Review by Choice Review
When writing about Israel and Palestine, authors often must choose between breadth and depth. Black (London School of Economics) leans toward breadth, seeking to cover events over the 100 years since the Balfour Declaration. With his journalistic background, the author does an admirable job of bringing multiple perspectives of this highly contested history into a readable distillation of significant events, their causes and consequences, and how they were interpreted at the time, in hindsight, and by various sides. Occasionally, the narrative drifts toward a recitation of body counts as the book describes the cycle of killing, retaliation, and counter-retaliation from Mandatory times through the second intifada. However, the author puts those numbers into context, demonstrating the complexities and connections between the two peoples living as both "enemies and neighbors." Importantly, by selecting the 100-year time frame, Black helps readers put current events into a broad historical context. Writing about contemporary events always runs the risk of being outdated within a week, a risk that has only increased. Nevertheless, by bringing the history up to the inauguration of Donald Trump, Black provides a solid foundation from which to interpret whatever lies ahead. Summing Up: Recommended. All public and academic levels/libraries. --Denise E. Jenison, Kent State University
Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.
Review by New York Times Review
ENEMIES AND NEIGHBORS: Arabs and Jews in Palestine and Israel, 1917-2017, by Ian Black. (Atlantic Monthly, $30.) Black, a veteran correspondent for The Guardian, argues in this sweeping history that Zionism and Palestinian nationalism were irreconcilable from the start, and that peace is as remote as ever. THE KING IS ALWAYS ABOVE THE PEOPLE: Stories, by Daniel Alarcon. (Riverhead Books, $27.) The stories in this slim, affecting work of fiction feature young men in various states of displacement after dictatorship yields to fragile democracy in an unnamed country. Alarcon, who also happens to be a gifted journalist, couples narrative experimentation with imaginative empathy. TEXAS BLOOD: Seven Generations Among the Outlaws, Ranchers, Indians, Missionaries, Soldiers, and Smugglers of the Borderlands, by Roger D. Hodge. (Knopf, $28.95.) Hodge's fervent pastiche of memory and reportage and history tells the story of South Texas as it intersects with generations of his ancestors. SOLAR BONES, by Mike McCormack. (Soho Press, $25.) A civil engineer sits in his kitchen feeling inexplicably disoriented, as if untethered from the world. In fact, he is dead, a ghost, even if he does not realize it. This wonderfully original book owes a debt to modernism but is up to something all its own. ISTANBUL: A Tale of Three Cities, by Bettany Hughes. (Da Capo, $40.) A British scholar known for her popular television documentaries shows readers how a prehistoric settlement evolved through the centuries into a great metropolis, the crossroads where East meets West. THE WRITTEN WORLD: The Power of Stories to Shape People, History, Civilization, by Martin Puchner. (Random House, $32.) Puchner, an English professor at Harvard, makes the case for literature's pervasive importance as a force that has shaped the societies we have built and our very sensibilities as human beings. THE FLOATING WORLD, by C. Morgan Babst. (Algonquin, $26.95.) An inescapable, almost oppressive sense of loss permeates each page of this powerful debut novel about a mixed-race New Orleans family in the days after Hurricane Katrina. As an elegy for a ruined city, it is infused with soulful details. ROBICHEAUX, by James Lee Burke. (Simon & Schuster, $27.99.) The Iberia Parish sheriff's detective tangles with mob bosses and crooked politicians in this latest installment in a crime series steeped in the history and lore of the Louisiana bayous. THREE FLOORS UP, by Eshkol Nevo. (Other Press, paper, $16.95.) Three linked novellas about life in an Israeli apartment building capture the lies we tell ourselves and others in order to construct identity. The full reviews of these and other recent books are on the web: nytimes.com/books
Copyright (c) The New York Times Company [August 30, 2019]
Review by Library Journal Review
The Israeli-Palestinian conflict has a long history, dating back to the 1917 Balfour Declaration that created the original framework for the current struggle. Readers are in dire need of a guide to the complex struggle; now we have one with Black's (coauthor, Israel's Secret Wars) exceptional history of the chronic turmoil that characterized the region in the 20th century. The author narrates the past 100 years of conflict, offering insight into major players such as Palestinian political leader Yasser Arafat; former Israeli prime ministers Yitzhak Rabin, Menachem Begin, and Ariel Sharon; and current prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, among many others. Black goes beyond the ongoing political dialog to peer into the everyday life of average Israeli and Palestinian citizens who struggle to make ends meet in this hostile environment. Black's assessment is a valuable work for anyone interested in trying to untangle the complexities of this ceaseless struggle. VERDICT Based on extensive secondary sources, this history is a valuable contribution to an already expansive body of literature on the subject and essential for all collections.-Ed Goedeken, Iowa State Univ. Lib., Ames © Copyright 2017. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.