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The Haj

3.99  ·  Rating Details ·  10,496 Ratings  ·  380 Reviews
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 viol ...more
Mass Market Paperback, 525 pages
Published May 1st 1985 by Bantam (first published January 1st 1984)
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Joyce I would not say it is "pro" Arab. I do believe Mr. Uris has endeavored to present the historical background of modern day Palestine.
Jodie Pillius MacKrell I am not sure I would want my 14 year-old to read it. There is a lot of bloodshed and mistreatment of women.

Community Reviews

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Naja Faysal
Jan 21, 2010 Naja Faysal rated it it was amazing
As I scribble through the comments on this book, I couldn't find any Arab person who've read it and commented on it.. and that in itself tells you something.

Being an Arab myself, I felt extremely sad about the misery of our race in the last century. Facing our brutal facts as Arabs is the only way to hope for a change and a better future. Although my country wasn't as devastated as Palestine, but I think we had our take of religious wars and sacred illusions where religion mixed with politics a
Tea Jovanović
Mar 21, 2013 Tea Jovanović rated it really liked it
nastavak romana Exodus
Jan 28, 2008 Dan rated it it was ok
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 an ...more
Jun 05, 2016 Gary rated it it was amazing
This book reveals the complete truth about the Middle East and the hatred and destructive evil that Israel and the Jewish people are up against.No it is not racist or prejudiced.It simply tells things as they are without regard to political correctness Of course Arabists and their like will hate it,therefore. In fact it shows the character Ismail in a very favourable light and as for the assertion made that only Jews are presented in a good light,that is simply rubbish For example we read about ...more
Jan 24, 2008 Mike rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Serious students of the Middle East
"We wanted to build a Singapore and they wanted a Somalia" I heard those words from an Israeli businessman as I looked over the Erez crossing and industrial park. What I saw of the Palestinian areas during my visit there conforms to what this book has to say about the impact of the religion, the wars and the culture on Palestinian society. This is a sad and depressing book, as it gives you a view from the Palestinian side of the events before and after the establishment of Israel. It is well wor ...more
Sep 05, 2007 Irene rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Yes
This book is about the Arab culture, the creation of the State of Israel and how the Palestinians became refugees. Great book but makes you despair about ever being able to come to a resolution in the Middle East.
Oct 02, 2012 Chris rated it did not like it
I'm not sure what it is with Leon Uris. Maybe it's just me, but I feel like every time I get through one of his stories, the ending just disappoints. That's how I felt about Armageddon and Topaz, and it's the same here.

SPOILERS will follow: This book, dealing with the origins of the modern Arab-Israeli conflict, specifically in regards to the perspective of a Palestinian family in the 1920s-1940s, is not usually my cup of tea. But I had the book, and figured I'd give it a shot. Like my other Uri
Aug 07, 2015 Andy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
50p in a charity box, was thinking be rude not to pick one of his up! Not something I would normally pick-up but glad I did

An engaging start with a mix of the history of the Palestine/Israeli conflict retold through mostly Arab eyes along with the narrative from an Arab family. The story begins in 1922 & runs throu to 1956 bringing critical points in the history to life through the involvement of the family whose father is the Muktar of Tabah, a leader of his people in a region of Palestine
Aug 17, 2010 Nonsequiteuse rated it liked it
In sixth grade, everything I knew about Israel and Palestine, I learned from Leon Uris. We did not cover the history of that region in school, and if fwe had, I'm sure that the coverage would have lacked nuance.

After reading Exodus, I wanted to be Jewish and live on a kibbutz. In sixth grade, the purity and passion of the characters seemed wholly believable.

In Leon Uris books, one side very clearly wears the white hat at all times. Given the desperate and horrible situation in the middle east,
Rohit Enghakat
Dec 18, 2016 Rohit Enghakat rated it liked it
Shelves: kindle
Finally I finished this ! Reading this book after 30 odd years after it was first published is kind of surreal. This is an account of the Arab - Israeli conflict through the eyes of an Arab-Palestine boy Ishmael. The author weaves a fictionalised account of the creation of Israel. Since I wanted to read something about the history of Israel, I had bought this book as well as "Exodus" which is a viewpoint of the conflict seen through the eyes of a Jew. The story is about a Palestine family from t ...more
Anne  (Booklady) Molinarolo
The Haj isn't for the faint of heart. It is very depressing and startling. Uris takes the reader back to Palestine in the the early to mid 20th Century. Exodus gave us the Jewish perspective while The Haj presents the Arab perspective. Uris covered 25,000 miles in the Palestine area and conducted over 1500 interviews researching his breakout masterpiece.While his trip was funded by a PR firm and Uris' religion is Judaism, I see no overt bias in either novel. The Haj seems to be biased, because A ...more
Jun 27, 2016 Ram rated it liked it
nice read. The story is interesting, and flows. As it is about my country, the places and events are familiar. The book is about a family of Palestinian refugees and spans from the 1920's to 1957. Through the story of the refugees, the author presents many issues of the Israeli/Arab conflict, and the general attitude of Muslims in the middle east to foreigners.

The books introduces the reader to various aspects of Muslim/Arab life…. Religion, treatment of women, family tradition, various social
Jun 26, 2012 Diane rated it really liked it
I thought this was a very well researched historical novel, both entertaining and informative. It made the history in the region between the 1920s and 1950s easier to understand. The story was terribly tragic and sad.

I was aware of the author’s obvious bias while reading it, but had a feeling that what he was saying about Arab and Jewish character was probably based mostly on reality. It seems that the Arab culture, which formed the religion of Islam, was summed up early in the book when Ishmae
Clara Roberts
Nov 23, 2009 Clara Roberts rated it really liked it
The book was a fascinating read of Arab and Islamic culture. The Arabs refused to do more than the miniumun amount of work and therefore were amazed to see the hard work of the Jews and some Europeans. This was 566 pages of Arabs sitting around in squalor complaining and expecting someone to come and rescue them. There seemed to be no iniative or ambition to do anything on their own. They had them same resources available to them that the Jews had but lacked any work ethic. Whereas the Jews abso ...more
Aug 22, 2007 Anne rated it liked it
I picked up this book, thinking that it would be set in Saudi Arabia at the time of the Haj - the pilgrimage to Mecca. Instead it is about the head of a clan who has made the journey to Mecca and takes the name Haj as a title. It is an interesting read as far as Palestinian thought and reason (or lack thereof!) Since I live in the Middle East, I can attest to the reality of the profile presented in the book. There were points in reading the book when I had to pause and say to myself, "Oh - that' ...more
Aug 14, 2013 Jbarth rated it it was ok
Shelves: literature
I normally love Leon Uris' work so when I saw this in the library I eagerly added it to my stack and ran home to read it. Maybe it's a product of my being a mom and trying to instill a sense of fairness in my kids; maybe it's being a Jew in the thick of the Bible Belt, hyper aware of how I present myself and my viewpoints so that I don't offend or alienate anyone. However, I found myself putting the book down about 1/4 of the way through because I just couldn't handle the smug "Jews are always s ...more
Feb 02, 2008 Matt rated it liked it
A certainly biased look at the origins of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, as it was written by Jewish Leon Uris. It leaves doubts in my mind as a reader as to how fictional or nonfictional some of these events are. I understand it's a fictional novel, but the book spends a lot of time trying to paint the picture of Arab life in the Middle East. The more liberal side of me hopes that Uris has painted a falsified and horribly inaccurate picture because I wish people didn't have to live like that ...more
Jul 25, 2008 Deb rated it really liked it
Not the easiest read in the world, but a great look at the history of the Palestinian refugees. I was amazed by the fact that the story is told from the Arab point of view, yet it is the Jews that come across as reasonable, honest, desiring of peace, etc.

This book has definitely given me a desire to read some non-fiction on the history of the Arab/Israeli conflict. I want to know how historically accurate this book is.
Several years ago, I read Leon Uris' epic best-seller Exodus. At that time, I had also purchased his other Middle East based novel, The Haj, which roughly encapsulates the same time period as covered in Exodus, albeit from the Arab perspective. But I was hesitant to begin reading it. And so, I didn't begin reading 'The Haj' until about 10 days ago.

'The Haj' is an epic novel centered on the lives of Haj Ibrahim al Soukouri al Wahhabi (the Muktar of Tabah) and his family. It is a story that is to
Mar 04, 2015 Peter rated it really liked it
This Leon Uris 1984 classic is worth reading (or re-reading) today in light of current events. It tells the story of an Arab family living in Palestine during the influx of Jewish settlers from Europe prior to World War II, the failure of the Arab nations to deal honestly with the refugees after the 1948 war, and the failure of the refugees to adjust to the new reality, leaving us where we are today, 67 years after Israeli independence, with the refugees still thinking their freedom depends on t ...more
Jan 05, 2013 Beverly rated it really liked it
Leon Uris now gives us the story of the birth of the state of Israel from the Arab point of view. His point of view could be categorized as anti-Arab, so everything he writes needs to be taken with a grain of salt. He follows one family as they cope with the changing times. Haj Ibrahim is the muktar of his village which is situated on the road to Jerusalem in a very strategic spot. Right down the road, on land that used to belong to the same absentee landlord that owns Ibrahim's village, a new J ...more
Nov 26, 2012 Nicholas rated it it was ok
As a novel, this book wasn't particularly good. The plot is interspersed (especially at the beginning) with long historical treatises about the history of israel/palestine/the british mandate. Plot-wise, it gets better around page 200, but still feels more like an exposition than a work of fiction. I did find the sometimes narrator (Ishmael) compelling and likeable. But the ending was disturbing and a huge disappointment (I'll leave it vague to avoid spoilers).

For historical information, I found
Mar 30, 2014 Tashfin rated it liked it
The characters are well etched out.

It is also true that the middle eastern leaders have a cutthroat policy, something whose absence would have helped the entire region to prosper rather than be stagnated in their present situation with uprisings and wars.

While the book has shed some light about how the conflicts began right after the jewish resettlement into Palestine around 1920s, the entire story is a one-sided description where Arab muslims are depicted as inferior blood-thirsty sanctimonious
Blaine DeSantis
Dec 24, 2015 Blaine DeSantis rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Outstanding book. I wish someone had given it to our President and Secretaries of State as Uris really does a fine job in both giving us an operational breakdown on the Koran and a great analysis of the Arab/Palestinian/Israeli situation. Told from the perspective of the Arab narrators this book really does a fine job in giving us a history lesson of the conflict in the Middle East and since it was written in 1984 the characters have also gave us a glimpse of today. I learned so much from this b ...more
Aug 30, 2011 Lananorris rated it really liked it
This book was a great source of information about what really lies at the bottom of the conflict between East and West, Jews and Arabs, Arabs and other Arabs, and Arabs and everyone else. It is however, very depressing. It is not uplifting at all. The misery of the Palestinian people is infinite and totally self-inflicted. They are pawns of everyone, but most of all of themselves. The main characters are not really likeable and they do not really like themselves. The life of Haj Ibrahaim, muktar ...more
Michael Sump
Oct 28, 2015 Michael Sump rated it really liked it
A Jewish perspective on the Arab experience from the 1920s to the birth of Israel in the form of a novel. A clear indictment of Arab inhumanity to the Palestinian people. Leon Uris, who is Jewish, is not without bias. However, it seems to me, that he largely tells the true story of a people, the Palestinians, who have been failed again and again by their leaders and by their Arab brothers. A key event of this story has recently been in the news as Netanyahu tried to put the blame of the holocaus ...more
May 24, 2010 Julie rated it it was amazing
Shelves: own, fiction
This book gave me a deeper understanding of Middle Eastern politics, Palestinian culture, and Islam. It greatly foreshadowed the current situation in the Arab world, and I think everyone should read it to develop a better comprehension of life in the Middle East. The story follows the life of a local leader, Haj Ibrahim and his family, namely his smart and diligent son Ishmael, during a period of great upheaval in Palestine. The arrival of the Jews and their attempt to establish Israel is at the ...more
Nov 25, 2015 Chrisl rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, 1980s, med-east
One of the many books I vaguely recall reading. Liked it at that time. Highly unlikely to re-read.
As frequent happens, when someone calls my attention to a book, I looked up the Kirkus review.

"'We Arabs are the worst. . . .' That is the theme of this crude propaganda-novel by the author of Exodus, which traces the Palestinian-refugee problem up through 1956--blaming 100 percent of it on the British and the Arabs (Arab greed, decadence, laziness, backwardn
Dec 09, 2014 Manugw rated it it was amazing
An amusing book to learn about Muslims and the Middle East Conflict
A great book, a historical fiction of the Israel Independence wars between 1920 and 1950 that give to the ensuing plight of the Palestinian and Jewish refugees. Most of the story is told as seen through the eyes of a smart Arab boy raised in a traditional conservative upper class Muslim family ruled by the stern hand of his father, the Haj (a title given to a Muslim individual who has accomplished the pilgrimage to Mecca)
Jean Poulos
I read this book in 1984 when it first came out. I have a note in my records that I thought the book was excellent. I can remember that I did not enjoy it as much as I did “Exodus.” I thought that with all the problems in the Middle East the book might provide me with some insight to the situation, so I decided to re-read the book.

The story is about a Palestinian Arab family living in Palestine in the 1920-1950 eras. The main narrator of the story is Ishmael the youngest son of Ibrahim, who is t
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Leon Marcus Uris (August 3, 1924 - June 21, 2003) was an American novelist, known for his historical fiction and the deep research that went into his novels. His two bestselling books were Exodus, published in 1958, and Trinity, in 1976.

Leon Uris was born in Baltimore, Maryland, the son of Jewish-American parents Wolf William and Anna (Blumberg) Uris. His father, a Polish-born immigrant, was a pa
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“On May 9, 1916, the British and French entered into a clandestine treaty on how they intended to carve up the region. The treaty was the Sykes-Picot, named for the negotiators. Always described as infamous, the treaty ignored both Jewish aspirations and Sharif Husain’s personal ambitions. And so Palestine became the ‘twice promised land.” 1 likes
“Nonsense. Islam is unable to live at peace with anyone. We Arabs are the worst. We can’t live with the world, and even more terrible, we can’t live with each other. In the end it will not be Arab against Jews but Arab against Arab. One day our oil will be gone, along with our ability to blackmail. We have contributed nothing to human betterment in centuries, unless you consider the assassin and the terrorist as human gifts. The world will tell us to go to hell. We, who tried to humiliate the Jews, will find ourselves humiliated as the scum of the earth. Oh, put down that silly potsherd and let us have some coffee.” 1 likes
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