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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 read and examination of the development and troubles involved in the establishment of Israel as a homeland for the Jewish people. Through stories of the experiences of generations beginning in 1897 the Arab-Israeli conflict is outlined in a compassionate and neutral fashion. ( )
  CarterPJ | Jul 25, 2014 |
Having traveled to Israel 20+ years ago, this book fascinated me. The author's background fascinated me - his great grandfather came from England. The book has a lot of interviews with people on both side of the politics of the region. A lot of really good, moving insight but it got to the point where it was just rehashed too often and got old. Well worth the read as far as you can get but needed to end about 30% faster than it did. ( )
  lizmacd | Jun 16, 2014 |
It has taken me awhile for me to write this review of Ari Shavit's My Promised Land: The Triumph and Tragedy of Israel. I'm pretty sure that this review will be adequate at best. I am not sure that I'll be able to express how much I really enjoyed this book.

Because I did.

Immensely.

Shavit takes the reader in a journey from Israel's humble beginnings in 1897 being ""discovered"" and recolonized after their diaspora from Babylon to the 2000's dot-com revolution. Shavit is unflinching in his telling of his country's history. He talks about of the good: the Jewish people's tenancity and willings to survive nearly everything that was thrown at them. He recounts the mental anguish and toll the holocaust took on them.

Shavit discusses the bad as well. Such as their willingness to ignore the Arab prescence already living in Palestine and how they had to other facts or gloss them over in order to survive. He elaborates on how Israel has change with current climate. It has become more open. I especially enjoyed the chapter on the night club owner. Israel is slowly becoming more open about homosexuality. But it was also sad about the prevalent drug use among the young people. Just another way to survive.

There were other aspects and chapters that were incredibly interesting. I like the chapter on the nuclear power plant the best. It was intriguing as how the Israelies saw it as a means of protection but recognized it as a very dangerous weapon. Learning about Israel as a whole made me realized how much I didn't even know and never knew about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I hate when great books make me feel ignorant but I appreciated it.

Shavit's My Promised Land is the epitome of love. He is a left wing but was incredibly objective during his interviews. He got passionate but he listened and kept his anger in check. I believed his love and adoration for his country. He was inspired by Israel but aware of its shortcomings. ( )
  Y2Ash | Apr 16, 2014 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Anytime you read anything on Israel, it’s important to know the perspective of the author. The introduction is helpfully candid as the author gives a short bio and lets us know he writes for the leading liberal paper, but has sparred with the right & left as he’s grasped the complexity of the Israel situation. I felt he did a good job representing a wide variety of perspectives fairly, without veiling whom he agreed with. (I would comment that the focus is undeniably secular, there’s no mention of the Christian minorities, either Arab or Jewish, and his treatment of the Orthodox Jews doesn’t convince me he understands them at all.) The writing was fantastic and the story quite gripping. I thought it covered a lot of ground and made me understand, as it is well sub-titled, the triumph & tragedy of Israel. After reading it, I feel like I understand the existential crisis that made Jewish people, as a globally oppressed minority, to try to find a safe haven. I respect the amazing work and things they did to form and hold a country in the place they did. But I grieve for the awful things they did to get there. In order to survive, I was able to see how and why the oppressed became the oppressor, however reluctantly, after they realized there was no peaceful way to create their state. Ari Shavit tells all these things candidly and powerfully. I highly recommend this book to anyone curious about the history of the modern state of Israel. ( )
  deferredreward | Mar 23, 2014 |
An odd book, told mainly through biographies of various Israelis (and pre-Israelis), which argues among other things that Israel’s practice of having nuclear weapons but not acting as if its strategy depended on such weapons was highly successful for many years but has been destabilized by Iran and by the settlements, which have destroyed any prospect for peace. Another depressing book, which suggests that Israel’s right-wing Orthodox groups have both opted out of protecting the state (both militarily and economically) and successfully prevented any withdrawal from settlements in the Occupied Territories. Shav argues that peace supporters also erred by promising land for peace; even if Israel now surrenders territory, there will be no peace; but at least some abuses and injustices would stop worsening. ( )
  rivkat | Mar 10, 2014 |
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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 Mon, 30 Sep 2013 14:28:06 -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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