Our Promised Land by Michael T. Darkow is a book about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict over the Holy Land. Keep reading for your chance to win a copy.
Our Promised Land follows the lives of two families, each on different sides of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The story begins during World War II when we see Ellie Liebowisc, who is a Jew, being herded onto a train with his mother and a group of other Jews from their town, having been told that they were going to be ‘resettled’ (‘resettlement’ being a euphemism for the concentration camp and gas chamber). However, Ellie is one of the lucky ones who survives the war and makes his way to the newly created Israel, determined that his people shouldn’t have suffered for nothing.
Next we are introduced to Yasif, a Palestinian boy whose family and neighbours are growing increasingly unhappy about the arrival of the Jews. Yasif is given the chance to go and study in America, but even there he can’t escape from what is going on – and a mysterious voice refuses to let him forget…
Before I started to read this book I thought I might have difficulty understanding it, as the Palestinian-Israeli situation is a subject I know very little about. However, I felt I came away from the book with a better knowledge of the origins of the conflict and why the people involved feel the way they do.
One of the things I really liked about the book was that it is told from both the Israeli and the Palestinian viewpoint, so that the reader is able to see things from two different perspectives. Whilst I was reading Ellie’s sections of the book I felt saddened and angered by the treatment the Jews had received and I could understand his feelings. The opening scenes when he and his mother arrived at the concentration camp were very moving and stayed in my mind even after finishing the book. On the other hand, during Yasif’s part of the story I could sympathise with the Palestinians. This was a good approach for a neutral reader like myself who has no personal involvement in the conflict. The only characters I didn’t sympathise with were those who unfortunately thought the way to solve things was through violence and terrorism.
The book has an unusual structure being told in a series of vignettes, or snapshots of particular moments, moods and ideas. This means it’s sometimes necessary for the story to jump forward in time quite abruptly, but overall I think it was an effective structure. The author also provides a time line at the front of the book to help clarify the historical background.
I would recommend this book to readers who want to learn more about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Publisher: Synergy Books/Year: 2010/Pages: 192/Source: I received a review copy of this book from the author.
Giveaway (Open worldwide)
Would you like the chance to win a copy of Our Promised Land? Michael T. Darkow is kindly offering 5 copies of the book to readers of this blog.
To enter, all you need to do is leave a comment on this post, including a valid email address. Only one entry per person please.
This is an international giveaway and will end on Thursday April 29th. Good luck!