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My Promised Land: The Triumph and Tragedy of…
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My Promised Land: The Triumph and Tragedy of Israel

by Ari Shavit

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Excellent book tying Israel's settlement to its troubles today, both internal and external. Options on how best to proceed in the future are set forth and debated. This was a great discussion book. ( )
  bereanna | May 18, 2016 |
It's all there in the subtitle -- the existence of Israel is a triumphant resurgence of a devastated people, but is based on a great wrong done to another people. That is a tragic situation indeed. Mr. Shavit's book is beautifully written and very moving; his love for his country shines through despite his disagreement with many of his country's policies. It is also enormously informative: I learned a great deal about the past and present of Israel that I did not know. The changes within Israel -- political, social, and demographic -- have been far greater than I realized, and are intertwined with the Palestinian problem in many complicated ways. This book helps me understand the Israeli perspective, but it also makes it clear just how complex Israel's problems are at present. ( )
  annbury | Jan 1, 2016 |
This is a beautifully written anecdotal history of the modern state of Israel. The book is a series of stories about various Jews through time, starting in 1897 with the journey of the author's great grandfather from England to Israel. It continues with stories of the early Aliyot, the War of Independence, the wars of the young state, the development of the Dimona project, and on to modern Israel.

It's not intended to be a comprehensive history; in some ways it's more like a memoir, or a family history. The perspective is from the political Left, and I'm told this is a popular book within J Street in America, with which I sympathize.

I thought the book ran a bit long, but it ends with some well-written and heartfelt musings on the problems facing Israel today and how different those problems are from those of the past. ( )
  DanTarlin | Aug 5, 2015 |
Ari Shavit's master opus about the history and future of Israel from a very personal perspective. Whether you agree with his political views or not, the author raises essential questions for the future of Israel. ( )
  alancaro | Apr 19, 2015 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Ari Shavit is a prominent reporter for Haaretz. Shavit is politically left, and an advocate of Israeli peace with Arabs, particularly the end of the occupation of Palestinian lands and the reigning-in of Israeli settlements. This is to say that Shavit is not without his biases. Still, Shavit's panoramic history of Israel, My Promised Land, is a remarkably balanced and powerful vision of Israel's history and future.

Shavit takes the reader through the history of Israel by honing in on one or two events per decade per chapter. Shavit begins with the journey to Palestine, 1897, of his great-grandfather, an English Jew and gentleman who was sympathetic to the need for a Jewish state. Thus Shavit's story is inexorably entwined with Israel. Shavit moves forward at a steady clip, jumping from decade to decade, capturing the remarkable development of the Jewish settlements and, eventually, the Israeli state. His chapter on the establishment of the first kibbutz is particularly well done.

The pace of the book begins to drag a bit as Shavit catches up to recent decades, particularly the beginning of the settlement movement in the 1970s. This is somewhat paradoxical, since these developments are the most relevant to our understanding of recent Middle Eastern history. Still, readers will find here insight that will add nuance to the snippets they here on the evening news. An interview with one of Shavit's Palestinian friends is particularly interesting.

A remarkably well written, heroically scoped memoir/history recommended to readers who are willing to be open-minded and balanced in their approach to Israel and the Middle East. ( )
1 vote LancasterWays | Apr 3, 2015 |
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Book description
A groundbreaking, ambitious, and authoritative examination of Israel by one of the most influential columnists writing about the Middle East today

My Promised Land tells the story of Israel as it has never been told before. Facing unprecedented internal and external pressures, Israel today is at a moment of existential crisis. Through revealing stories of significant events and of ordinary individuals—pioneers, immigrants, entrepreneurs, scientists, army generals, peaceniks, settlers, and Palestinians—Israeli journalist Ari Shavit illuminates many of the pivotal moments of the Zionist century that led Israel to where it is today. We meet the youth group leader who recognized the potential of Masada as a powerful symbol for Zionism; the young farmer who bought an orange grove from his Arab neighbor in the 1920s, and with the Jaffa orange helped to create a booming economy in Palestine; the engineer who was instrumental in developing Israel’s nuclear program; the religious Zionists who started the settler movement. Over an illustrious career that has spanned almost thirty years, Shavit has had rare access to people from across the Israeli political, economic, and social spectrum, and in this ambitious work he tells a riveting story that is both deeply human and of profound historical dimension.

As it examines the complexities and contradictions of the Israeli condition, My Promised Land asks difficult but important questions: Why did Israel come to be? How did it come to be? And can Israel survive? Culminating with an analysis of the issues and threats that Israel is currently facing, both internal and external, My Promised Land uses the defining events of the past to shed new light on the present. The result is a landmark portrait of a small, vibrant country living on the edge, whose identity and presence play a crucial role in today’s global political landscape.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0385521707, Hardcover)

A groundbreaking, ambitious, and authoritative examination of Israel by one of the most influential columnists writing about the Middle East today

My Promised Land tells the story of Israel as it has never been told before. Facing unprecedented internal and external pressures, Israel today is at a moment of existential crisis. Through revealing stories of significant events and of ordinary individuals—pioneers, immigrants, entrepreneurs, scientists, army generals, peaceniks, settlers, and Palestinians—Israeli journalist Ari Shavit illuminates many of the pivotal moments of the Zionist century that led Israel to where it is today. We meet the youth group leader who recognized the potential of Masada as a powerful symbol for Zionism; the young farmer who bought an orange grove from his Arab neighbor in the 1920s, and with the Jaffa orange helped to create a booming economy in Palestine; the engineer who was instrumental in developing Israel’s nuclear program; the religious Zionists who started the settler movement. Over an illustrious career that has spanned almost thirty years, Shavit has had rare access to people from across the Israeli political, economic, and social spectrum, and in this ambitious work he tells a riveting story that is both deeply human and of profound historical dimension.

As it examines the complexities and contradictions of the Israeli condition, My Promised Land asks difficult but important questions: Why did Israel come to be? How did it come to be? And can Israel survive? Culminating with an analysis of the issues and threats that Israel is currently facing, both internal and external, My Promised Land uses the defining events of the past to shed new light on the present. The result is a landmark portrait of a small, vibrant country living on the edge, whose identity and presence play a crucial role in today’s global political landscape.

Praise for My Promised Land
 
“With the heart of a storyteller and the mind of a historian, Ari Shavit has written a powerful and compelling book about the making of modern Israel. No country is more emotionally connected to the United States, and no country’s fate matters more to many Americans. And yet, until Shavit’s My Promised Land, it has been growing more difficult to sense the character of Israel through all the caricatures. This book is vital reading for Americans who care about the future, not only of the United States but of the world.”—Jon Meacham
 
“A beautiful, mesmerizing, morally serious, and vexing book. I’ve been waiting most of my adult life for an Israeli to plumb the deepest mysteries of his country’s existence and share his discoveries, and Ari Shavit does so brilliantly, writing simultaneously like a poet and a prophet. My Promised Land is a remarkable achievement.”—Jeffrey Goldberg, national correspondent, The Atlantic

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:25:43 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

Presents an examination of Israel that traces the events that led the country to its current state of conflict through the stories of everyday citizens to illuminate the importance of lesser-known historical events.

» see all 2 descriptions

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