Saturday, January 9, 2016

Book Review: Arab and Jew: Wounded Spirits in a Promised Land by David K. Shipler

ISBN: 0553447513
Published: November 10th, 2015
Publisher: Broadway Books
Read from December 25th to 31st, 2015
Synopsis from Goodreads:
The expanded and updated edition of David Shipler's Pulitzer Prize-winning book that examines the relationship, past and present, between Arabs and Jews
In this monumental work, extensively researched and more relevant than ever, David Shipler delves into the origins of the prejudices that exist between Jews and Arabs that have been intensified by war, terrorism, and nationalism.
Focusing on the diverse cultures that exist side by side in Israel and Israeli-controlled territories, Shipler examines the process of indoctrination that begins in schools; he discusses the far-ranging effects of socioeconomic differences, historical conflicts between Islam and Judaism, attitudes about the Holocaust, and much more. And he writes of the people: the Arab woman in love with a Jew, the retired Israeli military officer, the Palestinian guerrilla, the handsome actor whose father is Arab and whose mother is Jewish.
For Shipler, and for all who read this book, their stories and hundreds of others reflect not only the reality of "wounded spirits" but also a glimmer of hope for eventual coexistence in the Promised Land. 


This book is an excellent look at a very complicated situation. It stays away from taking a side in the conflict and instead talks to both Jews and Arabs within Israel and Palestine to learn about their points-of-view. There is an examination of prejudice and terrible acts on both sides of the conflict as well as more optimistic stories.

It really feels like there's no a stone left unturned in this book. The book explores the wars themselves, the role each education system plays in influencing children, feelings on intermarriage between Arabs and Jews, and more, It's hard to imagine being able to explore it all so well in only one book, but this book does it excellently.

While the book was originally published decades ago, the revised edition discusses both where things haven't changed much and provides any new relevant information. The way it was done (keeping much of the original text but adding post scripts to discuss what's happened since) provided a way to see both what has and hasn't changed since the first edition of the book was published.

I would highly recommend this book to anyone hoping to learn more about the conflict. It is an excellent source for learning more about it in depth.

I received this book from the Blogging for Books program in exchange for this review.

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