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From Beirut to Jerusalem Paperback – July 15, 1990

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 588 pages
  • Publisher: Anchor (July 15, 1990)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385413726
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385413725
  • Product Dimensions: 7.9 x 5.5 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (254 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #270,861 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

"Friedman, who twice garnered the Pulitzer as a New York Times correspondent in Lebanon and Israel, further delineates the two countries in this provocative, absorbing memoir cum political and social analysis," commented PW. The work won the National Book Award.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

There have been any number of books that have worked hard at interpreting the melange called the Middle East. This one, however, makes a difference because it's so well written and captures the psychological mannerisms of the people of Lebanon and Israel--the first step to understanding some of the mysterious "why" that seems to elude the American public and government. Friedman's credentials are impressive: he spent six years of journalistic service for the New York Times in Beirut and Jerusalem, has won two Pulitzer prizes, and is now the Times 's chief diplomatic correspondent. His writing is vastly descriptive, incredibly illuminating, very educational, and marvelously persuasive. His advice to U.S. diplomats is that since "Middle East diplomacy is a contact sport," they must bargain as grocers, or, in other words, realize that everything has a price and the sale can always be made with enough hard work. This title is highly recommended for all libraries. See also Sandra Mackey's Lebanon: Death of a Nation , reviewed below.
- Ed. -- David P. Snider, Casa Grande P.L., Ariz.
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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More About the Author

Thomas L. Friedman has been awarded the Pulitzer Prize three times for his work with The New York Times, where he serves as the foreign affairs columnist. Read by everyone from small-business owners to President Obama, Hot, Flat, and Crowded was an international bestseller in hardcover. Friedman is also the author of From Beirut to Jerusalem (1989), The Lexus and the Olive Tree (1999), Longitudes and Attitudes (2002), and The World is Flat (2005). He lives in Bethesda, Maryland.

Customer Reviews

A great read...very well written.
Helen W. Cody
Freidman's book though gives a person a better understanding of why that is and just how difficult a path it will be to arrive at a solution.
M. Swinney
I started reading this book about a year ago just out of interest and finished it up the other day.
Justin D. Siebenhaar

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

121 of 134 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on November 3, 2001
Format: Paperback
I had previously read Friedman's "The Lexus and the Olive Tree" and was basically disappointed with that book. "From Beirut to Jerusalem", his first and more widely acclaimed, is much better. I am on the opposite end of the spectrum as Friedman, politically, so I was not expecting to agree with him on every view and suggestion for solution that he describes in this book, but his writing was entertaining, his stories amazing, and his opinions very fair to both sides.
The book begins with Friedman's description of life in the middle of the Lebanese civil war. Friedman lived in the heart of Beirut when it was the worst place anyone could be at the time. His firsthand stories of bombings, murders, and simple terrorism, range from unimaginably scary to darkly humorous. Eventually Friedman and his wife move from Beirut to Jerusalem, where the second half of the book begins. This second part is much more applicable to today's news and debates since it is from an area in the middle of daily battles, whereas Lebanon's civil war has died down.
Friedman, although Jewish, has many misgivings about Israeli actions in their conflicts of the past several decades. But unlike most of his workmates and friends at the New York Times, Friedman is also not afraid to tell the whole truth when detailing Arab atrocities. Friedman's account of Hafez al-Asad's massacre of his own people in the town of Hama, Syria, is one that should be read by every Westerner -- especially those on the left who think the Jews, aided by America, simply "stole" a small plot of Arab land from an otherwise friendly group of people.
This book won many awards and is very unique in that it is a wide-ranging report from the world's greatest newspaper's leading foreign affairs writer.
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61 of 69 people found the following review helpful By Brian Leverenz on September 22, 2000
Format: Paperback
Those of you who follow and followed the events in the Middle East, Persian Gulf and the Gulf War, but seek a broader explanation of the sources of antagonism and conflict in the ARab world, would be enlightened and entertained by FRiedman's book. A Pulitzer prize winning correspondent for the New York Times, he spent ten years in Beirut and Jerusalem reporting first handthe violence, suspicion and hatred that is part of life in that region. The standing norm in the Middle East, according to Friedman is what he calls "Hama Rules" the pitiless and remorseless pursuit of political and economic ends through bloodshed. This attitude is rampant in all of its regimes, including Israel. Its source is the tribal politics and and deep rooted political tradition of authoritarianism, as well s the centuries of colonialism and subjugation that the region's peoples have endured. With a reporters eye for detail, Friedman analyzes many of the decisions that are familiar to us: the Reagan decision to send marines to Lebanon, The Palestenian uprising in Israel, the history of the PLO and the Arab-Israeli conflict are all analyzed in detail. Friedman is careful to point outthat the region's conflicts are not merely between Arab and Jew, but between Muslims and Christians, between Arabs, between different Muslim sects and different nation-states. In fact, Friedman finds the region's complexities beyond the comprehension of most American diplomats (no surprise!). This lack of understanding has resulted in numerous foreign policy blunders by the U.S. The first version of the book was written prior to the Gulf War, but its observations are still relevant, though you can now get a new edition. Hussein's regime is discussed at length and characterized as merely the latest version of "Hama Rules.Read more ›
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55 of 63 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on August 17, 2000
Format: Paperback
This is an extremely well written book about the Middle East conflict. The book is divided into two main sections, Beirut, and Jerusalem.
The Beirut section is about the Lebanese civil war -- Friedman discusses everything from the history of the war, to the different factions of Lebanese society, to why and how the U.S. became involved. His analyses are generally on-target, and his personal stories about living in Beirut as a correspondent during the war make the section especially engaging.
The Jerusalem section begins with a couple of chapters about Jewish culture and the origins of Israel; then goes with great depth into the history and analysis of the Palestinian - Israeli conflict.
Reading this book sparked in me an interest in the affairs of the Middle East. It also gave me the background necessary to delve further into the topic and understand the history behind the current headlines on the region
Highly reccomended
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209 of 259 people found the following review helpful By J. A Magill VINE VOICE on September 29, 2001
Format: Paperback
While I consider this book well worth reading, a word must be said about the context in which it was written. During the early 90's and late 80's a consensus was growing that the only way to end the Israeli Palestinian conflict was for Israel to recognize Yasser Arafat as the dejure government of the Palestinians. Moving down such a path meant that Arafat would have to under go considerable rehabilitation. One of the subtexts of Friedman's book is that very effort. The result is that Friedman intentionally glosses over the murder, mayhem and destruction Arafat spread through Lebanon. Little attention is paid to the civilians they murdered, the politicians they extorted, or the destabilizing influence that the PLO's "State-within-a-state" created.
Occasionally Friedman is unfair in his assesment of Israel's actions. In particular failing to discuss the PLO's cross boarder raids into Northern Israel that left scores of civilian causalities and how it motivated Israeli public opinion is left insufficiently discussed. Probably that is due to Friedaman's desire to indict Israel's Likud government which he saw as hostile to his belief in the need to create a PLO-Israel dialogue.
What makes the book interesting is in the story of how a state sandwiched between two regional powers was unable to survive. Interestingly, that is partially because Beirut tried to play both sides. That puts it in contrast to Jordan, a similarly situated state that, after the '67 War, through its lot entirely with Israel and has prospered under its protection.
A little should be added about Friedman's idea of a direct PLO-Israel dialogue.
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