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on 10 March 2017
Interesting and informative
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on 30 March 2017
A must read
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on 3 April 2017
Well written and very informative. I have a much better understanding of the geo/politics in the region today.
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on 21 June 2017
10/10
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on 11 January 2016
It is an important book to read but it has its blind spots. Overall his love of Israel and pride in its achievements shines through and it is a thoughtful and cutting analysis. Key personalities with their strengths and weaknesses loom large on the page. Like so many Israeli's of conscience it is not reticent in pointing out where in his judgement mistakes and wrongdoings have been committed. But while he highlights the 'blindness' of the early Zionists in recognising the significance of the Arabs who also regarded the land as their home, he continues to be blind to the Palestinians as dynamic counterparts to the story of Israel and as key players in the current dilemma's. They are not given agency or responsibility.
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on 2 May 2014
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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on 2 April 2014
I have long felt the need to be more objectively critical of Israel's governance and found Ari Shavit's
guidance and explanation invaluable. Ari's coverage of the contemporary birth of the Israeli state is both accurate and compassionate.It lays an excellent understanding for helping people to make a better assessment of how to be critical of current Israeli government behaviour and policy whilst respecting the sacrifices made by thousands of Jewish people to build a just society which can give them a sense of security they have been long denied and mercilessly persecuted for.
Essential reading for non Jewish people and it would help if more bigotted members of the Jewish community read it too.
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on 5 February 2014
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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on 10 February 2014
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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on 13 February 2014
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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