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Walking Israel: A Personal Search for the Soul of a Nation
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Walking Israel: A Personal Search for the Soul of a Nation

3.8 of 5 stars 3.80  ·  rating details  ·  152 ratings  ·  39 reviews
From the much lauded author of Breaking News comes a version of Walking the Bible just for Israel.

With its dense history of endless conflict and biblical events, Israel's coastline is by far the most interesting hundred miles in the world. As longtime chief of NBC’s Tel Aviv news bureau, Martin Fletcher is in a unique position to interpret Israel, and he brings it off in a
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published September 28th 2010 by Thomas Dunne Books
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This is a heartfelt book, written by a seasoned journalist (unknown to me but who well might be known to NBC television viewers or newspaper and magazine readers as I am not) Already a paradox appears: because when do journalists have a heart? They can't afford to. But MF has a heart big enough to encompass the entire spectrum of humanity represented in the tiny country that is Israel.

Originally, when first conceiving his plan to walk the Israeli coast from the Ladder of Tyre in Lebanon to the
Found the book disappointing, as Fletcher might have been seaching for the soul of Israel but he didn't find it. As an NBC reporter who has lived in Israel thirty odd years, his goal was to get away from the "news" items and find the "real" Israel as he walked down the coast. Since he has lived in Israel longer than I have, I was expecting some revelations and insights. Unfortunately with his limited Hebrew, his trek down the coast resulted in very few spontaneous meetings and discussions and mo ...more
I enjoyed this book. I have also read Fletcher's book on walking Northern Ireland so I was prepared for his journalistic point of view and at times judgemental and oversimplified positions and it was clear at the outset of this book that he was poised to give Israel a very hard time. But as his trek went on, I do believe his thinking evolved and that he grew in front of his readers' eyes and that he simply admits by the end being absolutely in love with the country and its people. Also I learned ...more
Justin Green
Enjoyable, well written. I learned a few things and appreciated the idea that the realities of the region are always more complicated, nuanced and human than what 'history' tells us. That is the great advantage of using the personal narratives of individuals. His own tale of trudging down the coast and getting heatstroke was self-deprecating and pretty funny.
I found this book enjoyable. However, the author seemed unable to forego his journalistic biases. Firstly, the book and his investigations read a lot like he was a journalist doing research. The questions he posed let people not really tell their own stories so much as to tell the stories his questions led them to.
I also find most media presents and anti-Israel bias and I was hoping to find more sympathy for the Jews and Israel from someone who lives in Israel and married an Israeli. However, sy
Guy Grobler
At the beginning of the book the author (Who is an NBC special correspondent to the Middle East) sets out on a mission, to walk Israel's coast from North (Tyre's Ladder) to South (The Gaza border) saying that he wants to show the many other sides to Israel as its not fair that Israel is only known in world media for its conflicts with the Palestinians. Its a worthy cause from my point of view as there is so much more to Israel then the conflict, but as he walks and writes, he discovers it is ver ...more
I liked this book very much. It is an eclectic view of the state of Israel by a reporter who has covered it for 20 years. Eclectic both because Fletcher has chosen to focus on that which he encounters as he walks the entire state from it's most northern border in Rosh Hanikra to its boarder with Gaza. His subject matter is as much what he sees as who he meets. He has no desire to be all encompassing. It is a snap-shot portrait based upon a journalist's approach to the subject. Meet, interview, a ...more
Great book. Author is (or was?) an anchorman for NBC news. He realized that news people DO tend to only tell the bad stuff happening. He decided to walk the shoreline in Israel & meet people & show that Israel is not only fighting & bombing. He met many interesting people, but realized that no matter where he went, the Jews hate the Arabs, the Arabs hate the Jews, no matter how close they lived or interacted together. When the walk was done, the shelling DID start, in these "quiet li ...more
This was an excellent book: entertaining and educational. The author has an engaging writing style, and he has a knack for finding some good personal stories, capturing much of Israeli history along the way. This book has been part of my Middle East education this year, but I would recommend it for anyone interested in some good stories, and an opportunity to broaden your perspective.

And I definitely want to read his other books.
Rod Jensen
Walking Israel was not what I expected. I thought it would relate travel experiences on his walk along the Mediterranean Coast of Israel, meeting and interacting with people he encountered. It was, however, more just a thread, tying together a number of stories written like a reporter (which Martin Fletcher is). He admitted early in the book that he discovered he was not the type of person who engaged strangers easily. Some of the interviews he conducted were done months after the trip. Even the ...more
Kathleen McRae
Martin Fletcher,a foreogn correspondent walked the shores of Israel and sort of went through the history of Those lands and the multiple conflicts that have happened there.He also talked to a variety of people he met on Arab/Jewish issues that are long unresolved.Interesting but not a full perspective
Walking Israel is grippingly written. A tad compulsive from time to time depending on the author's mood during the walk he took from the border of Lebanon until the wall separating Israel and Gaza.

I found astounding details in terms of historical background - spanning from the holocaust , 1948 war, Six-Day war to Yom Kippur war, to name a few - and kibbutz life in Israel.

This book has made it clear that at the end of the day, regardless whether you are a jew, muslim or christian, all you care
This book is a journey of tradition, belief & a life-long goal for Martin Fletcher, an NBC news reporter and long-time resident of a Northern Israeli town, who carves out six weeks out of his schedule and walks the length of the Israeli coast. Along the way, he collects stories, gathers beliefs and presents a "look into the foundations that fostered the creation of modern Israel, while retracing & re-evaluating his past experiences.

A great book about a reporter's reflection on his career
I started this a while ago, then put it down because I had library books out the wazoo. I just picked it up and I'd left off right when he was talking with kids about their military service. Timing was freaky. I probably won't finish for a while, but it's nice to visit.

(2 days later) So glad I kept reading now! Towards the very end of the book it deals with the time in Dec 2008 when Hamas had new rockets from Iran that could reach Ashkelon for the first time. Reading Israeli's reactions to the r
I liked this book very much! It is a very readable, engaging description of how Martin Fletcher, a respected journalist, walked the coast of Israel from the border with Lebanon in the north to the border with Gaza at the south. During the walk Mr. Fletcher encounters numerous Israelis, both Jews and Arabs, and his recounting of those meetings are delightful to read. He describes political situations but does not judge or offer pronouncements on how to arrive at peace between the factions. He tak ...more
The premise of the book was different from the typical books about Israel or this region in that the author consciously chose not to write the conflict narrative. Instead, he walked along the coast of Israel from the border with Lebanon to that with Gaza and told the stories of the people along the way. Unsurprisingly, many of those stories were indeed conflict narratives. Although the conclusions the author drew were at times simplistic, obvious or trite for anyone with significant experience o ...more
Tara Van tassell
Great memoir about Israel and an interesting look at the soul of the country.
Jun 17, 2012 Miri rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: travel
I liked Fletcher's writing and I thought the idea of walking the entire coast of Israel is pretty cool. However, I don't think he really did what he set out to do. Namely, the point of the book was supposedly to show Israel "beyond the conflict," but Fletcher, true to his training as a news reporter, seem to seek out only conflict as he goes, deliberately asking all of his interview subjects about their views of the other side of the war.

It was still a good book, but not what I'd been hoping to
Joe Drape
This is a book for those out there who, like me gain their knowledge of Israel comes from the news, but are curious about the place not its (our ours) policies. It's part memoir and travelogue, a history lesson combined really moving sketches of the people who call Israel home - Jews & Arabs. Martin Fletcher is an engaging and amiable tour guide and writes with humor and heart. He shows what the two sides have in common, as well as the passions that are keeping them a part. It was an easy re ...more
Interesting walk along the Israeli coast from North to South. Reminds me that things are always more complex than you think they are. Prior to the State of Israel being formed in 1948, Jews had been buying up property in Palestine, so there is a complex trail of ownership of the land (including expropriation and other land grabs). And the position of the Arab Israelis is interesting. Most like the stability of the Israeli state as opposed to the chaos of the Arab state, but... Worth reading.
This is a powerful and fun and also disturbing book to read. I think fletcher gets at the heart of Israel through his interviews with people and his personal stories. Having just returned from Israel within the past 2 weeks I discovered that Fletcher answered many of my own questions with his timely interviews and observations. This is one of the only books I have found that updates from 2000 thru 2010.
Martin Fletcher's book is well written and doesn't pretend to give easy answers. It shows the view from the ground, which like most of life, is complicated and full of gray spaces. I loved meeting the various characters he ran into on his journey down the coast of Israel. They gave a face and a set of very personal histories to a richly diverse place. I'm very glad to have read it!
I wasn't a fan of this book. It's not terribly engaging and, more importantly, Fletcher's stated intention is to talk about the "real Israel" beyond the conflict and the headlines, and he mostly fails at that. Inevitably he starts a thread about some fishing village and it unspools into talking about all the usual stuff. I was hoping for a fresh perspective and didn't get it.
Feb 25, 2013 Robert added it
Excellent book, I actually bought at the Steimatsky's in Ben Gurion. i will recommend this to Israel travelers, as there really is no great books on the market that both cover the span of Israel for those who are trying to acquaint themselves with its geography and its people, traveling for the first time or first time in a long time.
Provides a different perspective on Israelis - Arabs and Jews - and avoids the black and white discussion of issues that tends to dominate discussions of the country. Interesting people; some a bit strange, all multi-faceted. Not too different from the rest of us.
Seth Kaplan
Got to hear the author speak last year and bought this book immediately after. This is a fascinating account of seeing Israel by foot. It offers amazing insight into a country that is so poorly portrayed by the mainstream media. Highly recommend it.
Proof again that if you are famous and write a book I will read it. Thankfully this was another good book with lots of great information about Israel...a lot of stuff that was very interesting but that I had never really thought about before.
An enjoyable read as it gives attention to the people and the country itself. I enjoyed the description of cities, beaches, economy and a brief history. His intention was to focus on the beauty of the country and its people and not the conflict.
Josh Roth
Lecherous old man, condescending towards his subjects and constantly whining about poor Arab refugees. A few interesting characters and stories along the way but overall didn't get much of a picture of Israeli society or where it's going.
Simon Springer
The idea is fantastic, but his travels show his true "news" over the years, exceedingly biased and often just under-thought. However, the book was an interesting read, well-written and something I wish I could do.
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MARTIN FLETCHER, Special Correspondent, NBC News and PBS, has won five Emmies, a Columbia University Dupont award, and many more broadcasting awards. He has written two non-fiction books, one of which won the National Jewish Book Award, and two novels. He is currently writing his third novel, splitting his time between London, Tel Aviv and New York.
More about Martin Fletcher...
The List Jacob's Oath Breaking News: A Stunning and Memorable Account of Reporting from Some of the Most Dangerous Places in the World Jacob's Oath: A Novel Almost Heaven: Travels Through the Backwoods of America

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