Nate Cooley's Reviews > From Beirut to Jerusalem

From Beirut to Jerusalem by Thomas L. Friedman
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's review
Feb 08, 2008

it was amazing
bookshelves: books-i-highly-recommend

I was first attracted to Friedman by reading "The Lexus and the Olive Tree," which was a fantastic book on its own. I then became more interested in his articles in the New York Times. However the book that started it all, "From Beirut to Jerusalem" always seemed to elude me even though it had won many accolades including the National Book Award. I finanlly decided to read it and finished it almost as soon as I picked it up.

Friedman's style it very engaging and I love the way he illustrates his points anecdotally. He has an uncanny ability to reduce very complicated issues to a level understood by a wide array of readers. "From Beirut to Jerusalem" can be read as a book on politics or a work in cultural geography. Furthermore, there are many other disciplines that Friedman seems to address in recounting his years of experience living in both Beirut and Jerusalem. The book is not a comprehensive history of the conflicting regions nor is it an outright endorsement of the state of Israel. In fact, Mr. Friedman, who is a Jew, has some rather interesting things to say concerning the state of Israel and their behavior over the last couple of decades. He recognizes the legitimacy of the Palestinian's argument and has an even-handed approach to the issue.

My only complaint is that I wish Friedman would continually update the book since the relationship between the Palestinians and the Jews is one of the most dynamic relationships in world politics today. The situation is always evolving.

As is stated by Seymour Hersh on the back cover of my edition, "If you're only going to read one book on the Middle East, this is it." I agree wholeheartedly.

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