Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

Pumpkinflowers: A Soldier's Story by…

Pumpkinflowers: A Soldier's Story (2016)

by Matti Friedman

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
10837111,760 (4.28)4



Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 4 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 37 (next | show all)
ספר שעומד מחוץ לזאנרים המקובלים. חצי רפורטז'ה עיתונאית, חצי זכרונות, חצי סיפור מלחמה, חצי מצבה לנופלים שנכתבה על ידי מישהו שהוא בפנים (ישראלי) אבל בחוץ (קנדי) . אני קראתי את הספר בעברית אבל הגרסה העברית לא מופיעה עדיין באתר. אני חייב לומר שהספר מרתק. קראתי אותו בישיבה אחת תוך שלוש שעות של שבת בנשימה עצורה. מצאתי בו גם מגרעות אבל הן מתגמדות לאור העניין והחוויה. כמי שהכל מוכר לו גם כחפ"ש וגם כמי שחקר את רצועת הביטחון העניין האישי שלי היה גדול. התיאור שלו של החיילים הוא כל כך שונה מהתיאורים שאנחנו רגילים להם שהוא מעורר געגועים לישראל שכנראה היתה וכבר לא תהיה. ספר פטריוטי מאוד שבאופן מוזר יכולתי גם להזדהות אתו. ( )
  amoskovacs | Mar 11, 2017 |
This book has made the 2016 RBC Taylor Prize shortlist. The Charles Taylor prize honours Canadian literary non-fiction authors. The full title of this book is called "Pumpkinflowers: a Soldier's Story of a Forgotten War". Matti Friedman writes of his personal experience of the often forgotten Israeli-Lebanese War. From the late 70’s until the end of the 20 century, Israel occupied Lebanon. This book tells about Matti Friedman’s first-hand experience of this occupation and his part in defending a small hill in Lebanon called The Pumpkin. Matti Friedman is an Israeli-Canadian journalist who was born in Canada, and then made aliyah (the immigration of Jews from other countries to the Land of Israel). As part of this pilgrimage he was conscripted to serve in the Israeli army when he was a young man of 20. This book is about Matti’s experiences in this war on this hill. Matti delves into the history of the defence of this hill in his story as well. In a way it is a coming-of-age story about a young man who was forced to grow up on this hill in Lebanon called The Pumpkin. You may ask, “Where does the title come from if it is about a war in Lebanon?” Well, on The Pumpkin, casualties were referred to as “flowers” . This is a story of war and its everlasting effects on the people who fight in them. And is a story of the birth of a new era in the Middle East. The world has seen a totally different war in the 21 century. It is a war that is not confined to a field, or a hill or on the sea. It is a war that is fought on the streets and in the schools, churches and government buildings of countries all over the world. In this book we see the rise of the Hezbollah and what that group and others like it have done to change the Middle East. Friedman’s prose is stark and unrelenting. His story about himself and his fellow soldiers on The Pumpkin is one that will not be forgotten by anyone who reads his book. ( )
  Romonko | Jan 21, 2017 |
This one is a nice, really nice, welcome change of pace from all the Iraq and Afghanistan books that have come out in the last 10/15 years in regards to ... well, to pretty much everything. It is also very different from the big picture stuff that studies the 6 days and Yom Kippur wars.

So what is that you can find in this book and not in the aforementioned ones. Well, for starters this is a book narrating events from the 90s, and the author excels at giving plenty of pop culture references to that decade, be ready to revisit, or discover, some Backstreet Boys and The Cranberries songs.

The book also explores and reflects on the dynamics of a conscripted army, which to boot has a really young officer corps. So there's plenty of what are the motivations of a conscript, a conscript of a "besieged" country, a conscript that may have been born in Israel or far away, a conscript that may or may not be a Jew.

Also this is not memoir, it would be more apt to describe this book as "the tale of a COP" or stretching it as "the tale of the last days of the security zone" (that being the security zone inside Lebanon that the Israeli armed forces used to police). And to tell that tale the author includes his own experiences in the zone as a chapter, but also he has interviewed plenty of other veterans and civilians involved in the story which made up the other chapters.

The book scores extra points for being written in a way in which each death comes as, not a surprise but, a shock. There's plenty of war books out there that when recounting the events make pretty clear what is coming and who is going to die, not this one, in this one even when you know that someone is going to die the final moment comes a shock.

If you were born in the late 70s or early 80s the constant reflections of the author about how much time has passed since the events narrated will probably resonate with you.

Finally, my only complaint is with the English used by the writer as it shows that he is more used to express himself in Hebrew ... but it more than makes up for it with his sense of humor ...

"After rotating out of the line and boarding a civilian bus home a girl soldier would sometimes slip in next to me—a clerk or instructor coming from one of the safe bases inside Israel where such olive-drab unicorns roamed free,..." ( )
  emed0s | Dec 9, 2016 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
An interesting book to say the least. Sheds a new light on the conflicts in the Middle East and the ramifications of them from a different perspective then most. An excellent read.
  JacobDecker | Dec 8, 2016 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Despite its constant presence in the news media, much of the conflict in the Middle East remains confusing and misunderstood by many Americans. Matti Friedman's Pumpkinflowers sheds light on one of those stories, that of the conflict between Lebanese Hezbollah forces and Israel. Centering around an Israeli outpost built on a hill called "The Pumpkin," Friedman's book chronicles not only his own experiences, but those of another soldier, Avi, who's diary recounts his own time on the hill. As with the best military memoirs, Friedman strikes a good balance between memoir and analysis, between conflict and the efforts to end that conflict. A good read for anyone interested in current Middle Eastern politics or combat stories. ( )
  lpmejia | Oct 12, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 37 (next | show all)
no reviews | add a review
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
First words
Nights on the hill were unusually long.
Last words
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Publisher series
Original language

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English


Book description
Haiku summary

No descriptions found.

No library descriptions found.

Quick Links

Swap Ebooks Audio
1 avail.
5 wanted
3 pay1 pay

Popular covers


Average: (4.28)
2 1
2.5 1
3 4
3.5 2
4 12
4.5 1
5 19

LibraryThing Early Reviewers Alumn

Pumpkinflowers by Matti Friedman was made available through LibraryThing Early Reviewers. Sign up to possibly get pre-publication copies of books.

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.


You are using the new servers! | About | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 113,306,197 books! | Top bar: Always visible