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From Beirut to Jerusalem

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This extraordinary bestseller is still the most incisive, thought-provoking book ever written about the Middle East. Thomas L. Friedman, twice winner of the Pulitzer Prize for international reporting, and now the Foreign Affairs columnist on the op-ed page of the New York Times, drew on his ten years in the Middle East to write a book that The Wall Street Journal called "a sparkling intellectual guidebook... an engrossing journey not to be missed." Now with a new chapter that brings the ever-changing history of the conflict in the Middle East up to date, this seminal historical work reaffirms both its timeliness and its timelessness. "If you're only going to read one book on the Middle East, this is it." -- Seymour Hersh

541 pages, Paperback

First published June 1, 1989

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About the author

Thomas L. Friedman

59 books1,649 followers
Thomas L. Friedman is an internationally renowned author, reporter, and, columnist—the recipient of three Pulitzer Prizes and the author of six bestselling books, among them From Beirut to Jerusalem and The World Is Flat.

Thomas Loren Friedman was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on July 20, 1953, and grew up in the middle-class Minneapolis suburb of St. Louis Park. He is the son of Harold and Margaret Friedman. He has two older sisters, Shelley and Jane.

In January 1995, Friedman took over the New York Times Foreign Affairs column. “It was the job I had always aspired to,” he recalled. “I had loved reading columns and op-ed articles ever since I was in high school, when I used to wait around for the afternoon paper, the Minneapolis Star, to be delivered. It carried Peter Lisagor. He was a favorite columnist of mine. I used to grab the paper from the front step and read it on the living room floor.”

Friedman has been the Times‘s Foreign Affairs columnist since 1995, traveling extensively in an effort to anchor his opinions in reporting on the ground. “I am a big believer in the saying ‘If you don’t go, you don’t know.’ I tried to do two things with the column when I took it over. First was to broaden the definition of foreign affairs and explore the impacts on international relations of finance, globalization, environmentalism, biodiversity, and technology, as well as covering conventional issues like conflict, traditional diplomacy, and arms control. Second, I tried to write in a way that would be accessible to the general reader and bring a broader audience into the foreign policy conversation—beyond the usual State Department policy wonks. It was somewhat controversial at the time. So, I eventually decided to write a book that would explain the framework through which I was looking at the world. It was a framework that basically said if you want to understand the world today, you have to see it as a constant tension between what was very old in shaping international relations (the passions of nationalism, ethnicity, religion, geography, and culture) and what was very new (technology, the Internet, and the globalization of markets and finance). If you try to see the world from just one of those angles, it won’t make sense. It is all about the intersection of the two.”

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 885 reviews
Profile Image for Brendan.
54 reviews79 followers
December 29, 2007
If you're sick and tired of what a pedantic wind-bag Thomas Friedman has become since his stupid 'lexus & olive-tree' epiphany, take a trip back to when he was less pedantic, less wind-baggish, and could make a point without the use of a dozen unnecessary, self-aggrandizing anecdotes.

From Beirut to Jerusalem is entertaining, well-written, poignant, and a great primer to middle-eastern/Israeli-Palestinian affairs. The Beirut section of the book is a bit better than the Jerusalem section (I get the feeling he had different editors for each), but overall it remains indispensable reading.
913 reviews401 followers
November 5, 2009
According to one cynical goodreads reviewer, From Beirut to Jerusalem offers some insight into “two sets of idiots killing each other over a piece of dirt.” My instinctive reaction when I read this was to feel sorry for this reviewer who clearly doesn’t know what it means to have a homeland, and to be so deeply invested in it as to be willing to die for it. My husband pointed out that the reviewer may actually know what it’s like to have a homeland. What the reviewer doesn’t know is what it’s like to have it taken away – a defining experience to which both Israelis and Palestinians lay claim.

This is but one of many divides between American culture and what’s going on in the Middle East, which is why Americans may never truly understand what’s happening there. I feel that this book is an excellent attempt at bridging that gap. Friedman writes clearly, and you come away from the book feeling like your understanding of Middle Eastern history and politics has both deepened and broadened greatly. For that alone, it’s a great book.

I admit that my feelings toward Israel as a Zionistic Jew currently living here in Israel tend to be emotional and irrational, and I’m aware that it was with no small measure of hypersensitivity and defensiveness that I read Friedman’s criticisms of Israeli behavior. I do applaud Friedman’s efforts to put his Jewish origins aside and report objectively on what goes on in the region. Objectivity and accuracy are important in journalism, even if this means that I won’t always like what the writer has to say.

I wonder, though, whether Friedman goes too far in the other direction. I believe that he has succeeded in overcoming feelings for Israel that would lead him to see Israel’s actions through rose-colored glasses and to report the news in a way that attempts to justify them. Instead, his reaction is frequently one of anger when Israel disappoints him and makes him ashamed of his Jewish identity – an equally personal and emotional reaction, and no less biased.

Friedman writes the following about his exclusive interview with Major General Amir Drori, the Israeli commander in Lebanon, following the Phalangist massacres at Sabra and Shatila which took place under the Israeli army’s watch:

“I must admit I was not professionally detached in this interview. I banged the table with my fist and shouted at Drori, ‘How could you do this? How could you not see? How could you not know?’ But what I was really saying, in a very selfish way, was ‘How could you do this to me, you bastards? I always thought you were different. I always thought we were different. I’m the only Jew in West Beirut. What do I tell people now? What do I tell myself?

“…So the next morning I buried Amir Drori on the front page of the New York Times, and along with him every illusion I ever held about the Jewish state.” (p. 166)

I’m not trying to justify what happened in Sabra and Shatila. Drori arguably deserved to be buried. But there was clearly a personal agenda here for Friedman, just as personal as a pro-Zionist agenda would have been.

Friedman writes with plain disgust about the indignities suffered by the Palestinians under Israeli occupation, an occupation which, incidentally, began after Israel won the territories in a war fought for self-defense. The chapter where Friedman describes this is replete with anecdotes and quotes from victimized Palestinians and bullying Israelis.

In contrast, Friedman compares the Palestinian challenge to Israel to a “poke in the ribs.” He goes on in the very next sentence to say:
“Palestinians planted bombs in Israeli supermarkets, on their airplanes, under the seats of their buses, and even in an old refrigerator in the heart of Jerusalem. They hijacked their airplanes, murdered their Olympic team, and shot up their embassies.” (p. 347)

Some poke in the ribs! Ever ridden on a bus where a suspicious “package” is discovered? I have. So have my children. But that experience doesn’t compare to riding a bus where the suspicious package remains undiscovered. It goes way beyond a poke in the ribs, I can tell you. Interviews with people who have lost arms, legs, or children to this poke in the ribs were woefully missing from Friedman’s account, as was a fair effort to place oppressive Israeli behavior in context.

For example, in one particularly painful anecdote Friedman describes a Palestinian man interrupted during an intimate moment with his wife by Israeli soldiers who have come to arrest him. The soldier telling the story admits to wolfishly eying the wife as the husband dresses to accompany them. What Friedman doesn’t tell us is what the Palestinian man had done to deserve his arrest. Would the anecdote read the same way if we were also informed that this man was directly involved in innocent civilian murders? I don’t know what the man’s charges were or whether they were justified, but the complete omission of the context surrounding his arrest makes the story seem very one-sided.

Israeli arrests of Palestinians were generally painted by Friedman with a broad brush as largely unwarranted, paranoid behavior by Israelis. I’m not saying this is never the case. But I do think it’s more complicated than Friedman makes it sound. In contrast, behavior by various Lebanese groups in Beirut which might seem unfathomable to a Westerner was carefully explained by Friedman and rendered almost understandable, if not sympathetic.

I don’t want to overstate my case. Friedman does discuss Western hyper-scrutiny and quick judgment of Israel, and factors which go into over-reporting by the media of Israeli mistakes. He defends Israeli behavior occasionally, or at least explains it. And I’m sure that if I could get hold of Edward Said’s review of this book, I would get some perspective on Friedman’s possible unfairness in the other direction as well. Finally, as I said, I know that my objectivity when it comes to this issue is sharply limited.

Overall, I’m glad I read the book. “From Beirut to Jerusalem” both expanded and deepened my knowledge of what’s going on around me, and I think it’s important for me to start gathering the facts and not just the experiences. My understanding of my position as a Jew here in Israel is far more complex now than it was before I read the book. And the book is readable as well as informative – I whipped through its 500+ pages pretty quickly. My husband, who is better-informed than I am on these issues, summed it up well when he told me that he feels Friedman’s perspective is a legitimate one – but it’s one of many legitimate perspectives out there. And now, I want to read some others. My increasing desire to read further on the subject may be the greatest testimony to the book’s worth.
Profile Image for Dan.
1,105 reviews52 followers
April 10, 2023
From Beirut to Jerusalem by Tom Friedman won the National Book Award for Non-Fiction in 1989.

Lebanon was once known as the Switzerland of the Middle East, a land of mountains, money, and many cultures, all of which somehow miraculously managed to live together in harmony. At least that was the picture-postcard view. It was not the Lebanon that greeted Ann and me in June 1979. We came to a country that had been in the grip of a civil war since 1975. Our first evening at the Beirut Commodore Hotel I remember lying awake listening to a shootout right down the street. It was the first time I had ever heard a gun fired in my life

This book had all the ingredients from which Friedman could draw on to write profoundly.

Firstly, Friedman lived for a decade in Lebanon and Israel while working as the New York Times Middle East correspondent. Not many people can make that claim as a writer that they were on assignment for ten years in a foreign land. So he knows his material — really well.

Secondly, Friedman arrived during the 1980s while history was being made. The rise of the PLO and the crackdown by Israel ushered in a significant period in world history, certainly a vital period in the Middle East. A lot of violence occurred while Friedman was in Beirut including the bombing of the U.S. Marine Compound in Beirut in 1983. However it was while leaving Israel for a new job in Washington when his windshield was shattered by a rock throwing Palestinian which caused him to write this:

How ironic, I thought afterward. I had seen marching armies of many nations pass through Beirut and ultramodern jets clash above the skies. I had seen the battleship New Jersey fire shells as big as Chevrolets, and I had seen my own apartment house reduced to dust by a pound of the most sophisticated high explosives known to man. I had seen massacres and car bombings and heard snipers until they had almost become routine. I had dodged them all for ten years, only to get hit by a stone.

Friedman writes about the Israeli-Palestine conflict with a sense of boyish wonder, but not naïveté. He did not opine on how to solve the conflict. He just reported and contextualized his experiences while in the middle of it all. Rabin, Sharon, Arafat were all central players in the drama. He also wrote of the holocaust and the history of Palestine in small but relevant doses.

Lastly, Friedman produced a lot of facts and anecdotes and he had interviews with powerful leaders that kept the book entertaining. He was able to remain balanced in his views although he has some disdain for authoritarian figures to be sure. Friedman did come under fire by some for empathizing with the Palestinians despite his own Jewish heritage.

I only have one small criticism of the book: there are only two, largely useless, maps of Lebanon and Israel.

5 stars. While three decades of history have passed since this work was first published, it is masterfully wrought and remains a surprisingly fresh and insightful read. It is a bit long at more than 600 pages but worth it.
Profile Image for Vivek V.
24 reviews37 followers
December 3, 2019
Quite insightful. Best part that Friedman offers practically implementable options for initiating a process that in the long run ensures never-ending peace in the Middle East. I wish such a solution makes way into Indo-Pakistan dispute as well.
Profile Image for Mike.
1,115 reviews153 followers
November 28, 2014
I used to follow and read Thomas Friedman’s columns regularly. Thought he was a pretty interesting guy even if I didn’t subscribe to his politics. But he became a bloated, pompous caricature of a journalist as he turned out junk like The World is Flat, The Sky is Blue, The Sea is Salty (well maybe the last two aren’t real but he has a bunch of similar-sounding books). I decided to go back to his first book From Beirut to Jerusalem to see how he got his start. I figured it would be a less slanted, more unbiased, open-eyed look at the world before he got sucked up into the “collective” that is the current NYT. I was wrong. He freely admits his intention to slant his stories about Israel’s Lebanon invasion because he was so “betrayed” in his “Israel on a pedestal” views. This book is not what I expected and hoped for, a history of the region and why it is in conflict. This is a “Tom’s excellent adventure” in Beirut and Jerusalem, mainly about him and his travels. It is also very focused on the personalities of the day, which is understandable because he was the reporter on the scene. The book does not travel the span of time well.

I give props to Friedman, he has some cojones going to report on the Lebanese civil war as his first big assignment. A Jew in Beirut, he figures no one would suspect him of being jewish there. Pretty ballsy. But he quickly disabuses me of the idea he is an honest reporter. Short version of his reporting: the PLO is good-hearted but amateurish and unsophisticated in an appealing way; the Maronite Christians are Beirut’s corrupt version of the mafia, evil and untrustworthy; the Sunni Muslims are mysterious and vaguely honorable; the Shia are somewhat naïve and trusting but rising up in justified anger; and the Israelis are lying devils invading poor, innocent Lebanon. I found him cold; his unemotional description of the death of his employee’s wife and daughter who were babysitting his Beirut apartment during a particularly dangerous time and were blown up by warring factions struck me; his tossing off of the gassing of Iraqi Kurds by Saddam as just how strong leaders dealt with uppity tribes; the “Hama rules” of Hafez al-Assad. His treatment of the PLO and Arafat in Lebanon was very sympathetic. His treatment of Lebanese society seemed like caricatures.

He moves to Jerusalem and reports on Israel. Again I found his writing very slanted. He describes one incident where a Jewish man is pelted by stones as he is driving. The man stops to get revenge on the Palestinian boys who could have killed him. Friedman witnesses the event but says the reason the man was so upset was because he would have to pay $250 to repair his windshield…? Are you freakin’ kidding me?

The book does give a more nuanced view of the society with its warring factions over how to deal with the West Bank and Gaza. Also the friction between the secular and the religious populations is decent. I found his explanation of the first intifada interesting as he brings out the impacts on both sides. This part of the book was ok.
Finally, Friedman can’t resist putting up his own solution to end the conflict. What is needed is an Israeli “bastard for peace” who will take the chance and give the West Bank and Gaza over to the Palestinians so they can have a “home” of their own. Working out really well in the case of Gaza now, isn’t it Tom? The “river to the sea” is not an empty slogan, the Palestinians will never be satisfied until the entire state of Israel is gone. For a better history and assessment of the region, read The High Cost of Peace: How Washington's Middle East Policy Left America Vulnerable to Terrorism.

2 Stars in recognition of Friedman’s guts to live and report in the region.
Profile Image for Lisa (Harmonybites).
1,834 reviews331 followers
March 1, 2013
It was an Israeli friend who told me that if I wanted to understand today's Middle East, I should read this book. The author is well-qualified as a guide to the region’s complexities. Friedman, who is Jewish and studied Hebrew as a child, as a teen spent a vacation in an Israeli Kibbutz. He started studying Arabic as well, and fell in love with Egypt after a two-week visit on his way to a semester at Hebrew University. Less than two years later he was taking Arabic courses at the American University in Cairo. After college he earned a Masters at Oxford in Middle Eastern Studies: then, he became a reporter. In Beirut. In the midst of their civil war. He’d spend almost five years there, winning a Pulitzer Prize for his coverage of the massacre at Sabra and Shatilia camps. When American marines were slaughtered in their Beirut barracks, Friedman was on scene watching the bomb’s mushroom cloud rise overhead. He’d then spend almost four years as the Jerusalem Bureau Chief for the New York Times.

I’ve read criticisms of Friedman’s style as risible, with mixed metaphors and outlandish analogies. I didn’t really notice in the Beirut portion of the book, and I usually do. I think it’s that the story he had to tell was so riveting, I didn’t trip up on that--I just glided right through. When you’re reading about an Israeli officer being confronted in Beirut with three boxes, one filled with heads, another with torsos and another with limbs or read of how the parrot at the bar of the Commodore Hotel rendered a “perfect imitation of the whistle of an incoming shell,” it’s not style that draws your attention. I certainly found this book very readable and well-paced in that first half of the book. I admit I did start noticing the plethora of analogies in the Jerusalem portion. Maybe because a Hobbesian hell like Beirut rivets your attention more than the stories of a functioning democracy. Maybe it’s that the Beirut portions seemed more built on personal experience and observations, while the Jerusalem portions more based on interviews with others. Maybe it’s that his stylistic tics, as some reviewers suggest, increased over time and the Beirut portions were based on material written earlier. For whatever reason, I did find the second half of the book less compelling, and the style much more irksome.

Friedman seemed to me very even-handed. He certainly took to task not just Arabs, but the Israelis and the Americans for a generous share of the blame. Some reviewers pegged him as a Neo-Con, but given his insistence there will be no peace until Israeli settlers are withdrawn from the West Bank, his account of the Israeli occupation there, and his criticism of the Reagan and first Bush administrations, he hardly came across to me that way, and the Goodreads bio taken from the Wiki described him as "left-leaning." I don't think he's so easily labeled, at least not in this book. He identifies three forces that drive much of the madness of the Middle East, and interestingly it isn’t religion, or at least religion per se, which he blames. Even when it comes to Islamic Fundamentalism, he believes it “is at root a secular socioeconomic problem.” He points to three conflicting and competing forces: tribalism, authoritarianism, and nationalism--particularly in the context of how the colonial powers drew very artificial lines when in the aftermath of World War I the Middle Eastern states were established.

I may not always agree with Friedman's analysis or his solutions, but certainly his account of his time in the Middle East makes for a good primer on the nations of the Middle East and their conflicts, even though almost a quarter of a century has passed since the original publication. And the 2012 edition I read had an interesting Afterword on the events that have passed since, particularly Friedman’s thoughts on the Arab Spring and its opportunities and dangers. This may not be the last word on the subject of the contemporary Middle East, but it’s not a bad place to start.
Profile Image for A Man Called Ove.
915 reviews219 followers
December 7, 2021
4.5/5 The first half of the book deals with the Civil War in Lebanon. Was greatly reminded of the situation in Afghanistan that I learnt by reading Ahmed Rashid's acclaimed Taliban: Militant Islam, Oil and Fundamentalism in Central Asia. Half-a-dozen tribes/sects and each of them in war with every1 else and the neighbours getting involved to burn their hands. Also realised that Friedman's skill of insightful narration with anecdotes is unparalleled. Finally, understood what it was about.
The second half is on the Israel-Palestine conflict. Again the author discusses Zionism, the various sections of the Israeli society, the roots of the conflict,the intifada, its media coverage in the West and the relations between America and Israel in some depth. Was dry for a while in between but mostly interesting. Also liked that views and experiences of a number of people have been recorded as in a travelogue.
Cant say it enough, havent seen an author as perceptive with such a great eye on the big picture as Thomas Friedman. Deservedly, he has 3 Pulitzers. And 3 5-star ratings out of the 4 books that I have read by him.
Profile Image for Adam.
316 reviews20 followers
March 24, 2011
Knowing nothing or Friedman I found it interesting that I was ridiculed for having this book in hand. I guess that's what you get for bringing 'Neo-Con Zionist' literature to an internship in Palestine! My only prior knowledge of the book was that it covered the recent history of the Middle East with a heavy emphasis on the Palestinian and Israeli conflict. I thought I'd dive in for a bit of education. . .

During the first half of the book, Friedman's profession is made very clear, both through his writing, and his writing style. He talks at great lengths of himself as a journalist but also does a great job of reporting on the tumultuous period in Lebanese history. Knowing nothing of these conflicts, I appreciated his presentation of their development and, especially, America's involvement.

By the time Friedman, and the book, move on to Jerusalem, my interest slowly slipped away. Honestly, it was hard to go into the text objectively as those around me continued to tell me how horrible it was, despite never having read the book in full themselves. But, here's what I got out of it.

Unlike Beirut, Friedman presents little fact based history on the development of the Israeli State. Instead, he focuses on the ideological reasons that the country came about, and the implications that these reasons have for a visiting American Jew. An interesting perspective if you're curious as to how Friedman deals with his own religion, but not so much outside of that.

As the book dives deeper into the Palestinian and Israeli divide, Friedman isolates himself as a strong supporter of Israel. While, yes, he makes claims of wanting peace, and recognizing the difficulty of the process, the way in which he frames the situation is, well, antagonistic. I understand that the book was written at the height of the First Intifada, but, even so, continually referring to a people as a collective enemy is not only unscholarly but outright ignorant. Isn't creating 'us versus them' how wars start? Not how they end?

The dichotomy he creates, and adheres to, speaks worlds for his political views and unwillingness to accept the fact that there is a nation of people who have been routinely oppressed by the creation of the State of Israel. I cannot fathom how, or why, as a highly revered journalist, he can get away with the hypothetical speeches he has imagined Prime Ministers deliver at the end of the book. To be so brazen, so negative, so hateful.

I am amazed that he is still so highly regarded. Perhaps his writing since the publication of this book has been more objective. Or, perhaps, it hasn't, and that's exactly what America wants, or thinks it wants.


Now I know why I was mocked for reading it. I don't regret it, I just won't ever go back to it!
Profile Image for Tony Le.
Author 1 book17 followers
December 4, 2018
A one sided extremely biased book. Mr. Friedman! You could have done a much better job had you relayed the views of both conflicting parties of the Lebanese war. Blaming all the miseries on one side only while picturing the other side as the innocent victim only accentuates your incomprehension of the reasons that led to the war, or maybe reflects the result of an 'inflated pocket'!!!
Profile Image for Dave.
9 reviews212 followers
July 28, 2007
A very insightful book that tells the story of two different cultures at odds, not just with one another, but with themselves. He draws parallels between these two disparate societies by focusing on each one's search for identity. In addition to the politics, greed, and the arrogant assumption that cruelty can be justified by an invisible sociopath in the sky described in this book, the author also beautifully conveys the dignity and sanity of which human beings are capable, even in the worst situations.

I don't pretend to know a hell of a lot about politics and I've never been off of the North American continent, so I can't say much about the accuracy of the author's assessments or predictions, but they seem a lot more realistic than the cartoonish view of the world that Sean Hannity and his merry band of jackasses at Fox News present.

So, if you want to read a very clever book about a bunch of idiots killing each other over a patch of dirt, then this is for you.
Profile Image for Chafic (Rello).
462 reviews24 followers
May 13, 2019
This book is older than I am.
But, I had read it while I was in Lebanon - and while dated, time hasn't changed the underlying commentary in the book.

What would normally spark quite a heated debate is broken down and approached from a historical/empirical view of the matter that highlights the different dynamics of both Lebanon and Israel.

It's well-written, it's informative and got my 24-year old adolescent brain actually thinking about a topic I've been oblivious to.
Profile Image for brian   .
248 reviews2,979 followers
September 14, 2007
it's easy to laugh at friedman: 'he's an intellectual lightweight', 'he's a diehard optimist', blahblahblah... put simply: this is always my first recommendation for anyone curious to read about the middle east. that's because it's fucking great. should be required reading.
Profile Image for Hải Lưu.
506 reviews76 followers
October 5, 2017
Sống động, tràn đầy thông tin, độ chân thực thì chưa rõ, nhưng đọc rất hấp dẫn!
Profile Image for Thành.
18 reviews
December 7, 2016
Trong 10 năm sống và làm việc của mình ở trung đông, Thomas Friedman đã trải qua những khoảng khắc và bước ngoặt lịch sử tại đây.
Với 5 năm đầu sống tại Beỉut, Friedman đã được chứng một "Tam Quốc Diễn Nghĩa" ở Trung đông đầu những năm 80. Nhưng là "đa tộc" thay cho "tam quốc" và "xung đột lợi ích" thay cho "diễn nghĩa".
Sau khi được NYT thiên chuyển đến Jerusalem, Friedman đã dành 5 năm tiếp theo cuộc cuộc đời để tìm hiểu và sống cuộc sống của một người Do Thái, trên một đất nước Do Thái, vô cùng đa sắc và nhiều biến cố. Có thể có người cho rằng Friedman là người Do Thái nhưng lại đi nói xấu Isreal, nhưng không phải thế. Thomas Friedman là một nhà báo, và ông đã hoàn thành những nhiệm vụ của mình: nói sự thật và chỉ sự thật (không chèn cảm xúc cá nhân).

Một cuấn sách có nhiều giá tr��� về nhiều mặt.
165 reviews
May 14, 2007
I'm not a huge fan of Friedman lately, but this book is great. I thought the section on Beirut to be more autobiographical in terms of relating directly to his experience as a journalist there. Meanwhile, the Jerusalem section seemed more broad. I can't help but wonder (I'm sure I can read his NY Times column if I wanted to find out)how he views events since- post- assasination of Rabin, premiership of Netanyahu, second intifada. At any rate, this is a must read for anyone interested in that area of the world.
Profile Image for Lien.
138 reviews9 followers
July 9, 2019
Từ một người ko ham j lịch sử với chính trị mà có thể miệt mài đọc hết ~750 trang sách thật ko phải bình thường:)) Phần hay của sách là ko chỉ nêu ra sự kiện, đưa ra tin tức mà còn giúp ng ta hiểu dc cuộc sống, suy nghĩ của người dân tại thời điểm đó.
Cuốn sách cũng giúp mình trả lời dc phần nào 2 câu hỏi băn khoăn bao lâu là Tại sao ng Hồi giáo lại tàn bạo như vậy? và nguyên nhân của xung đột giữa Israel và Palestine.
21 reviews
March 22, 2022
I think too often it is easy for us all to engage in political discussions under the guise that we either a) pretend to know what we are talking about or b) acknowledge that we don’t know but continue to campaign for our point with such little knowledge. I found this particularly prudent with discussions surrounding the Middle East and having acknowledged that I myself was a perpetrator of such behaviours, I set out reading this book with the goal of being educated enough to hold a discussion on this issue.

While I can’t yet say that I am even close to expert on this topic, or that I know what I am talking about half the time, I am confident that I have enough knowledge to hold a conversation. Moreover, i am certain that this book has demonstrated to me the complexity of the Middle East situation and that I will no longer make blanket statements without proper consideration of the repercussions.

This book was incredibly written. I especially found the first half- which focussed on Beirut- enjoyable, partly because I could relate to it but also because it was more action packed. The second half was still important and interesting but I struggled to connect with it all, in particular with chapters on the American Jewry. Despite this shortcoming, it was key to me gaining an understanding of the Israeli state and the current Israeli-Palestinian conflict. While I did sometimes find the book slightly biased through an American Jewish lens, I acknowledge that this was largely a response of my own previous experiences, as much as a lack of understanding of the Jewish outlook on the Israeli state.

Though this book may not be new, and lacks content from the last 25 years, in many way this serves as a historical strength. It is key towards gaining a deeper understanding of the root of middle eastern conflicts which seems to be layer upon layer of increasingly complex and tense dilemmas, born in a history of religious idealism and political righteousness.

Finally Thomas Friedman is an excellent writer, journalist and someone who I would very much like to meet. He has inspired me to consider international journalism as a career and I have the utmost admiration for the situations he has found himself in and the ways he has coped.

When I set out in October last year it was my goal to finish it by the end of the year. And while I may have fallen short of that, I am very happy that I persisted because I believe I am now a more considered and aware person (at least on this issue).

I strongly recommend this book to anyone who would like to learn more- hope that we can have some educated debates soon!
Profile Image for Amir Azad.
163 reviews25 followers
March 14, 2018
احتمالا بهترین کتابی است که درباره مناقشه فلسطین- اسرائیل و ایضا جنگ داخلی لبنان خوانده ام. شفاف، دقیق، روشن کننده و از متن حوادث
کتاب سه بخش دارد. بیروت. قدس و واشنگتن.
بخش بیروت را بدون زمین گذاشتن خواندم. چون اصلا نمی‌شد زمین گذاشت. بخش قدس (اسرائیل) را با فاصله و به تفاریق. ولی بخش واشنگتن را اصلا نخواندم. گمانم در دو بخش به استغنا رسیدم.
Profile Image for H..
30 reviews22 followers
November 18, 2020
Ờ Mây Zing!! Gút Chóp :)))) nhưng lắm lúc viết dông dài quá nên trừ 1 sao thanh lịch bạn nhé. Recommend cho bạn nào muốn tìm hiểu sâu về Israel nên tìm đọc cuốn My promised land của tg Ari Shavit nhé.
Profile Image for Ryan Schnier.
16 reviews1 follower
July 9, 2016
Thomas Friedman’s From Beirut to Jerusalem is an extremely informative yet incomplete book about the origins of the Israel-Palestine conflict. It tracks the author's growing disillusionment with Israel and its policies, as he progresses from a young zionist to someone that sympathizes more with the Palestinian cause. As a result, this book (the second half, in particular) tells the Palestinian narrative of the Israel-Palestine conflict, holding Israel to a higher moral standard without serious regard to its perspective. Below are a few examples:

- He dedicates a chapter to Yasser Arafat, portraying him as an “agent of change” and a “great actor.” Yasser Arafat was the father of modern terrorism and is responsible for the death of scores of Israelis. He also stole millions of dollars in international Palestinian aid for himself (though in the author's defence this took place after the book was written).

- He discusses the “humiliation” of Palestinians by Israel, who work building Israeli settlements, knitting Israeli t-shirts and serving in Israeli restaurants, disregarding the fact that these jobs provide the Palestinians more money than they would have been able to earn otherwise, as well as the fact that the Palestinians did not need to do this work - they chose to for their own financial benefit.

- He oversimplifies the reasons for Palestinian attacks on Israelis, arguing that the Palestinian nationalist cause and a general unhappiness with the occupation are the main impetus, disregarding the larger Arab-Israeli conflict as a whole (specifically, the fact that Arabs have been trying to destroy Israel since long before Israel conquered the West Bank and Gaza in 1967).

- He compares the Palestinian challenge to Israelis to a “poke in the ribs,” stating that planting bombs on buses and in grocery stores does not threaten Israel. This is one of the only times in the book he discusses the effect of the conflict on Israelis; the rest describes Israeli actions against Palestinians.

- He describes the first Palestinian intifada as “non-lethal civil disobedience” despite the fact that this conflict killed 160 Israelis and over 1500 Palestinians, while implying general support for its goals.

It is worth pointing out that although Friedman is highly critical of the Israelis, his proposal for a solution implies that Palestinians undertake virtually all the initiatives, and until they do, he does not blame Israelis for their skepticism of any peace deal. He notes that until the Palestinians develop social, cultural, economic and political infrastructure of their own, no peace deal will be effective. I believe this to be accurate.

In general, this book provides an informative account of the formation of the PLO and some of the reasons for the anti-Israel attitudes among Palestinians, as well as an interesting solution. However, it fails to provide Israeli viewpoints (i.e. specific interviews with Israeli victims of terrorism to contrast the interviews with Palestinians would make it more objective) and the reasons Israel takes the actions it does.
Profile Image for Susan O.
276 reviews97 followers
August 19, 2016
I really enjoyed this book, but more so when I realized it was memoir rather than history. Friedman is writing about his time as a journalist in Beirut and Jerusalem roughly between 1979 and 1989. He was in Beirut during the Lebanese civil war and the Israeli invasion, intended to drive out Arafat and the PLO, and moved on to Jerusalem in time for the first intifada, beginning in 1987.

I enjoyed the first half of the book more and feel that he did a better job in it of simply reporting the circumstances with sufficient historical background for it all to make sense. He lived in Beirut while there and although he conducted interviews with leaders and individuals from all the different factions, this portion of the book seemed to include more personal observations and, as another reviewer noted, fewer analogies. But when he got to the portion of the book when he was living in Jerusalem there seems to be more emphasis on the philosophies of various groups.

I appreciated learning about the different perspectives of various groups of Zionists, there was a wider range than I realized, but by the end the interviews seemed excessive. Perhaps, this is because Friedman is Jewish and wanted to avoid interjecting his personal opinion, so he gave many others a voice. I wouldn't say as some others do that he was overwhelmingly biased in favor of Israel. He takes everyone to task at some point - the Israelis, the Arab countries, the PLO, and the Americans. However, it did seem that the Israeli position received more of a platform than that of the Palestinians. This could be because of whom he had access to.

Overall, even though the book is dated, I'm glad I read it. It had been on my shelf for years, but if you are interested I would suggest trying to pick up a used copy since it doesn't have any up to date information.
436 reviews15 followers
July 1, 2009
I am woefully ignorant of most of the conflicts in the Middle East, and even though the information in this book is pretty dated, it offers a useful window into the dynamics in Lebanon and Israel. Friedman writes with restraint and insight, and has some truly great pieces of analysis, like the chapter on Israel and Jewish identity. Now if he could only stop indulging his analogy fetish. Which one is it, Tom? Is the Middle East like an ice cream cone, or is it like The Great Gatsby? Make up your mind!
Profile Image for Tùng Hoàng.
11 reviews1 follower
August 9, 2019

Tác giả: Thomas Freedman

Phần 1 - Từ Beirut ...

“Chiến tranh có màu gì hả mẹ?
Là màu trắng tang tóc con ơi
Mẹ mất con, vợ mất chồng mãi mãi
Là con thơ mãi không biết mặt cha”
(Sưu tầm - Facebook Anh Sáu)

Chiến tranh, nỗi ám ảnh dai dẳng, là máu phải trả bằng máu, là sự kiêu hãnh ảo tưởng của những kẻ cầm quyền, là những bất công vẫn hàng ngày đè nén lên mọi con người trong một cuộc nội chiến vô nghĩa, vô cảm và phi nhân tính. Cuộc nội chiến tại Liban đã chứng tỏ sự bế tắc, không bên nào chịu sự cai trị của bên nào. Bên cạnh thương vong giáng vào hàng nghìn người dân Liban vô tội, nạn nhân của cuộc chiến này là chính phủ Liban giờ đã mất hết quyền lực, lãnh thổ Liban bị chia năm xẻ bảy không theo một cách chính thống nào. Thủ đô Beirut ở trong tình trạng của một thành phố bị chia cắt, tháng này những người Syria và Cơ đốc giáo chiến đấu chống lại người Palestine, tháng kia thì những người Syria và Palestine lại chiến đấu chống lại người Cơ đốc giáo.

“Khi nào sẽ có hòa bình ở Liban? Khi người Liban bắt đầu yêu quý con cái mình hơn là căm ghét lẫn nhau”. Câu hỏi và câu tự trả lời này là sự thừa nhận cay đắng của người dân Liban khi nhìn vào tình cảnh của đất nước mình, khi các dân tộc và tôn giáo trong nước không thể xây dựng được mối đoàn kết bền chặt, khi mà sự cực đoan tôn giáo “là riêng, là thứ nhất” chiếm lĩnh trong mọi đầu óc, tư tưởng.

Liban bị xiết vào gọng kìm của ba cuộc nội chiến đồng thời, mà không ai có thể gỡ ra nổi – kể cả những kẻ tham chiến: nội chiến giữa Cơ đốc giáo và Hồi giáo để nắm quyền chính phủ, nội chiến trong nội bộ những người Hồi giáo và Cơ đốc giáo xem phe nhóm nào kiểm soát vùng đất tương ứng của mình, và cuộc nội chiến giữa những người được hưởng lợi từ sự hỗn độn của Liban ở một khía cạnh nào đó với tất cả những thường dân chịu đựng hết sự hỗn loạn này đến sự hỗn loạn khác. Nền dân chủ ở Liban không phải là nền dân chủ thực sự mà chỉ là một sự cân bằng quyền lực giữa các đảng phái, tự do họ có không phải là tự do thực sự, mà là tình trạng vô chính phủ có tổ chức.

Dưới ngòi bút của một phóng viên chiến trường đã từng thoát lưỡi hái tử thần trong gang tấc, đã tham gia mọi cuộc họp bàn, thảo luận giữa các phe phái diễn ra như những vở kịch tuồng, Thomas Freedman lột tả chân thực cuộc sống trong một đất nước vô chính phủ và nội chiến triền miên. Từng dòng chữ trong trang sách sẽ làm độc giả đồng cảm với sự dồn nén, căm phẫn, cay đắng, bí bức đến cùng cực của người dân Liban trong cái cuộc sống ngạt thở ở cái địa ngục trần gian này:

“Chủ nhân của một chiếc xe bị cháy đã chạy ra khỏi tầm đạn và thấy chiếc xe của mình đã trở thành một khối méo mó, cháy đen, tan tành, xoắn lại chẳng hơn gì một món đồ đồng nát. Trên xác chiếc xe của mình, anh ta nguệch ngoạc những dòng chữ Ả rập và treo nó ngay trên tấm kính chắn gió vỡ nham nhở:

Chúng tôi đã làm gì mà phải chịu điều này? Chúng tôi chỉ là những con người. Ai đó làm ơn hãy giúp chúng tôi kết thúc cuộc chiến này”

Trước khi rời khỏi Liban, rời khỏi 5 năm mệt mỏi đi cùng cuộc nội chiến đã kéo dài 9 năm tr��n ��ất nước này, trong trạng thái bò trở lại nhà tắm để trốn những làn đạn súng cối, ngồi dựa lưng vào bệ xí, Thomas Freedman vừa đợi đến lúc ngừng bắn vừa ngẫm nghĩ: “Thật là điên rồ. Mình đang bị nã đạn, mà đó lại chẳng phải tin tức gì cả. Đến lúc phải đi rồi”.

Trong nửa phần đầu của cuốn sách, tác giả đã bóc trần sự mâu thuẫn xã hội xen lẫn những âm mưu, tham vọng giữa các Đảng phái (PLO, Phalange..), giữa các cộng đồng tôn giáo cho đến sự can thiệp vũ trang của Israel và Mỹ để chỉ rõ vì sao, vì căn nguyên gì mà một đất nước từng được coi là Thụy Sỹ của Trung Đông giờ đây trở thành nơi con người hàng ngày phải sống chui lủi dưới những làn đạn, và cuộc sống hôm nay là chỉ mong chờ cho ngày mai mình còn sống.

Từng trang sách là từng vết đau rỉ máu, là sự dằn vặt, trốn chạy cuộc chiến cả ngày lẫn đêm, và trong từng trang sách đó là niềm mong ước hòa bình, là niềm khao khát được sống tuôn trào mạnh mẽ. Đồng hành cùng diễn biến của cuộc chiến trên mọi nẻo đường phố, độc giả sẽ tận mắt chứng kiến những ranh giới giữa lòng trắc ẩn của con người với sự tàn bạo vô biên của họ, sự khéo léo ngay cạnh sự dại dột đáng kinh ngạc, sự mất trí bên cạnh khả năng chịu đựng vô tận. Đọc về Liban, đọc về Beirut, đọc về nỗi thống khổ mà chiến tranh mang lại cho cả một đất nước, một dân tộc, đọc để từ đó trân trọng cuộc sống hòa bình, và đọc để cầu mong cho người dân Liban hay người dân nhiều vùng chiến sự trên thế giới cho đến ngày hôm nay vẫn chưa ngưng tiếng súng sớm được hưởng hạnh phúc của an bình và tự do.

“Niềm hy vọng ở Liban không phải là bông hoa, mà là cỏ dại. Chỉ cần cho nó một tia nắng mong manh, và một giọt nước tí tẹo, thì nó sẽ lập tức đâm chồi và sinh sôi nảy nở giữa những khe nứt của đám gạch vụn ở Beirut”.

Phần 2 - ... Đến Jerusalem

"Ngày hôm nay, cuối cùng chúng ta cũng công nhận sự thật rõ ràng: Jerusalem là thủ đô của Israel. Việc này không có gì khác hơn ngoài việc thừa nhận thực tế. Đó là một việc làm đúng đắn."

Ngày 06/12/2017, từ Nhà Trắng, Tổng thống Mỹ Donald Trump đã chính thức tuyên bố công nhận Jerusalem là thủ đô của Israel. Việc Mỹ công nhận Jerusalem là thủ đô Israel đã làm "nóng" lại một trong những điểm xung đột phức tạp và nhạy cảm nhất lịch sử thế giới hiện đại. Jerusalem là thành phố nằm ở biên giới giữa Israel và Bờ Tây nhưng hơn hết, đây là vùng đất thánh đã khởi sinh ra 3 tôn giáo lớn của nhân loại, Do Thái giáo, Cơ Đốc giáo và Hồi giáo. Sau tuyên bố công nhận Jerusalem là thủ đô của Israel, người dân Palestine đã tổ chức biểu tình hàng ngày tại khu Bờ Tây và Dải Gaza, ném đá vào lính Israel và đốt bánh xe, làm khói đen phủ kín khu vực.

Ngày 12/10/2018, Phái bộ ngoại giao của Tổ chức Giải phóng Palestine (PLO) tại Thủ đô Washington D.C, Mỹ, vừa phải đóng cửa theo lệnh từ chính quyền nhằm ngăn cản Palestine kiện Israel, đồng minh của Mỹ, ra Tòa hình sự quốc tế và ép Palestine phải đối thoại với Israel theo hướng mà Mỹ áp đặt. Như vậy, tiếp theo việc chuyển đại sứ quán Mỹ tại Israel tới Jerusalem, chính quyền Mỹ cũng chấm dứt khoản viện trợ nhân đạo cho Palestine, tuyên bố cắt gói hỗ trợ tài chính cho người tị nạn Palestine.

Giữa những sự kiện dồn dập của thế giới hiện nay, chúng ta cùng quay về những năm 1930, khi người Do Thái bị chế độ phát xít Hitler khủng bố khắp châu Âu đã tràn vào một khu vực ở Palestine mà họ xác định là quê hương theo Kinh Thánh, nay chính là Israel. Từ đó, thế giới có phong trào Do thái phục quốc, kêu gọi những ai là người Do Thái hồi hương về đất tổ. Giữa người Do Thái hồi hương và người Palestine ở vùng đất này đã liên tục xảy ra tranh chấp đất đai kể từ đó.
Nhà nước Do Thái Israel non trẻ từng bước xây dựng và kiên cường chống đỡ áp lực khủng khiếp của thế giới Hồi giáo xung quanh. Nhưng đây quả là một cuộc phiêu lưu của các đoàn người Do Thái di cư từ khắp nơi trên thế giới trở về. Và phần 2 – Đến Jerusalem chính là câu chuyện của một người con Do Thái lớn lên bằng những câu chuyện, những huyền thoại về Israel, đã tới Jerusalem trong những năm 1980 và phát hiện ra rằng đó không phải là trại hè của người Do Thái như thời niên thiếu của mình. Chàng trai đó nhận ra, rằng đúng là một chuyện liều lĩnh và vẫn chưa có lời giải khi để cho những người Do Thái chung sống trong một quốc gia giữa lòng thế giới Ả rập. Tại đây, cộng đồng các nhóm người của dân tộc Do Thái đã bị cuốn vào cuộc chiến giữa những ý tưởng mới, các mối quan hệ mới, những ước vọng quốc gia riêng biệt mà họ cố gắng xây đắp cho tương lai, với những kỷ niệm xưa cũ, những say mê hoài cổ và những thù hận cũ mòn hòng kéo họ quay trở về quá khứ.

Bằng những cuộc phỏng vấn và đi đến các vùng miền của đất nước, Thomas Friedman đã phát hiện ra điều đáng kinh ngạc nhất về nhà nước duy nhất của người Do Thái khi trên thực tế nó được xây dựng dựa trên những bất đồng cơ bản và sâu sắc tồn tại giữa các công dân về định nghĩa chính xác một người Do Thái là gì và một nhà nước Do Thái nên đại diện cho kiểu sống nào của người Do Thái. Tác giả đã gặp nhiều người Do Thái đến từ Mỹ và Tây Âu, những người đến Israel để tìm kiếm bản thân như một người Do Thái. Nhưng sự thật, Israel lại là một nơi nhầm lẫn nhất trên thế giới để làm điều đó, ở nơi đây người Do thái đã đánh mất bản thân mình bởi khi họ không thể biết mình là ai trước khi đến thì khi đến đây, có thể họ sẽ hoàn toàn lạc lối trong mê cung của những lựa chọn được đưa ra ngay khi đặt chân lên vùng đất này.

Từ Beirut đến Jerusalem, Thomas Friedman còn phát hiện ra sự tương đồng đáng buồn giữa Liban và Israel: Trong khi ở Liban, chính phủ trở nên tê liệt vì nhiều phe phái chính trị khác nhau đều cứng đầu trong việc đối mặt với các mối bất đồng, và đã đánh bật họ ra cả đường phố theo đúng nghĩa đen, thì ở Israel, chính phủ trở nên tê liệt vì các đảng phái chính trị khác nhau đều thống nhất không đối mặt với các mối bất đồng của mình, việc họ làm là né tránh và tìm cách đạt tới những thỏa hiệp thực tế để có thể giữ nguyên được nguyên trạng. Trong khi ở Liban, nội các bất lực vì nó không ��ại diện cho ai cả, còn ở Israel, nội các bất lực vì nó đại diện cho tất cả mọi người. Ở Liban, người ta gọi tình trạng không hoạt động này là “vô chính phủ”, còn ở Israel người ta gọi nó là “thống nhất quốc gia”, nhưng kết quả cuối cùng là như nhau: Hoạt động chính trị bế tắc.

Nhấn mạnh thêm tình cảnh trớ trêu của người dân Do Thái đối diện khi trở về Israel theo lời kêu gọi Phục quốc, tác giả đã miêu tả tình trạng nhá nhem kỳ lạ giữa họ và người Palestine: không hẳn là chiến tranh, cũng không hẳn là hòa bình; không bao giờ là bạn bè thực sự, nhưng không phải lúc nào cũng là kẻ thù; luôn luôn khao khát hòa bình, những chẳng bao giờ thực sự hy sinh để giành được nó. Và khi cơn giận dữ điên cuồng phá tan rào cản tâm lý bên trong họ, người dân Palestine đã cố gắng nói vài điều đặc biệt thật sự với người Israel bằng những hòn đá của mình, cuộc nổi dậy “intifada”.

“Intifada” là một chấn động, một cuộc nổi dậy của người Palestine nhằm gột rửa chất Israel trong bản thân họ, tìm mọi cách để tách con người Palestine ra khỏi Israel, để lại là một dân tộc thống nhất, độc lập, dân tộc Palestine. Ném đá vào binh lính Israel, dựng lên những chướng ngại vật bằng đá ở cổng vào các làng mạc của mình, và tiến hành các cuộc đình công chính là cách thức của người Palestine xác nhận lại sự xa cách giữa người thống trị và kẻ bị trị sau nhiều năm chung sống.

Giờ đây, trong mắt người Do Thái hải ngoại, Israel lần đầu tiên được nhìn nhận như một kẻ xâm lược, họ cảm thấy Israel, nhà nước Do Thái của họ đã trở thành một kẻ xâm lược, kẻ đi chiếm đóng, vứt bỏ đi các quyền lợi của con người, đang tâm giết những đứa trẻ Palestine mới chỉ mười một tuổi và đóng cửa các trường đại học. Đã có thời điểm, Israel đã là điều để người Do thái đề cao sự tự nhận thức về bản thân và cảm thấy tốt hơn khi là người Do thái, họ cảm thấy cao hơn cả gần chục cm vì có Israel, nhưng giờ đây, những người Israel bằng những hành động nện dùi cui và ném đá vào người Palestine ở Bờ Tây và Dải Gaza đã tước đi cả chục phân đó.

“Từ Beirut đến Jerusalem” là hành trình tự vấn tự tri của tác giả, một người con Do Thái đi tìm về bản ngã của dân tộc mình, đi tìm sự lý giải cho những cuộc đấu tranh giữa cái tôi và cái chung, giữa bảo tồn và phát triển, giữa ôn hòa và cực đoan, giữa lương tâm và lý trí. Đến ngày hôm nay, người Do thái tại Israel vẫn loay hoay với câu hỏi: Tôi đã làm đúng chưa, tôi có làm sai không khi tôi xây dựng miền đất hứa của mình trên miền đất sống của một dân tộc khác, sự ngăn cách và hận thù tôn giáo nối tiếp nhau như lấy oán báo oán sẽ bao giờ hóa giải. Sự diễn biến từ niềm hy vọng nhanh chóng trở thành thất vọng, rồi tham vọng che mờ lý trí, từ hòa bình đã trở thành cực đoan, dùi cui, súng đạn. Một dân tộc có được sự ngưỡng mộ của toàn thế giới, một dân tộc thông minh xuất chúng, trí tuệ hơn người nhưng giờ đây lại không thể hiểu nổi chính mình, không thể tự giải quyết những mâu thuẫn nội tại giằng xé, và nỗi đau sẽ còn theo họ dai dẳng trên hành trình đầy gian nan sắp tới.

“Thiên đường ở chính trong ta, địa ngục cũng do lòng ta mà có.”
- Jesus Christ -


Điểm đánh giá: 8.5/10

Nhận xét: Nhiều chỗ hơn lan man, sa đà vào tự sự. Cuốn sách do một nhà báo xuất sắc viết nên mang phong cách đưa tin và đậm tính thời sự chiến trường, nhiều nhận xét rất sắc sảo và sâu sắc.
Profile Image for Dalius Neko.
178 reviews24 followers
May 26, 2021
Pasaulis yra milžiniškas katilas, kuriame nuolatos verda gyvenimas. Jis pripildytas istorijos, geopolitikos, religijos, politikos. Todėl suprasti arba bent kažkiek geriau suvokti tam tikrus įvykius yra be galo sunku. Kiekvienas sako "savąją tiesą", nuslėpdamas dalykus, netinkančiui jo kuriamai istorijai, pridėdamas savo detalių ir pan.
Gyvendami savo mažajame pasaulyje, globalųjį pasaulį matome, tarsi, džiugles, tankias ir painias. Kartais mums sunku susigaudyti, kas vyksta savajame kieme, o ką jau kalbėti apie kitas kultūras, religijas, istorijas..

Ši knyga, tai mažas šviesos spindulys, leisiantis bent kažkiek geriau suprasti artimų rytų gyvenimo virtuvę.
Profile Image for Tran Hiep.
104 reviews38 followers
March 29, 2017
Cá nhân mình cảm thấy đây là một cuốn sách khó đọc bởi vì nó chứa đựng quá nhiều cái tên, quá nhiều sự kiện, quá nhiều trích dẫn. Chương 1 thu hút mình mãnh liệt bởi những miêu tả quá thực về một Beirut hỗn độn, nguy hiểm và cũng nhân văn. Tuy nhiên các chương sau, do các sự kiện cứ đan xen nhau mà xuất hiện để làm rõ các phân tích của tác giả do vậy nó không đi dòng thời gian trước sau. Sự phực tạp của chính trị và tôn giáo ở Trung Đông được mô tả cụ thể đến mức tối đa. Tác giả dẫn dắt người đọc trải qua hành trình kỳ lạ từ Beirut đến Israel. Và chương cuối, khiến mình sửng sốt vì tính phức tạp trong các dòng Do Thái giáo và sức mạnh khủng khiếp của tôn giáo đến chính trị và lối sống của người Do Thái. Những câu nói cuối cùng của Hartman khép lại cuốn sách với một tư tưởng không thể tuyệt vời hơn về ý nghĩa nhân sinh "Tôi tin rằng ngày mai sẽ tốt đẹp hơn hôm nay nếu tôi mở rộng được đạo đức, giáo lý, mở rộng được việc cùng chung sống giữa các dân tộc với các nên văn hoá khác nhau, mở rộng chất lượng sống mà không phải là mở rộng các đường biên giới".
Profile Image for Nick Black.
Author 1 book712 followers
May 14, 2008
I started reading this once before, then had it stolen by Mike Silverburg...bastad! Reacquired at Borders, 2008-04-08

Well, I very much disliked The World is Flat, but this was pretty awesome. Not at all a history, per say (although you'll get a good glimpse of the 80's era, especially the Beirut troubles and the Arafat era prior to the first intifada), but a pretty solid memoir of a fascinating time and place.
Profile Image for Ben.
47 reviews3 followers
October 12, 2015
I know I'm biased. Like I happen to be uniquely situated in the Middle East. With that said, I've also been looking for a historical and contemporary look at the region. Friedman does a great job telling his own story of five-ten years in Lebanon then Israel/Palestine. And he does it with insight into the lives of people from every corner. Highly recommend to friends who want to understand persistent dynamics of these confusing conflicts.
Profile Image for Chris Hall.
18 reviews10 followers
November 30, 2014
I can understand why the Middle East is the way it is now. Friedman was boots on the ground in both Beirut and Jerusalem in the 1980s as a reporter for the New York Times. An excellent writer, he keeps you engaged and draws thought-provoking analogies and conclusions throughout the book. I'd highly recommend it to anyone interested in the region.
17 reviews2 followers
May 7, 2007
This is his only good book. It's a good account of the middle east at the time that he was staioned in Beirut and the writing quality is far better than his current books. It's a great primer if you need middle east politics background
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