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Arabs & Israel for Beginners (Writers and…
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Arabs & Israel for Beginners (Writers and Readers Series)

by Ron David

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I remember first reading this book many many years ago.
After reading it I ended up taking several courses in Political Science and Middle East history at university, and have read all of the classic academic works from Noam Chomsky and Norman Finkelstein to Edward Said, Israel Shahak, Charles Smith and Ilan Pappe.
I now know my Middle East history back and forth, and have spent years researching and reading on this topic.

This book is an absolutely excellent introduction onto the subject. Easy to read and fast. I'd recommend it for ALL interested people with little knowledge of the Arab-Israeli conflict and Israeli history. It is the perfect stepping stone onto larger more academic works.

The only fault in this book is that the writing is slightly emotionally loaded, which isn't 'proper' for an academic or scholarly work. But that does not take away from the facts that this book is replete with, and it achieves its objective to be a beginner's run-through of the history of the area from ancient times to present, and that is why I give it 5 stars. ( )
  ts. | Aug 22, 2011 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0863161618, Paperback)

DESCRIPTION: Most of the literature on the Middle East is so distorted in favor of Israel that it bears virtually no relationship to the truth. Anyone who wants the truth must dig through daunting works by people like Chomsky, Lilienthal, Said and a handful of other scholarly writers. But when it comes to books written in plain English for regular people there is virtually nothing, just a huge gap. ARABS & ISRAEL FOR BEGINNERS, part of the 30-year running "Beginners Series," was written to fill that gap. The very identity of the series (which could be described in a word as "anti-footnote") is to communicate complex subjects with clarity and wit so that regular people can understand them. It is a concept perfectly suited to Democracy, especially when it is as painstakingly researched as this book.

In the simplest, most general terms the author’s sources for ARABS & ISRAEL were as follows: 1) The sections on Early (pre-Israel) Palestine are primarily from "Encyclopedia Britannica" under the heading of "Palestine." An interesting secondary source for Early Middle Eastern History is Larry Gornick's "Cartoon History of the Universe," amazingly accurate for all of its humor. 2) A major source on the creation of modern Israel is Noam Chomsky's "The Fateful Triangle," which documents everything of importance up to and including Israel's 1982 invasion of Lebanon. 3) The details of Israel's invasion are from "Israel's Lebanon War," written by Israeli reporters Schiff & Ya'ari, and pre-approved by the Israeli Army. 4) "Taking Sides," an astonishing book by Stephen Green, covers the period from pre-Israel through the 1967 Six Day War by using only recently declassified U.S. State Dept. documents. 5) "While Six Million Died" by Arthur Morse is a prime source for Holocaust information. 6) "A Concise History of the Middle East" by Arthur Goldschmidt is the source for much of the info from Muhammad to the end of the 19th century.

Since it was the author’s goal to learn the real truth (not one side’s version of it), he never settled for only one source on anything. If he couldn’t corroborate it he didn’t use it. In virtually every case, the author used Israeli or Jewish sources (including Israeli newspapers) to "prove" the Arab side of the story; or irrefutably "white bread" sources (like "Britannica") that, if they bent the truth, would NOT bend it to favor the Arabs; or official documents available to anyone (Wilson's King Crane Commission Report; U.S. State Dept. documents uncovered by Stephen Green; facts [population, etc.] underlying the UN's 1947 partition of Palestine, etc.).

ARABS & ISRAEL FOR BEGINNERS tells the plain truth in plain English – with a sense of humor! In the words of John Mahoney, Executive Director of Americans for Middle East Understanding: "Take the research of Noam Chomsky, enliven it with skillful drawings, then trace 12,000 years of turbulent history with the irreverence of Saturday Night Live, and you have Ron David’s ARABS & ISRAEL FOR BEGINNERS."

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:33:17 -0400)

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