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Defending Identity

3.76  ·  Rating Details ·  67 Ratings  ·  12 Reviews
"'(A) lively and entertaining read, fast-paced and well-told, informed throughout both by Chalabi loyalists and by those who have fallen out with him..." The New Statesman "(An) extraordinary investigative biography by talented young Emmy award-winning journalist Aram Roston. The book, which reads like a thriller, tells the story of Chalabi from his days as a young MIT ...more
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published June 3rd 2008 by PublicAffairs (first published April 1st 2008)
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Defending Identity by Natan Sharansky

John Lennon, a fool believed by far too many, one wrote the words:
“Imagine there's no countries
It isn't hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace

You may say that I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will be as one “

In his plea for one world dominated by a socialist monster similar to that which dwelt in the Soviet Union, Lennon's fantasy utopia was a
Charlene Mathe
Jul 16, 2012 Charlene Mathe rated it it was amazing
Definitely one of my personal top 100 books, and I think one of the most important books of the decade. Natan Sharansky alerts us to the urgency of a strong national identity for survival. Without this, we will be absorbed by an agency with stronger identity.
For example, the eruption of political Islam around the world succeeds to the extent that it is advancing a strong sense of identity. This aggressive assurance easily overcomes Western equivocation, despite otherwise superior wealth and arm
Feb 28, 2011 Darla rated it really liked it
An amazing story from a man who lived under Stalin's Soviet Union and spent 9 years in its gulag. Sharanski was a bit repetitive throughout the book, but I felt like he was hammering home some very important points about a world gone wrong, a world that is so in love with a leftist "peace-at-all-odds" ideology that it is willing to destroy the culture and true diversity of the world's people, especially those of white, Christian or Jewish descent. All this in a misguided attempt to obliterate ...more
Sep 14, 2016 Jerry rated it really liked it
Sharansky’s thesis is that:

…the best defense of the free world will come from those who cherish a unique way of life, for they will always have a life truly worth defending.

He prefers the mosaic approach to national subcultures rather than the melting pot, “strengthening hyphenation, not erasing it… To erase these particulars is to erase culture itself.”

For example, he comes out unequivocally against laws against showing identity in public, such banning headscarves in France to suppress Muslim o
Heather Denkmire
Oct 04, 2010 Heather Denkmire rated it liked it
Certainly a thought-provoking book. I'll admit I came to it with a great deal of skepticism since it is one of the only books George W. Bush has not only read but recommended to his staff (given copies, even). The filter I heard it through was definitely on guard.

I'll blog about it, I think, since there were so many issues of interest to me. Frankly, I think his view of the world being so anti-identity isn't accurate. I don't know the world, obviously, but I found his definition of identity to b
Aug 03, 2008 Julie rated it really liked it
As a library student I assumed this book was about privacy rights and the defense of individual identity. Nope, this instead is a fascinating examination of how individual freedom and group identity (such as religion) interact. Sharansky argues that instead of opposing forces, that personal freedom and social identity strengthen each other.

His arguments had me questioning many of my comfortable leftist views. That is not to say that Sharansky is simply to the right of me, but that he has views
Joseph D. Walch
Apr 15, 2010 Joseph D. Walch rated it really liked it
I always love a good Arab/Israeli controversy--especially when the Israeli arguments are so solid and fundamental.

It's a good book that gives a different perspective of multiculturalism; not the progressive left's brand of blind cultural tolerance, but of what can be more accuratly called pluralism. It's a respect for identity and culture that acknowledges shared values and shuns cultural relativism, which condemns open free societies of minor legal infringments while accepting major human right
Jan 23, 2014 Sherry rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Sherry by: Charlene Mathe
What is the difference between celebrating diversity and maintaining one's own identity? What is the relationship between democracy and a strong national identity? Natan Sharansky's is the voice of experience, having been raised in the Soviet Union. He eloquently tackles these subjects. He shares his inspired insight into the Arab/Israeli conflict. This book should be widely circulated and taken to heart. The leaders of this world need to know what is in this book!
JoséMaría BlancoWhite
"Identity without democracy can become fundamentalist and totalitarian. Democracy without identity can become superficial and meaningless." Spain is one of those countries that has lost both. We're practically inviting our Islamist north-African neighbors to come take over. A Balcanized peninsula in the making.

But this essay by a former political prisoner of the Soviet gulag, and reborn Jewish Israeli is an eye opener to all the world who has not lost its senses yet, in common-sense, plain langu
Jun 15, 2013 Dovofthegalilee rated it did not like it
Perhaps it's because this is the third of Sharansky's books I've read inside of a year but they all seem to bleed into one another. I respect what the man endured and I'm sure he had a story to tell but by this book it becomes redundant- we don't want to hear you go on about the things you formerly said! If you've got a new idea then share it. Also I find it interesting that his market group is English speakers, English speaking Jews, try getting other Jewish Russians to read your books here in ...more
Jul 07, 2015 Erica rated it it was amazing
Shelves: israel
Sharansky's is a voice of moral clarity; his exposition of the critical importance of both democracy and identity (personal, communal and national) and their relationship is indispensible to understanding what has driven the ideology that creates a worldview. It is one of the most significant books I have read.
Jewish Awakening
Oct 21, 2013 Jewish Awakening rated it it was amazing
Sharansky has been a pillar of Zionist advocacy ever since he discovered that the Soviets wanted to crush his identity. He has led a principled fight for the human right to pursue the identity of your choice. This perspective drove him to tie Soviet Jewry and Zionism to democratic freedom.
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Anatoly Borisovich Shcharansky (later Natan Sharanky) was born in Stalino, Soviet Union on January 20, 1948 to a Jewish family. He graduated with a degree in applied mathematics from Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology. As a child, he was a chess prodigy. He performed in simultaneous and blindfold displays, usually against adults. At the age of 15, he won the championship in his native ...more
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