3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Very short, well argued, but difficult for Finkelstein to make a heavyweight analysis of a book as lightweight as Shavit's,
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This review is from: Old Wine, Broken Bottle: Ari Shavit's Promised Land (Paperback)
This is a solid, but very short, critique of Ari Shavit's 'Promised Land'. It's just over 80 fairly small pages with quite large text - and even if you read all the footnotes at the end it's still very short. There isn't that much to it, because compared to historians like Benny Morris, whose work Finkelstein has covered in the past, Ari Shavit is a bit of a lightweight. Shavit has been mostly a comment columnist for newspapers and not a very coherent one, whereas Morris was a serious historian. When criticising Morris' work, Finkelstein was only pointing out the logical conclusions of the historical facts Morris had established in great detail from the sources - and Morris didn't gloss over facts, only try to avoid unpleasant conclusions. With Shavit there are very few facts and little or no coherent arguments at all.
Even with Joan Peters' 'From Time Immemorial' , which wasn't up to Morris' standard Finkelstein was able to check primary sources and show the didn't prove what Peters claimed they proved. Shavit doesn't even have sources for most of his columns.
I felt it should really have been combined with other books to be worth the price for such a short book. Finkelstein's earlier books demolished multiple stories from multiple sources at once. This one only deals with one and a relatively weak one.
Finkelstein does point out some facts that Shavit has glossed over and some of the inconsistencies in it, but if you've read some of Morris and Finkelstein's books you'll know most of it already.