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The Yellow Wind

4.01 of 5 stars 4.01  ·  rating details  ·  403 ratings  ·  37 reviews
The Israeli novelist David Grossman’s impassioned account of what he observed on the West Bank in early 1987—not only the misery of the Palestinian refugees and their deep-seated hatred of the Israelis but also the cost of occupation for both occupier and occupied—is an intimate and urgent moral report on one of the great tragedies of our time. The Yellow Wind is essential
Paperback, 240 pages
Published September 7th 2002 by Picador (first published 1987)
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Oct 22, 2012 Mariel rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: there ain't no motor like a martyr made motor because a martyr made motor don't quit
Recommended to Mariel by: man I read palms during the most brief handshakes
When I left on this journey, I decided not to talk with Jewish or Arab politicians or officials. Their positions are well known to the point of weariness. I wanted to meet the people who are themselves the real players in the drama, those who pay first the price of their actions and failures, courage, cowardliness, corruption, nobility. I quickly understood that we all pay the price, but not all of us know it.

The Yellow Wind was published in 1988. The introduction was written in 1998. My copy ha
This is a powerful book written by an apparently open-minded Israeli author, about the shocking day to day facts of the Palestinians' existence in the occupied territories. Grossman seems genuinely moved, even appalled, at some of these facts, which he reports in a way that suggests "yes, I knew it was bad, but I never imagined ...". He seems moved, he seems sympathetic, he seems to sense that a wrong, perhaps a great wrong, is being done here ...

And then one reaches, late in the book, the chapt
I have never been able to approach the Arab-Israeli conflict, or even begin to understand it, and as a Jew I always felt I should. On numerous occasions I tried to delve into it through books and articles but nothing ever made sense, and nothing ever stuck. Then, I ran into an article in the Atlantic Monthly entitled "Unforgiven" by Jeffrey Goldberg. The article focused on the relationship of Israeli president Ehud Olmert and the Israeli writer David Grossman. And finally, through the prism of D ...more
Go figure. I read this book in almost one sitting (only allowing for necessity breaks) and loved it. This book was published in 1998. I never knew how little I knew about the Arab/Jewish West Bank issue until reading this. Yes, its old, probably out-dated, but I don't believe some of the beliefs held by either side will ever entirely go away. Its overwhelming how complicated this issue is.

Regarding Grossman as a writer, this book held my attention throughout. He didn't attempt to hide his own fe
Each chapter is a person or group's view on the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories. The opinions and speakers are varied. For example, the person interviewed in chapter 8 expressed the need to remember that the Palestinians will be the Israelis' neighbors someday and that even though Israel is the conqueror, Israel's actions today should start reflecting that future. Others share feelings of hopelessness or viewpoints that are just plain scary.
This book is more emotional than inte
Deb Owens
In this book, Grossman describes several interviews he had with people in Israel & Palestine, both Jews and Arabs, from just about every perspective you can imagine. I read this book for a class in Intercultural Communication.

In reading this book, the stories behind the headlines becomes personal. I found this book to be a little depressing, actually, because it it paints a picture of how little hope the involved people have for peace in their land. I do recommend the book, but just be awar
Paul Gaya Ochieng Simeon Juma
There some who say that we read because we want to escape from tbe harsh realities of life. To some extent it is true. But I must add that it also depends with the stor tbat you are reading.

This book basically deals with the conflict between Israel and Palestine. I think it was written before Palestine was given recognition status by UN. This does not reduce the importance of this book.

Tbe book tries to reconcile the jews and tbeir neighbors, the arabs. From the book its clear that we have Ara
In 1987, twenty years after the 1967 war, Israeli David Grossman traveled around the West Bank and Israel talking to people about "the situation". As a good journalist should, he asked questions and let the individuals he spoke to hold forth.

What he found was plenty of anger and hatred on both sides resulting in despair that things could change. At the time, the first Intifada was about to begin. He wrote a forward to the book in 1998 and an afterward in 2002, when the second Intifada suicide bo
Eye opening. Ground breaking. Startlingly honest. I read this years ago but really need to revisit in the context of the death of Grossman's son who died serving in the Israeli military during the Lebanese raids last year . Grossman's eulogy for his son is one of the most moving things I've ever read (wish I could have heard and understood his original reading of this) . Grossman is a rare writer, one that deserves a much higher readership outside of Israel.

P.S. I have not seen his new afterwor
Jonathan J.
Recommended to me by a friend from kibbutz, this ambitious journalistic look at the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is the the best I've read on the topic. What's most amazing--and perhaps most disappointing--is that, while The Yellow Wind was written some twenty years ago, the injustices and tragedies it draws attention to, as well as a lot of the misconceptions each side has of the other, are still very real today.
Indran Fernando
Either this is confusingly, vaguely written, or it is a poor translation. There are moments where I felt like I glimpsed the nuance that Grossman was shooting for, but usually I just found myself frustrated by sentences in which I can't tell what the word "it" refers back to- that type of thing. As far as I can tell, Grossman prizes form over function and art over communication, which makes it difficult when you're mainly just looking for an introduction to different perspectives in the Israel-P ...more
This is old but excellent. I read it after reading Grossman's To the End of the Land. Nonfiction. He went to visit the West Bank and to interact with people there. Open-minded fact finding mission. Depressing that the situation really hasn't got better since 1987....
UPDATE: re-read May 2010. See updated review at

Original review from April 2009: Very disturbing. See mini-review at
Moving, nuanced portrayal of the complex consequences of the Israeli Palestinian conundrum. Speaks eloquently to the intimate human toll exacted from both sides. Non-judgmental, a remarkable antidote to the too often one-dimensional presentation typical of this conversation.

Holds up even better after all these years. If there were more people like Grossman involved in the dialogue there would be much greater hope that this will all end without furthering suffering and tragedy. Unfortunately, gi
I don't really remember how I came to acquire this book, which makes me suspect it was a bookslut slush stack pick. It is about Israel and Palestine, and while it was written in 1987, as two updates to the book point out, while things have changed, attitudes very much remain the same. And attitudes are very much what this book is about.

Grossman is an Israeli novelist who goes on a quest of sorts to understand the people impacted by the struggle. An Israeli himself, he seems to take Israeli "main
..Annoto nel mio quaderno verde queste parole: Ora, la verità: hai paura? Sì, ho paura. E se ti succederà qui qualcosa, se ti colpiranno, pensi che ciò ti farà cambiare opinione? Pensi che ciò ti porterà a cominciare ad odiare? E se colpiranno il tuo bambino? Proprio lui?
E mi sono annotato la risposta, per “memento” e per testimonianza a me stesso, e tutto è scritto lì, nel quaderno verde.

Non ci è dato sapere che cosa Grossman abbia scritto nel quaderno verde in risposta a queste sue domande (

“One morning, soldiers came to the house and notified her that she had fifteen minutes to get all her belongings and her daughters out of the house, after which the house would be leveled. Sometimes, when I hear about the destruction of houses in the West Bank, I wonder what I would remove from my house during that quarter hour – the basic necessities, I suppose; bed linens and cooking utensils. But what about the photograph albums? And my manuscript? And books? And old letters? How much can you
The depressing thing about this book is that it was written about the 'situation' in 1988 and it seems to me that not much has changed, 26 years later. The problems that he analyzes, especially in light of the recent hijacking of 3 teenaged boys in the West Bank, still seem so prevalent. A very worthwhile read if you are interested in the problems of Israel and Palestine.
Nick Hoffman
Thick, hard to get through, and at times downright incoherent. Going into this book without a strong knowledge of the context will lead to frustration. It makes a few powerful points, but comes off on the whole as raw and inaccessible.
A brave piece of writing. The author visits numerous sites in the West Bank over a 7-week period, confronting the legacy of what he concludes to be his country's greatest shame. I respect his unflinching self-reflection, as well as his steadfast desire to inject morality and humanity into a bleak situation. It was a difficult book to digest; the author has a talent for fostering empathy. The suffering on all sides--both material and psychological--is palpable. Reading this book made me wonder ab ...more
A welcomed approach to very complex issues. Westerners are not equipped to understand cultures that have histories exceeding two thousand years. This book does not, and recognizes that no book ever could, provide explanations of the animosities that boil in the Middle East. But, it does provide several pictures of the many actors and the roles they are compelled to assume by history AND current events. I would not say I have an "understanding" of the situations in the Middle East, but, I do have ...more
I don't know if I loved the translation? I also found it a bit frustratingly dated. Which I guess is the nature of an ever evolving issue. But it was interesting in terms of a perspective/voice that is not heard that often: a liberal Israeli. I guess it's hard to separate my own politics from the matter. I spoke with friends who feel he came down heavily on Israel, and that might be the case, considering his background. But I feel like he did a lot of equivocating. The descriptions of life in re ...more
Like Michael Herr's Dispatches, with a similar sense of dignity and simultaneous loss, but set in the permanent war footing that was never Vietnam's plight and has remained Israel's from day one.
So depressing that the Israeli-Palestinian situation has not progressed at all in the 25 years since this was first published.
A great exploration of political consciousness and the human condition in the midst of this conflict. It's a shame that it was received so negatively in Israel because of its focus on Palestinians. The stories and meditations reflect humanity as a whole and would be just as relevant to an Israeli if there wasn't a single one of them mentioned.
Beautifully written and extremely sad. A personal view of the Israeli-Arab conflict written in 1988 and more recently republished. Sadly, things are not better. It helped my understanding of how it feels to live there. The author is a journalist and a novelist who writes in Hebrew. An impressive translation.
Kathryn Kopple
For anyone invested in the peace process--or the lack thereof--The Yellow Wind is an important book. Grossman, whose literary and intellectual gifts are enormous, disrupts any notions that Israel's on-going occupation is at all sustainable. It is a book that, once read, never leaves you.
Resonates as clearly today as it did when it was written; sad to see that little has changed. Fascinating insight into the minds and motivations of the central characters - not the political ones, but the every day ones - of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict.
This was an eye-opener. It made me really angry and upset and more knowledgeable about the Israel-Palestine conflict. This is a must-read for anyone who cares to know about the mental state of various beleaguered Palestinians and Israelis.
A look at the Palestinian-Israeli conflict through personal stories from both sides. I really didn't want to put this book down. Sad to think that not much has changed since it was written.
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Leading Israeli novelist David Grossman (b. 1954, Jerusalem) studied philosophy and drama at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and later worked as an editor and broadcaster at Israel Radio. Grossman has written seven novels, a play, a number of short stories and novellas, and a number of books for children and youth. He has also published several books of non-fiction, including int
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“في الواقع الاسرائيلي يسهل على الانسان الاسرائيلي تغيير دينه وربما جنسه أيضا على أن يغير آرائه السياسية بصورة حاسمة. إذا غيرت وجهة نظرك فكأنما صرحت بتغيير بنيتك النفسية كلها واعترفت أمام نفسك إلى الأبد بأن حياتك حتى تلك اللحظة لم تكن سوى أكذوبة تامة.” 2 likes
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