David K. Shipler is a writer who lived in Jerusalem for five years. He is neither Arab or Jew and so the lens in which he looks through the conflict there is an objective one. This is the revised and update edition. In Arab and Jew: Wounded Spirits In A Promised Land, Shipler addresses many of the issues surrounding the conflict.
The book is very comprehensive and each side is given equal thought and care in discussing the issues. I was very intrigued by the information in this book. Shipler gives examples from both sides that display the problems of prejudice derived from often incorrect stereotypes. An example of this is the way that each side is depicted in children’s history books. He shows how children from an early age have a certain image of the other side ingrained into their imagination. Shipler even goes on to compare it to how Americans had originally depicted the Native Americans.
Experiences from people on both sides of the conflict are used to show how the problem is perpetuated and sometimes even found to be untrue. That is one of the aspects of the book I greatly appreciated. Through these anecdotes the reader is able to enter into the world in a more defined way. It is one thing to be told the information, but a whole other thing to listen to first-hand accounts and live it out with the storyteller.
Arab and Jew is a very comprehensive book which takes a deep look into the history of the Arab-Israeli conflict. It is disheartening that there is little that we really know and understand about the conflict and the people. At times it is even disheartening to realize the tragic state of reality. However, it also forces us to become aware and hopefully make strides towards effective change. I would highly recommend this book for those wanting to know more.
Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book as part of the Blogging for Books program in exchange for my honest review.