>Just finished O Jerusalem! by Larry Collins and Dominique LaPierre, the story of fight for Jerusalem in 1947/1948 between the Jews and the Arabs, each fighting to maintain their grip on the Holy Land. The authors also wrote Freedom at Midnight, the story of Indian Independence in 1947 which i read a few years back. I spied O Jerusalem in a bookshop in Cambodia and remembered LP telling me it was worth the read.
And it was. Similar to the Indian book, it uses vast archives and interviews of the well-known and ordinary people to reflect the struggles, successes and pains of people trying to get what they claim to be their own. Basically it teaches you history in an enlightened way and not what you slogged through at school.
One overriding factor in the victory of the Jews was simply their character and this can be seen now. They were dedicated, hard-working, cool, cynical, careful, professional, devout, disciplined and followed leadership. The book takes us through their sacrifices and the single-mindedness to create a Jewish State. And these attributes have allowed the continuing success of Israel while the Arab States surrounding continue in the Third World. None of this though reflects Israel’s attitude to Palestine over the last 50 years.
The Arabs are portrayed the way they often seen today; passionate, yet indisciplined, ready to blame each other while ignoring discipline, short-termist and careless. Even when ammunition was low, Arabs would still fire into the sky in celebration.
The other interesting note for me is a plug by the Sheffield Morning Telegraph. The only time I imagine it gets on the same book as the New York Times.