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My Promised Land: The Triumph and Tragedy of Israel Hardcover – November 19, 2013

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Imported from USA

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Shavit is a columnist for the center-left Israeli daily Haaretz. Unlike some on the Israeli Left, he isn’t
an anti-Zionist provocateur. Rather, he is a fervently patriotic Israeli with an abiding love for his nation’s history
and the best of its traditions and institutions. So his honest and sometimes brutally frank portrait of his homeland’s
past and its present dilemmas is especially poignant. Shavit’s narrative is strongest when he utilizes the stories of
individual Israelis to paint a rich tableau based on personal experiences. What emerges isn’t necessarily optimistic. He
regards the current peace process as a dead end, since no Palestinian leader or government can guarantee an agreement
that offers the necessary security for Israel. Yet his own military experience on the West Bank has convinced him that
control over Palestinians is poisonous and cannot be sustained. Finally, he makes clear that Iran truly is an
existential threat that must, somehow, be neutralized. This is a masterful portrait of contemporary Israel. --Jay
Freeman

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Review
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“This book will sweep you up in its narrative force and not let go of you until it is done. [Shavit’s]
accomplishment is so unlikely, so total . . . that it makes you believe anything is possible, even, God help us, peace
in the Middle East.”—Simon Schama, Financial Times

“[A] must-read book . . . Shavit celebrates the Zionist man-made miracle—from its start-ups to its gay bars—while
remaining affectionate, critical, realistic and morally anchored. . . . His book is a real contribution to changing the
conversation about Israel and building a healthier relationship with it. Before their next ninety-minute phone call,
both Barack and Bibi should read it.”—Thomas L. Friedman, The New York Times

“[An] important and powerful book . . . [Shavit] has an undoctrinaire mind. He comes not to praise or to blame, though
along the way he does both, with erudition and with eloquence; he comes instead to observe and to reflect. This is the
least tendentious book about Israel I have ever read. It is a Zionist book unblinkered by Zionism. It is about the
entirety of the Israeli experience. Shavit is immersed in all of the history of his country. While some of it offends
him, none of it is alien to him. . . . The author of My Promised Land is a dreamer with an addiction to reality. He
holds out for affirmation without illusion. Shavit’s book is an extended test of his own capacity to maintain his
principles in full view of the brutality that surrounds them.”—Leon Wieseltier, The New York Times Book Review

“Spellbinding . . . In this divided, fought-over shard of land splintered from the Middle East barely seventy years ago,
Mr. Shavit’s prophetic voice carries lessons that all sides need to hear.”—The Economist

“One of the most nuanced and challenging books written on Israel in years . . . [The] book’s real power: On an issue so
prone to polemic, Mr. Shavit offers candor.”—The Wall Street Journal

“A tour de force.”—Jewish Journal

“Reads like a love story and a thriller at once.”—Dwight Garner, The New York Times

“[A] searingly honest, descriptively lush, painful and riveting story of the creation of Zionism in Israel and
[Shavit’s] own personal voyage.”—The Washington Post

“Shavit is a master storyteller. [His] retelling of history jars us out of our familiar retrospections, reminds us (and
we do need reminders) that there are historical reasons why Israel is a country on the edge. . . . Required reading for
both the left and the right.”—The Jewish Week

“The most extraordinary book that I’ve read on [Israel] since Amos Elon’s book called The Israelis, and that was
published in the late sixties.”—David Remnick, on Charlie Rose

“My Promised Land is an Israeli book like no other. Not since Amos Elon’s The Israelis, Amos Oz’s In the Land of Israel,
and Thomas Friedman’s From Beirut to Jerusalem has there been such a powerful and comprehensive book written about the
Jewish State and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Ari Shavit is one of Israel’s leading columnists and writers, and the
story he tells describes with great empathy the Palestinian tragedy and the century-long struggle between Jews and Arabs
over the Holy Land. While Shavit is being brutally honest regarding the Zionist enterprise, he is also insightful,
sensitive, and attentive to the dramatic life-stories of his fascinating heroes and heroines. The result is a unique
nonfiction book that has the qualities of fine literature. It brings to life epic history without being a conventional
history book. It deepens contemporary political understanding without being a one-sided political polemic. It is painful
and provocative, yet colorful, emotional, life-loving, and inspiring. My Promised Land is the ultimate personal odyssey
of a humanist exploring the startling biography of his tormented homeland, which is at the very center of global
interest.”—Ehud Barak, former Prime Minister and Defense Minister of Israel

“With deeply engaging personal narratives and morally nuanced portraits, Ari Shavit takes us way beneath the headlines
to the very heart of Israel’s dilemmas in his brilliant new work. His expertise as a reporter comes through in the
interviews, while his lyricism brings the writing—and the people—to life. Shavit also challenges Israelis and Diaspora
Jewry to be bold in imagining the next chapter for Israel, a challenge that will no doubt be informed by this important
book.”—Rick Jacobs, president, Union for Reform Judaism

“This is the epic history that Israel deserves—beautifully written, dramatically rendered, full of moral complexity. Ari
Shavit has made a storied career of explaining Israel to Israelis; now he shares his mind-blowing, trustworthy insights
with the rest of us. It is the best book on the subject to arrive in many years.”—Franklin Foer, editor, The New
Republic

“A beautiful, mesmerizing, morally serious, and vexing book. I’ve been waiting most of my adult life for an Israeli to
plumb the deepest mysteries of his country’s existence and share his discoveries, and Ari Shavit does so brilliantly,
writing simultaneously like a poet and a prophet. My Promised Land is a remarkable achievement.”—Jeffrey Goldberg,
national correspondent, The Atlantic

“Ari Shavit’s My Promised Land is without question one of the most important books about Israel and Zionism that I have
ever read. Both movingly inspiring and at times heartbreakingly painful, My Promised Land tells the story of the Jewish
state as it has never been told before, capturing both the triumph and the torment of Israel’s experience and soul. This
is the book that has the capacity to reinvent and reshape the long-overdue conversation about how Israel’s complex past
ought to shape its still-uncertain future.”—Daniel Gordis, author of Saving Israel and Koret Distinguished Fellow at
Shalem College, Jerusalem

“This book is vital reading for Americans who care about the future, not only of the United States but of the
world.”—Jon Meacham, author of Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power

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