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The Haj by Leon Uris

The Haj (1984)

by Leon Uris

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1,310178,980 (3.61)29
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An Arab ruler tries to save his people from destruction but cannot save them from themselves. When violence spreads like a plague across the lands of Palestine--this is the time of The Haj.
  JRCornell | Dec 8, 2018 |
On a purely aesthetic level, I enjoyed this book. Judging it purely as a novel, I'd rate it higher; I like Uris's writing style and the plot drew me in. But as a work of historical fiction, it scores lower for me. Without knowing enough about the Arab-Israeli conflict to be able to specifically dispute any of the historical analysis implied by the story, I came away feeling that the it couldn't be anything other than biased. As I recall it, the Jews come off as nobler people, entirely wronged and victimized whereas the Arabs are depicted as having a fundamental racial or social flaw which is the root of all conflict in the region. Even though the major characters are all presented sympathetically, they can't overcome the fundamental problem that all Arabs are craven (at best) or evil. I was frustrated with the treatment and came away with a bad feeling about the book. ( )
  dan4mayor | Jun 28, 2018 |
Enjoyed especially the Arab-Jew conflict and causes.
  wanderland | Apr 30, 2017 |
Once again Bookbub steps into my life and makes it just a little bit better. I have read several Leon Uris books over the years: QBVII, Trinity, Exodus. What I most enjoy about his novels is the depth of research he undertook. These are historical fiction but the history is so well researched that it really enhances the story.

The Haj is no exception. It is an examination of end of the British Empire’s days in Palestine, the establishment of an Israeli state and the role of the Muslim world in trying to ensure that many nations secured space or a piece of the pie in the Holy Land.

If you ever wondered about the more modern day roots of the Palestinian conflict, this book is an excellent fictional primer. It delivers the background and explains all the conflicting interests at work.

Each country in the Middle East has strong tribal affiliations that transcend geopolitical interests, Islamism , nationality or ethnicity. Many countries look down upon the Palestinians even as they claim to make war in the Palestinian interest. The real interest is always the same – money.

It also shows in fictional form that personal relationships so often, are more important and deep than national conflicts or ethnic conflicts. In the end, we have far more in common than we don’t but we cannot overcome our base nature.

The story revolves around Ishmael, a Palestinian boy who views the conflict and informs his father’s decision making process as he (the father) is the Haj of a large village in Palestine. As such, he is responsible for all the people there and when trouble strikes, he must take his whole village and resettle them as refugees in Jordan.

It shows the complications of friendships between Palestinians and Israeli’s. It undertakes the discussion of women’s roles in a complex Bedouin society as well as under a fundamental Muslim household. It attempts to explain the treatment of refugees during that period as they attempt to resettle in Beirut, Jordan, The West Bank and Egypt.

It also attempts to explain the role of the freedom fighters and young people who become terrorists and martyrs because there is virtually no other hope for them. Their life choices are limited by birth order, by education, by skill, by village position. It definitely helped me understand where the world is today while having the benefit of reading a well written story.

If a book club is looking for a combination of fiction and history, I suggest they look into any of Leon Uris’ historical fiction books. They are lengthy but engrossing and there is enough discussion for two book club sessions. Five stars. ( )
  ozzie65 | Feb 20, 2017 |
Fictional account of the early Arab/Israeli conflict ( )
  JackSweeney | Jan 10, 2017 |
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Young Ibrahim quietly took his place at his father's bedside, watching the old man wheeze out his final scene.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0553248642, Mass Market Paperback)

Leon Uris retums to the land of his acclaimed  best-seller Exodus for an epic  story of hate and love, vengeance and forgiveness and  forgiveness. The Middle East is the powerful  setting for this sweeping tale of a land where revenge  is sacred and hatred noble. Where an Arab ruler  tries to save his people from destruction but  cannot save them from themselves. When violence  spreads like a plague across the lands of  Palestine--this is the time of The  Haj.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:12:32 -0400)

The Middle East is the powerful setting for this sweeping tale of a land where revenge is sacred and hatred noble. Where an Arab ruler tries to save his people from destruction but cannot save them from themselves.

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