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The Haj

3.96  ·  Rating Details  ·  8,916 Ratings  ·  319 Reviews
Leon Uris retums to the land of his acclaimedbest-seller Exodus for an epicstory of hate and love, vengeance and forgiveness andforgiveness. The Middle East is the powerfulsetting for this sweeping tale of a land where revengeis sacred and hatred noble. Where an Arab rulertries to save his people from destruction butcannot save them from themselves. When violencespreads li ...more
Paperback, 544 pages
Published May 1st 1985 by Bantam (first published January 1st 1984)
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Naja Faysal
Feb 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
Jul 12, 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.
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,
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
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
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
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
Sep 19, 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
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
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
Aug 07, 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.
Apr 26, 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
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
May 05, 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
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
Jan 01, 2013 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
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
Blaine DeSantis
Jan 05, 2016 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
Dec 29, 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)
Feb 04, 2016 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
Sep 19, 2015 Chris rated it really liked it
Shelves: hf
I marked this as historical fiction although at the time of publication in 1984 it doesn't quite meet the 50 yr guideline. Anyway, I'm torn in how to review this book is it biased? Probably. There are certainly some very black & white situations & characters; however I felt like the descriptions of traditional Arab tribal culture in many areas of the Middle East seems to be as true today. Hatred, vengeance, barbaric brutality, the subjugation of women, the brainwashing of young boys and ...more
Jan 03, 2015 Judi rated it it was amazing
I read this novel about 20 years ago. As I reread it, I remembered why I had thought it was such a good book. In fact, I changed my rating from four to five stars.

This is the story of a Palestian family over many years, beginning before Israel became a nation in 1948 and continuing into the point where the Palestian jihad began and young men were taught to revere martyrdom and hate Israel and the Jews.

The author has deep insight into Arab culture and, in particular,the Palestian movement. He a
Dec 22, 2014 Jackie rated it it was amazing
I was thoroughly impressed by this narrative. It was my introduction to Uris, but I will definitely be reading his other works. The book was captivating from beginning to end.

The Haj was a tragic character from the beginning. While I agree with some critics of this book that the Arab people were written too one-dimensional, it was necessary to be portrayed that way in order to show Ibrahim's struggles. The situation these displaced people were in was victim of circumstance, the rest of the world
Max Ostrovsky
Apr 02, 2014 Max Ostrovsky rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, historical
Beautifully written and upsetting that this is part of history - events and mentality.
I know so many followers of Islam and am pretty familiar with the Qur'an that the presentation of the Arab mentality verges on the point of offensiveness. And considering the rich culture that they have spent centuries cultivating, it begs the question how a group with so much in common don't work together for common goals. It is saddening.
Times have changed and have moved on and I'd like to think that most i
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
Shipra Trivedi
Sep 08, 2012 Shipra Trivedi rated it really liked it
The Haj is story about a leader of a village in Palestine, Haj Ibrahim, and the formation of the Israeli state and not about religious journey to Mecca. It deals with the political forces combining both for and against Israel, the Palestinians' relationships with the Jews that come to their land, and the family of Haj Ibrahim, told from the perspective of Ishmael, Ibrahim's youngest son who narrates how Haj Ibrahim became muktar of his family, about his leadership, his friendship with a Jewish P ...more
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Do you think it's biased? 30 106 Jan 24, 2015 02:14PM  
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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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“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.” 2 likes
“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
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