I visited Gaza dozens of times in 1980 and 1981 when I lived and worked at kibbutz Be'eri in Israel close to the Gaza Strip. Either on my own or with other English and Dutch volunteers we would climb through a hole in the fence and walk to the sea. We were always made very welcome except when we were occasionally stoned by little kids probably thinking we were Israeli. It is saddening to see the mess that is now Gaza and the seemingly intractable problems. This book appealed to me on this basis and I'm glad I've read it. It often makes for uncomfortable reading. The descriptions of the hardship and the behaviour of some members of the IDF in particular. The book contains as much information about the history of Israel/Palestine as anything else, and I know this is important but it forms a huge part of the book. I expected much more of the day to day details of life in Gaza. Sadly the writing is far too emotive in parts and the author is clearly fiercely anti-Zionist and anti-IDF, and there are instances of this which appear to be simply thrown into the book with little relevance to the story other than to reinforce the writer's own beliefs. The resolution of a difficult problem such as this is not made any easier if judgments become fogged with hatred. However, this book is essential reading if you wish to understand what's going on, but try to understand both viewpoints. Israel exists,fact, and will defend itself to the death. It cannot lose a war. If Israel's enemies put down their weapons there would be peace; if Israel did it, there'd be no more Israel. This is the stark reality. I lived among secular Israelis who just wanted a quiet life and were like every one else in the world, and I've also had to run for the air raid shelters many times when the kibbutz was attacked from over the border. Hopefully a lasting peace will one day be found. Jonathan Nicholas, author of'Kibbutz Virgin'