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36 Reviews
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Staggering
This is a sobering and finally profoundly depressing book. For me, at any rate. As a child of refugees from the Nazi terror, who came to Israel believing in "old Zionism", I share Shavit's sense of bewildered disappointment. His constant echo of "where and why did we go wrong" resonates only too clearly. I only wish I could share his final summing up that somehow it will...
Published 5 months ago by jackrock

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4 of 13 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars "...a hardcore of hypocrisy & stupidity overlaid with a tinsel patina of arrogance & pomposity"
Zionist or anti-Zionist, anyone who feels obliged to read this piece of work should read it in conjunction with Norman G. Finkelstein's demolition of it, "Old Wine, Broken Bottle". I suspect no-one will take it at all seriously after they have done so.
Published 3 months ago by p l hall


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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Staggering, 13 Feb 2014
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This is a sobering and finally profoundly depressing book. For me, at any rate. As a child of refugees from the Nazi terror, who came to Israel believing in "old Zionism", I share Shavit's sense of bewildered disappointment. His constant echo of "where and why did we go wrong" resonates only too clearly. I only wish I could share his final summing up that somehow it will turn out all right. But I'm older than he is so perhaps I'm more cynical. This is a must read for anyone who wants to learn the many facets of a small country which occupies a disproportionate place in the politics of the world. I congratulate him.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars highly recommend, 10 Feb 2014
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This review is from: My Promised Land (Hardcover)
excellent perspective on the origins and motivation 0f the israeli state. easy to read and quite captivating. i always admired much of what the israelis have done since post war but also believed that they have the onus of responsibility in resolving the palestinian problem. written by an israeli who sees both sides of the conflict and asks some serious questions of israel. i'd recommend the book particularly for the extremists on both sides of the argument.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Where from there?, 22 Feb 2014
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Francine Palant "Scousefrog" (Liverpool UK) - See all my reviews
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A very genuine and thorough look at Israel situation. It has no blind spot whatsoever. Ari Shavit sees the situation from everyone's point of view and does not possess rose tinted glasses. What Ari Shavit does not offer is a solution. In a sense, it flows from his ability to see everyone's point of view and refusal to take side. If every one is right or at least has a strong claim to righteousness then no-one's right. And where is the compromise? I have rarely read a book about Israel that was so clear headed. But where do we go from there?
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A worthwhile read, 8 Mar 2014
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In the introduction to his book, Ari Shavat writes of " a personal odyssey.. exploring the wider narrative of his nation. Through family history, personnal history and in depth interviews... What has happened in my homeland for over a century that has brought us to where we are now? What was achieved here and what went wrong here, and where are we heading?"
His chapters focus on incidents with family, personal and historical significance that led from the (mainly) well intentioned,19th century Zionist dreams of a homeland in Palestine to the present unhappy situation in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories. For example: the hopes and energy of the kibbutz movement; the growth of tit-for-tat terrorism; the ethnic cleansing of the 1948 war; and the relentless grind of occupation and repression in the remnant of Palestine that may one day form a homeland for the Palestinians. He writes about the twin problems that need to be faced: 'intimidation', felt by the Jewish Israelis who fear the Arab majority around them; and 'occupation', suffered by a disposessed Palestinian people, but also corrrupting the Israeli occupiers. Honest, with some glimmers of hope.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Insightful and balanced view of Israel, 4 Mar 2014
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Highly readable and beautifully written, My Promised Land presents the miracle of Israel alongside the tragedy of the displacement of and war with Palestinians.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Compulsive read, 5 Feb 2014
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This review is from: My Promised Land (Hardcover)
Decided to buy this book after reading a review in The Economist. Couldn't put it down one started it. Gives very objective view of the origins and on going existence for the State of Israel. Well balanced views.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A tour de force, 5 Feb 2014
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Written with conviction, passion and alacrity, this book tells the story of zionism, warts and all and without cynicism or mocking retribution.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must for anyone wanting a readable narrative on the core issues that have driven the current situation in Israel, 2 May 2014
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Like many (non-Jewish) people the situation in Israel is at times distressing but understanding its roots and drivers has been difficult unless you have the time and patience to wade through often verbose and thoroughly unreadable tomes. Ari Shavit tries as hard as he can to make the history of modern day Israel understandable. He pulls no punches when it comes to explaining the why things area as they are - but through the combination of personal history, candid interviews and highlighting the double sided nature of what has happened he finds a way of weaving a story that is (mostly) balanced and educational. For the first time, I understand much better the plight of the palestinians - from the beginning of the Zionist thrust post WW2 that stemmed from a need for a secure place to avoid further (Holocaust type) persecution through to the more recent settlements of the West Bank. I also think that because the book deals with the more recent (2013/14) situation vis a vis Iran, it offers a unique perspective looking forwards as to what might be in the pipeline to come. Rarely have I found a book (last one was Guns, Germs and Steel, Jared Diamond) that is impossible to put down.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars superb, thought-provoking and deeply challenging, 11 April 2014
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Ari Shavit's view of Israeli history is personal and yet enables the reader to see the perspectives of all concerned
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Breathtakingly sharp analysis of Israel past and present., 3 April 2014
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Shavit's narrative is unlike any other account of Israel that I have read: deeply personal, part poetic, part elegiac, part polemic. Parts of the analysis may be flawed but the writing is majestic and one cannot doubt the integrity of the endeavour nor the intent to write a balanced account of the Zionist quest to settle the land.
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My Promised Land: The Triumph and Tragedy of Israel
My Promised Land: The Triumph and Tragedy of Israel by Ari Shavit (Hardcover - 16 Jan 2014)
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