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Arab and Jew: Wounded Spirits in a Promised Land

4.01  ·  Rating Details ·  465 Ratings  ·  56 Reviews
The Jew, according to the Arab stereotype, is a brutal, violent coward; the Arab, to the prejudiced Jew, is a primitive creature of animal vengeance and cruel desires. In this monumental work, David Shipler delves into the origins of the prejudices that have been intensified by war, terrorism, and nationalism. Focusing on the diverse cultures that exist side by side in Isr ...more
Paperback, 608 pages
Published December 31st 2001 by Penguin Books (first published 1986)
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Dec 27, 2009 David added it

In the late 1970s and early 1980s, the toy company Kenner produced Star Wars action figures (a.k.a. plastic dolls, with guns). Kenner therefore is responsible in many ways for developing my imagination. For example, many a languorous August afternoon, I had the Walrus Man action figure give it to the Princess Leia (Bespin Gown) action figure straight up the butt. Of course, I didn't really know or understand the precise mechanics of what they were supposed to be doing, but I was sure it was very
Aug 18, 2007 JK rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: arabs and jews
To those who've ever wanted to understand how complex the Israeli/Palestinian situation is, please read this. The saddest part of the book is when you finish it, turn to the copyright page, realize it was written in 1984 and that zero progress has been made since.
Oct 25, 2010 Patrick rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sharon Huether
I won this book through Goodreads First-reads. This book is the revised from the original book published in 1986. Jews and Arabs in Israel; they are a parallel, some times close together and other times a far off. The people of Palestine have a memory of what was once theirs. Israel is a very complicated area, with Arabs and Jews living together. Arabs have lived in terror and survive by terror. At one time the Arabs and Jews were together in their efforts to fight off the Assyrians in 843 BC. S ...more
Nov 11, 2015 Michelle rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who wants to understand the situation from the human perspective
Shelves: mine-dead-tree, gg, 900
I finish this book a more knowledgeable person, a person with more insight into not only this situation but of humanity. I'm also walking away with a stronger sense of gratitude than ever for the luxury of my life. I'd like to say that I ended it with hope, but that wouldn't quite be true. It's more a hope of having hope.

I feel as though I should say more about this magnificent 700 page volume, but my heart feels a bit bruised from reading it and I find that I have no more words.

I received a co
Dec 16, 2010 Miquixote rated it it was ok
Admirably tries to play neutral, but he ends up playing the middle ground too much. Time to admit apartheid.
Jun 16, 2015 Quo rated it it was amazing
Arab & Jew: Wounded Spirits in a Promised Land by David Shipler is an extraordinary, powerful & balanced glimpse at life in Israel & the Palestinian Territories by the former New York Times correspondent, based in Jerusalem. I found the book quite engrossing because it seemed so open to the people who live there and to the possibilities, however slim, for an eventual reconciliation between the Arabs & Jews who share and contest the area also known as the Holy Land. To be sure, th ...more
Four and a half stars, but I particularly like this author's writing in the parts about Palestinian and Israeli-Jewish youngsters coming together and maybe giving us some hope for the future ... or then again maybe not, as the more things change (since the 80s when this book was written) the more they remain the same (like in the updating footnotes of this revised edition). This is a very informative book. I have a hard time understanding how ANYone thought in the 1940s that establishing the sta ...more
Sep 15, 2015 Aviv rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads
For anyone reading, as part of the FTC regulations, I must admit that I had received this book completely and absolutely free of charge from the good people at Goodreads. They did not make me send them any of my children, any of my cats or any rectangular pieces of paper with the visage of George Washington on it. As far as the book is concerned, while I was intrigued and very much looked forward to reading, I had a terribly difficult time reading it due to the fact that at the times I was able ...more
Jul 13, 2014 Martin rated it it was amazing
This is one of the best books on the Arab Israeli issue I have ever read. Since I've read over 200 books on the topic- that actually carries some weight. Quite balanced, really.
Todd Brown
Aug 02, 2011 Todd Brown rated it really liked it
Amazing how tangled this web is. If you think you know who is right and wrong here then you need to read this book.
Nathan Albright
Jan 01, 2016 Nathan Albright rated it really liked it
Shelves: challenge
[Note: This book was provided free of charge by Blogging For Books/BDWY Books in exchange for an honest review.]

Although this book is written with an excellent prose style, having won a Pulitzer Prize when it was first published in the mid-1980's from an author known for his general left wing views when it comes to race and class in the United States of America, it is a difficult book to read. This is true for at least a couple of reasons. For one, the book is exceedingly long, about 700 pages.
Oct 12, 2015 Julie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own, non-fiction
“Hatreds burn. They mix with sorrow and pride and helplessness and a furious zeal.” Winner of the 1987 Pulitzer, this revised and updated volume is a comprehensive portrait of the ongoing conflict between the inhabitants of Israel. Most of this review is going to reference quotes because Shipler so eloquently defines what it means to be an Israeli (whether Jew or Arab). In the original forward, Shipler examines the profound impact that living in Jerusalem had on him: “At times a rush of anger wo ...more
John Wiswell
Aug 22, 2008 John Wiswell rated it it was amazing
The most thorough examination of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict that you are likely to ever find. Shipler worked with the New York Times in Israel for years before taking the time off to compile this book. Within he quotes interviews with and observations of public discussions with hundreds of people, ranging from government officials, police, military, and civilians living at all levels of integration and conflict.

To many Americans this is just two factions of religious nutjobs blowing each o
Haley Keller
Jul 06, 2016 Haley Keller rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: re-read
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 ch
Jan 10, 2010 Steve rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Mid 4. An informative account of the political, social, and religious divide which chracterises the relationship between these two peoples, and the turbulent and tragic history which has resulted.With its detailed and moving personal testimonies, Shipler's work captures the commonly missing human dimension behind the conflict. The first part of the book deftly summarises the historical and cultural background to their struggle, while the second explores the role of education and the media in sha ...more
Pat Murphy
Oct 10, 2015 Pat Murphy rated it liked it
Finally finished this. The reason I gave this only 3 stars is that the subject matter was tough to get through for the most of it. It is a very informative book about the conflicts and tension within Isreal's borders. That is a tough subject. One thing to keep in mind if you are considering this book is that it was written in the mid eighties. Not that I can say anything has changed, but there are new issues that did not exist back then. The author comes across as very unobtrusive but now and th ...more
May 15, 2011 Jacob rated it really liked it
Really fascinating book about the Arab-Israeli conflict. I think it did a pretty good job being objective and discussing both sides. Shipler focused more on the human stories than the political history, which was fine with me, although I would like to learn more about the history. The book was originally written in the 1980s and was revised slightly with more recent information in the early 2000s. Would be interesting to learn about how things are now, especially in light of Obama's recent speec ...more
Oct 30, 2016 Annie rated it really liked it
This book is a thorough examination of the impediments and complications of the Arab-Israeli relationship. It is told mostly through first-hand accounts of people on both sides of the conflict during the 1980s and 70s. Undoubtedly well written, astonishingly thorough, and bolstered by so many interviews, it lets the people tell the story themselves--Shipler moderates discussion more than meditates on it. And the story, it seems, is that both sides are right and both sides are wrong, thus casting ...more
Allen Patterson
Feb 09, 2016 Allen Patterson rated it it was amazing
I was so excited to win this book from Goodreads. If you read what the author writes about this book in his preview of it then you will read truth in advertising. Wow, after reading it I see why he won a Pulitzer prize for it. I highly recommend this book for anyone who has an interest in life in Israel today. Warning, this is not a sanitized tourist friendly version of the promised land. The author deals with ongoing struggle between Arab and Jew and often times it gets very ugly. If you think ...more
Izwan Z
Jul 31, 2012 Izwan Z rated it it was amazing
This is the kind of book you read with an open mind. The kind of stuff that would contemplate changing a radical idealist to a complete realist. It certainly deserves the Pulitzer Prize it won, but suffers from the curse of time.

Many events have transpired recently but the issues remain generally the same.

Overall, the book is incredibly informative, explanatory, sad, and hopeful at the same time. The kind of book that ought to be passed from reader to reader for years to come.
Jul 25, 2014 Nick rated it it was amazing
A truly engrossing book that serves as both a thorough primer of the conflict and a constant reminder that there are real, everyday people involved that are forever at the mercy of the whims of politics, military, and short-sighted leaders. Though it was written in the early 80s, history is obviously rhyming with itself at the moment; the similarities and parallels to 25-30 years ago are staggering and, ultimately, disheartening.
Randall Decker
Feb 22, 2011 Randall Decker rated it really liked it
Deeply enlightening. The thing that struck me the most were the youth... both sides of the fence not really hating each other. But the Jew definitely has more than the Arab. It is a world of haves and have nots due to the biases of their elders. Reading this book gave me insights to the middle east I never knew. I found myself switching sides throughout the book only to realize there shouldn't be a side.
Apr 22, 2013 Suzanne rated it it was amazing
An extremely well-written book about the conflict between Israel and Palestine. Although this book was written 20 years ago, and updated 10 years ago, most of the descriptions of the stereotypes, tension, and relationships between the two groups can still be used to describe today. I also felt that this book was extremely well-balanced in showing the positives and negatives of both groups, as well as being well-researched. This is an excellent example of good journalism.
Jun 13, 2016 Lorenza rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This brilliant book describes the age old and complex relationship between the Arabs and Jews. It provides insight to how the conflict began and how it evolved over time. Shipler does an excellent job of utilizing historiography and to make his claims to help the reader comprehend the current situation between the two feuding groups. 5 stars and I highly recommend it!
Jun 04, 2008 CathyD rated it really liked it
Pretty good book. Sets an example for the value of education as a means to survive anywhere in the world. It sets an example for survival and success no matter what situation one has to live in. There seemed to be an underlying message of the value of skills, that were transportable to anywhere in the world.
Oct 14, 2010 Jeff rated it really liked it
Thorough, though slightly dated account of the struggles of Palestinians and Jews in Israel from the early 1900s to about 1993. I think the value in this book is in understanding the mentalities of these two peoples and the efforts to try and help the rising generation break the cycle.

I listened to the audio version of this book, and then requested it through
Denise DeRocher
Jan 30, 2013 Denise DeRocher rated it it was amazing
I so wish our statespeople would read this book and act upon it. Non-bipartisonship is the only way the US will ever help this tortured land - that and getting rid of Netanyahu (who just got re-elected).
Apr 12, 2011 Andre rated it really liked it
This book takes a very thoughtful approach on analyzing the situation by digging into the stereotypes that the two cultures often have for each other. I'm sure there are books out there that take a similar approach to other cultures as well.
Oct 05, 2014 Gail rated it really liked it
Even though I lost it and did not finish, I liked it a lot. Also, it is much more contemporary than the copyright date would suggest. Powerful insights and good writing. Love the personal and journalistic and historical and scholarly approach that melded into one book.
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David K. Shipler reported for The New York Times from 1966 to 1988 in New York, Saigon, Moscow, Jerusalem, and Washington. He is the author of four other books, including the best sellers Russia and The Working Poor, and Arab and Jew, which won the Pulitzer Prize. He has been a guest scholar at the Brookings Institution, a senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, and has ...more
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