Laurel's Reviews > The Lemon Tree: An Arab, a Jew, and the Heart of the Middle East

The Lemon Tree by Sandy Tolan
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Feb 16, 2010

really liked it
bookshelves: non-fiction, history
Read from February 06 to 16, 2010

When it comes to the details and complicated history of the Israeli/Palestine conflict, I am admittedly shamefully ignorant. I was always aware of the conflict in a general sense of course, but I never took the time to really research it beyond what I heard on the news or remembered learning in school (which was very little).

Not that this book qualifies as research, of course, but it was a good starting point, and I found it quite informative and eye opening.

I read some reviews of the book both on GR and elsewhere, and some people felt the author left out some important facts and leaned too heavily towards one side. Not being well-read on the subject, it's difficult for me to discern just how unbiased the author really was. But, to me, it felt as though he presented the history in a manner that showed equal compassion to both Israel and Palestine. I feel I came away with a much better understanding of each perspective, and just how deeply rooted that perspective is in each culture's history.

I'm going to be a bit lame here and cut and paste the book description from its back cover, as I think it does a better job at a synopsis than I could do myself:

"In 1967, not long after the Six Day War, three young Arabs ventured into the town of Ramla, in Jewish Israel. They were on a pilgrimage to see their separate childhood homes, from which their families had been driven out nearly twenty years before during the Israeli war for independence. Only one was welcomed: Bashir Al-Khayri was greeted at the door by a young woman named Dalia.

This act of kindness in the face of years of animosity and warfare is the starting point for a remarkable true story of two families, one Arab, one Jewish; an unlikely friendship that encompasses the entire modern history of Israelis and Palestinians and that holds in its framework a hope for true peace and reconciliation for the region."

A difficult read in terms of subject matter, but also an important one.
Recommended.
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message 1: by Boof (new) - added it

Boof Glad you enjoyed this Laurel, I really want to read it and I know I can always trust and rely on your reviews ☺


Laurel Thanks, Boof! The book is quite heavy in history, so if you are already familiar with it, you may find that aspect of the book a bit slow. But it was a history lesson I really needed! I loved hearing the personal perspective of both Dalia and Bashir -- those were the most moving parts for me.


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