage at the injustice of the building of this illegal wall, and the hardships endured by the people it affects. It has spurred me on to find out more and to Do Something to bring about change.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An interesting read, though not comedy, 27 May 2011
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This review is from: Extreme Rambling: Walking Israel's Separation Barrier. For Fun. (Paperback)
"Great comedy" says the Times review quoted prominently on the front of the book, but that is misleading. Though it has its lighter moments, this book is a serious account of a walk along - or at least close to - the wall that has been constructed in recent years along the line separating Israel from the West Bank. As a book on rambling it's not terribly informative, though we learn that the walk is hot and uncomfortable and sometimes dangerous. But the rambling is clearly a means of studying the wall and meeting the people and seeing the places on both sides of it. And it was good to benefit from Mark Thomas's experience without having to go there myself! This book has given me a much greater understanding of the ongoing Israeli/Palestinian conflict - previously known to me only through headlines and soundbites - and I recommend you read it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful. It's as simple as that., 3 Aug 2014
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I love Mark Thomas. He writes with a wondrous glint of the naughty . It can't be easy to write a heartwarming and truly heartbreaking story all at the same time. But he has managed it. An absolutely compelling read - not only does it offer a real insight to the situation out there, but also is entertaining, upsetting and wonderfully funny all at the same time. That's not to say Mark is making light of the situation, far from it, but he manages to find situations, people and places that play up to his humorous and easy way of writing.

He manages to stay apolitical throughout, apart from the end, which is all the credit to him. His politics are well known, so one should always acknowledge this when reading his material. I have followed his material since his early television work on Channel 4. And I saw this show live a few years ago. The book is magnificent. And a thoroughly recommended read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars One-sided but entertaining, 10 Aug 2013
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This review is from: Extreme Rambling: Walking Israel's Separation Barrier. For Fun. (Paperback)
Plucky nation, surrounded by enemies on all sides, in response to a horrific wave of suicide bomb attacks, builds a separation barrier. MT details the repercussions of these events, in an entertaining & fairly one-sided way. It's upsetting that he takes the suicide attacks so lightly, allows the menorah to be casually considered a fascist symbol and suggests that all Israelis are to blame for the current situation (he must have been re-reading that other old piece of writing by a famous Mark). Anyway, hopefully readers will be able to look a bit deeper. Also, Israel had its first female prime-minister in the 60s, women in the army since that state was founded, strong gay rights, & a mixed-ethnic make-up including jews, christians, israeli arabs, bedouin arabs, samaritans, non-jewish partners et al. Good luck achieving anything similar in a Hamas influenced state. Overall, it makes a change to read a more light-hearted response to this troubling conflict, & its interesting to hear about everyday details, which is why its an insightful book really.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A long walk story with a difference, 11 May 2013
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This review is from: Extreme Rambling: Walking Israel's Separation Barrier. For Fun. (Paperback)
Mark Thomas set himself a challenging task in walking the full length Israel's separation barrier, both physically and politically. The book is an honest and thought provoking account of this journey. The absurdity and hypocrisy of the barrier, and the hardship it causes, emerges from the factual description and his conversations with people on both sides of it, rather than being made as a polemic. This makes the book a good read for anyone prepared to be open minded. He also gives an account of how his thinking developed during the project.
Walkers are not welcome near the barrier, so the journey was often tedious - trekking over muddy fields. This means that as a travel book it lacks the colour and variety of some. There are some line drawn maps, but they are not very helpful. Suggest reading it with a proper map or Google Earth to hand.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Must Read, 25 Feb 2013
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I thought I knew something about this issue, but having read this I realise I knew nothing of the scale of the problems. It is witty and informative and extremely moving. Read it and pass it on. Mark Thomas is not only a brilliant stand up but a very gifted writer. Hilarious and thought provoking.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An alternative view, 14 Feb 2013
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This review is from: Extreme Rambling: Walking Israel's Separation Barrier. For Fun. (Paperback)
Having lived and worked in the area for eighteen months I recognised so many of the difficulties and moments described. There were times I was laughing so much it hurt. An excellent book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, 17 Jan 2012
This review is from: Extreme Rambling: Walking Israel's Separation Barrier. For Fun. (Paperback)
My Sociology tutor recommended this book. I have to say it was a good purchase. It really shows you what both sides - (palestine and israel) have to go through. It is a page turner and very informative.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars fascinating, motivating, amusin, annoying, 16 Oct 2011
This review is from: Extreme Rambling: Walking Israel's Separation Barrier. For Fun. (Paperback)
This is an amazing book about the Israeli-Palestinian situation. Everyone should read this to better understand the conditions. With his amazing British humour, Mark makes the book more human and it helps to understand the absurdity of the wall. This book is really shocking as well and it will make you angry but you cannot put it down as it takes you to the ramble right from the beginning.. and you cannot stop.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A proportional response to the problem, 21 Aug 2011
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This review is from: Extreme Rambling: Walking Israel's Separation Barrier. For Fun. (Paperback)
It must have been quite difficult to write this book, so credit where credit's due! MT has managed to take a highly contentious subject and provide a near perfect mix of humour and poigniance.

Okay, that might be over egging it just a little bit.

What MT does in this book apart from make a series of badly thought out comments to heavily armed soldiers, is to try to make people think about what it feels like to have your life controlled by a series of arbitary rules on a daily basis and he does this by putting himself in exactly that situation. More than once he is told "this road is closed" or "you are not permitted to pass here" with no need it seems, for further explanation. Imagine if this happen to you on your daily commute! Perhaps this is why his book has recieved the usual attention from the 1 star brigade, not because his book is bad but because it may cause some readers to empathise with a people on the recieving end of exactly this treatment. MT doesn't condemn the barrier itself, but he does condemn the policies that have seen babies born and die at checkpoints because the soldiers can't or won't allow the mothers to cross to get proper medical attention, I may be missing something here but if your security system can't find a way to tell a pregnant woman from a suicide bomber before mother and/or baby dies in front of you, then your security system needs to be changed.

I'm probably not selling the funny side of this book enough, and that's wrong of me because this is a funny book, infact my original title for the review was Infanticide with laughs!
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Extreme Rambling: Walking Israel's Separation Barrier. For Fun.
Extreme Rambling: Walking Israel's Separation Barrier. For Fun. by Mark Thomas (Paperback - 14 April 2011)
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