Arab and Jew: Wounded Spirits in a Promised Land

~by David K. Shipler
1987 Pulitzer Prize Winner

Arab and Jew is a wonderful introduction to the Arab-Israeli conflict. David K. Shipler won a Pulitzer Prize when he published the first edition of this book in 1986. In his revised edition, Shipler has chosen to keep the text of the original, supplementing it with footnotes and postscripts containing new and updated information.

Understandably, it is not a particularly uplifting book. There is some hope for the situation, but quite a bit will have to change before we see any results. Shipler has done a marvelous job of presenting both sides of the story without declaring one side to be right. In fact, one of his points in writing this book was to make people ask questions that they may not have been before.

Instead of asking "the experts," Shipler interviewed and observed the people themselves. This provides a unique perspective in which the readers can attempt to understand the underlying problems of the Arab-Israeli conflict. The text seems to wander a bit and doesn't provide a particularly linear investigation of the subject, but it does include a very detailed index.

The book is divided into three major sections: Aversion, Images, and Interaction. The first part, Aversion, mainly addresses the historical and violent aspects (war, terrorism, religious absolutism) of the conflict. Images investigates the various stereotypes perpetuated by either side. The third part, Interaction looks at the relationships, both good and bad, between the groups involved and within the groups themselves. Arab and Jew is lengthy and heavy reading, but it is certainly worth the time.

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