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The Drone Eats with Me: A Gaza Diary

4.1  ·  Rating details ·  107 Ratings  ·  34 Reviews
An ordinary Gazan’s chronicle of the struggle to survive during Israel’s 2014 invasion of Gaza

The fifty-day Israel-Gaza conflict that began in early July of 2014 left over 2,100 people dead. The overwhelming majority of the dead were Palestinians, including some 500 children. Another 13,000-odd Palestinians were wounded, and 17,200 homes demolished. These statistics are sa
Paperback, 256 pages
Published July 5th 2016 by Beacon Press (first published May 1st 2015)
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Rating details
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Feb 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Mid-East Regionalists, Military and War Historians, Politicians, Biography Fans, Sociologists
Recommended to Libby by: Beacon
Shelves: free-review-copy
FTC NOTICE: Free Review Copy from Library Thing Early Reviewers Program (in exchange for an honest review)

REVIEW: "Since 1948--before that in fact, since the British mandate began in 1917--Gaza has barely gone 10 years without a war. Wars stand as markers in a Gazan's life: there's one planted firmly in your childhood, one or two more in your adolescence, and so on… They toll the passing of time as you grow older, like rings in a tree trunk.  Sadly, for many Gazans, one of these wars will also m
Mar 17, 2016 rated it did not like it
THE DRONE EATS WITH ME is the diary of a Gazan during Operation Protective Edge, the fifty-day battle between Hamas and Israel in 2014. The author, Atef Abu Saif, a writer and journalist with a Ph.D. in politics, lives in Gaza with his wife and five children. He describes on an almost daily basis what life was like for the people in Gaza as they saw their lives disrupted and sought shelter in areas they hoped would be safe. Many lost their homes. They all suffered from power and water outages, ...more
Jan 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Atef Abu Saif, a Palestinian novelist and political scientist from Gaza, kept a daily wartime journal, selections of which appeared in the New York Times, The Guardian, Slate and elsewhere as the war raged. The newly published collection of those journal entries, The Drone Eats With Me: A Gaza Diary, is an eloquent, intimate, and searing account of family life during wartime.

Excerpt from review I wrote for In These Times Magazine
Sam Sattler
Jun 20, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: war, muslim-culture
It is difficult to read Atef Abu Saif’s The Drone Eats with Me: A Gaza Diary and simultaneously keep oneself divorced from the politics that caused the situation to happen in the first place. But that is exactly what Saif, who hardly addresses the cause of the 2014 war that Israel waged in the Gaza Strip, asks his readers to do. Doing so allows the fifty-one days of war he describes in his 2014 diary to be experienced strictly through the eyes of those helplessly caught up in the middle of it al ...more
Mar 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This story of survival has touched me like no other. I always knew I didn't agree with war, but this book illustrated all the reasons I could never quite articulate and it did it in an elegant and engaging way. It's so beautifully written that it makes the horror of war that much more sickening. I found myself shaking with rage. As a white American, I will never truly know the fear that these families felt and continue to feel, but even just reading about it set me on edge like nothing before. T ...more
Mar 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This tells of the war on the Gaza Strip as lived from the inside. Like any war, it is so unfair to the civilians. It breaks your heart to think how this is going to affect children for the rest of their lives. I would recommend this book to be read by anyone and everyone - Will we ever learn to live together in peace?
Nov 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Beautifully written, desperately important, and almost impossible to read. I had to struggle to get through this book; it was so harrowing. Mr. Abu Saif gives us a civilian's-eye view of modern warfare: that is, warfare conducted by remote control against civilians and civilian infrastructure. He, his wife, their five young children, and their families and friends struggle to survive during Israel's relentless assault on Gaza in the summer of 2014. If you want to know what drone warfare is like, ...more
Thomas Petri
Feb 22, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: owned
Israel was created from the land called Palestine. In order to right the wrongs committed against the Jews, the UN created Israel, displacing the Palestinians who had occupied the land for thousands of years. Once again, two wrongs don't make a right. But now the Israelis, forgetting their own history, are determined to wipe out the Palestinians rather than let them share the land that was rightfully theirs to begin with. Always their actions are justified by actions taken by a minority against ...more
Rebecca Salant
Jun 06, 2016 rated it did not like it
I based my rating on two main components of this book:
1. There were numerous syntactical, grammatical, and spelling errors throughout the writing. At times , this made it extremely difficult to understand. I found myself having to read the same paragraph many times to try and decode the errors.

2. This was an extremely subjective account. I found it hard to relate to the author or the story as it read as a rage filled rant rather than a memoir. Perhaps I would have found the story to be more rela
Jul 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
This book chronicles what it is to live in war, day by day. It exposes the expected consequences--dead or injured citizens and children--while also looking at the unexpected humiliations that an audience who hasn't lived through war wouldn't consider. Don't let anyone try to justify this to you: human rights should be non negotiable and not used as a bargaining chip in any political game.
Delaney Ozmun
Jun 23, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Please read this book. The grammar isn't perfect and it can be hard to get through at times, but it holds incredibly important truths that we all need to become aware of.
Rosalind Minett
Jun 16, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Diaries from a city under fire
Atef-Abu Saif

Not for the faint-hearted

Comma Press publishes new writing and has championed the short story. Most excitingly, it has brought translated works to the wider world. With well-chosen and diverse titles, it brings insight into lives from little known places via the best of short stories.

Gaza is ‘foreign’ to the outside world in the full meaning of the word. Few live in an area constantly surrounded by force from land, sea a
Apr 27, 2016 rated it really liked it
Book: The Drone Eats With Me
Author: Atef Abu Saif

Beginning as a short-story project aiming to depoliticize Gaza, this wartime diary instead proves just how politically charged Gaza is. The book retains the project’s original purpose of showing the daily routine of Gazans, but instead shows routine during a time of all too frequent Gazan chaos.

This non-fiction diary written by Gazan writer and editor Atef Abu Saif shows the will to survive amongst hardened Gazans. It follows the 51-day Israeli of
Sarah Hayes
Feb 19, 2016 rated it really liked it
Imagine war; all of the images from the news, crumbling buildings and crying faces. Now imagine that you are in the middle of it, trying to live while dodging bombs and bullets, not sure if you will ever get a moment’s peace again. For 51 days, that was the regular routine of novelist Atef Abu Saif, author of five novels and numerous newspaper articles, as he lived through the 2014 Israeli offense against the Gaza Strip. His latest entry in the canon of Israeli-Palestinian conflict writing, “The ...more
Aug 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing
No matter your politics, deep inside, you must have compassion. And this diary from inside the Gaza strip during a 50-day “conflict” can only raise your hackles that the world powers play with words to hide their deeds. If I’m conflicted over what I’ll have for dinner. No one dies. Israel and Palestine are conflicted over who should own what land. Slaughter. Indiscriminate, eeny-meeny-miney-moe, you hold the short straw slaughter. I never read such an intimate non-political rendering of trying t ...more
Jun 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I received this book from Good Reads.

Every American who blindly believes Israel is being persecuted should read this book. Written in English as a diary by a Palestinian who lives in Gaza, his diary and this book is concentrated on his entries during the 2014 invasion of Gaza by Israel. Horrific and heart wrenching.

Highly recommended for those who want to understand this part of the Middle East.
Ken Megale
Aug 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This is a marvelous...though the subject and personal experience of the author can't be described as marvelous...memoir of living in Gaza during one of its many wars. The personal insights and pounding pathos leave in the reader tendrils of empathy and respect. Ken Megale
Susan Walker
Jun 11, 2016 rated it really liked it
Very good book about the war in Gaza during the summer of 2014. This day by day account is so real that you feel that you were there. The story of what its .like to live in a war zone is very compelling.
Oct 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This book educates the reader about what it’s like to be up close to war. There is plenty to discuss: parenting, whether to lie to your children in order to calm them down, human dignity, fear, trauma, survival, and how ritual/routine can be a calming force in times of chaos.
Oct 14, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It seems futile to try and write about the endless atrocities committed by the Israeli Government against the Palestinians and the people in Gaza. Yet in his book, The Drone Eats With Me: A Gaza Diary , Atef Abu Saif documents with vigor and lucidity, the 51-day war 'Operation Protective Edge', that was launched on Gaza in 2014.

Reading Abu Saif's memoir, you might notice a few things:

1) The ubiquity of death. Death is rampant in all of Gaza, it is an all-consuming presence, unleashed by the Isra
Dec 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
Good perspective that you wouldn't find normally in Western media of Israel/Palestinian conflict. Obviously it's one-sided as it's a diary but the bigger point is illustrating the devastating effects that war and isolation have on non-combatants. Definintely worthwhile.
Edward Sullivan
Jul 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
A Gazan teacher vividly chronicles the everyday struggles to survive during Israel’s 2014 invasion of Gaza, fifty-day conflict beginning in early July of 2014 that left over 2,100 people dead.
Ubaid Dhiyan
Jul 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2017
Required reading
Jeff Scott
Sep 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: middle-east
Terrorism takes many forms. While many fear an attack by a person or a small group of people, others are terrorized by a government. A government with missiles, tanks, and drones that show no mercy. The constant whirring of a drone overhead watching like a bird of prey. It wants to indiscriminately pluck you as one of its many war casualties.

Atef Abu Saif describes this Terror in his book, The Drone Eats With Me. He is describing the Gaza War of 2014, a 51-day invasion by Israel after a series o
Dec 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
Opening quote:”When war comes, it brings with it a smell, a fragrance even. You learn to recognize it as a kid growing up in these narrow streets. You develop a knack for detecting it, tasting it in the air. You can almost see it. Like a witch's familiar, it harks in the shadows, follows you at a distance wherever you go. If you retain this skill, you tell that it's coming – hours sometimes days, before it actually arrives. You don't mistake it. “ – attribution in Arabic p. 1

”Since 1948 – before
Feb 06, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: memoirs, book-club, 2017
My personal rating of "The Drone Eats With Me" is really two stars, but I feel like this had a lot to do with my own expectations for the book and not necessarily the writing or execution of it, so I'm giving it a 3. The important thing to understand about this memoir is that it is very literally a daily diary, a close-up account of one man's thoughts and experiences as he lives through the 2014 Israel-Gaza conflict. There is almost no contextual or historical information about what brought abou ...more
In The Drone Eats with Me: A Gaza Diary by Atep Abu Saif relates his experience as a civilian and living with his family and trying to survive the drones and tank attacks during July 7, 2014 to August 26, 2015.

The author did not want to write a sensationalized portrayal but instead give a true report of what he as a typical resident experienced. During this period of war, the author lives with his family in the largest refugee camp Gaza, Jabolia. Within this population dense place, his family st
Zee Monodee
I tried to get into this book. Really, I tried, keeping it open and not DNF'ing every time I wanted to. But in the end, I couldn't sustain it. Reading this book was like having a wound, pulling the Band-Aid every time, and then reopening the wound with a red-hot knife. Yes, painful and lots of suffering involved. It is such a rage-filled rant. Of course, I can understand the situation isn't conducive to flowers and butterflies and rainbows, but it is tough to maintain the pace with such rage on ...more
Sun Studio
Aug 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Emotionally, this was a difficult book to read so it took me awhile to read it. Atef Abu Saif has written about life in Gaza in a modified diary form detailing Israel’s 2014 invasion of the Gaza Strip which lasted 51 days and how it affected the everyday life of the civilian residents, men, women and children.

I tried not to let political considerations color my reactions to the destruction of so many lives and so many homes but it was an emotional roller coaster ride. That aside, I recommend thi
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