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Inheriting the Holy Land: An American's Search for Hope in the Middle East Paperback – September 19, 2006


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books; Reprint edition (September 19, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345469259
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345469250
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.8 x 7.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,071,945 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Though only 24, Miller, the daughter of a U.S. State Department negotiator and a mother active in the leadership program Seeds for Peace, is something of a veteran of Middle Eastern matters. Her own involvement with Seeds for Peace, which primarily helps Arab and Israeli students learn the delicate arts of negotiation and conflict resolution, begins in 1996, and it is the intensity of her first experiences with the group—which took place in the hopeful period between the Oslo accords and the rise of the second intifada—that inform her fundamentally optimistic point of view. But the past half-decade has been hard for such optimists, and Miller's ambitious, personal exploration of the conflict (especially its ruinous effect on the youth of the region) is often conflicted and raw, angry and impatient. Her best diplomatic instincts don't preserve her from disgust at much of what she hears and sees from everyone from Arafat to Powell, from a settlement mayor to the denizens of a Ramallah pizza joint; she is even prepared to condemn her own father's "watery evasions." Miller's passionate advocacy of fairness and clarity can seem at times naïve, but her commitment to the process of peace comes through at every point.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From School Library Journal

Adult/High School–Miller is the daughter of one of the chief American negotiators in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and a longtime participant in the Seeds of Peace program, bringing together Israeli and Palestinian children. Using the many contacts that she has made, from the highest leaders to the children on the street, Miller explores with care and consideration the many different viewpoints and preconceptions of the people involved in the conflict, not excluding her own. She takes particular advantage of the relationships that she has developed with kids who have attended the Seeds of Peace camp in the U.S., a group less homogeneous than one might expect. The result is insight into the conflict that is not readily apparent elsewhere, notable for the openness and honesty toward the issues involved and, just as importantly, a reminder of the troubled inheritance of the youth of these two peoples. This is a superb book on a crucial issue of our time.–Ted Westervelt, Library of Congress, Washington, DC
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Alan Clive on September 22, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Jennifer Miller grew up in a family where the politics of the Middle East consumed the dinner table conversation. AS a teenager, she became involved in Seeds of Peace, an organization dedicated to conflict resolution by bringing young Israelis and Palestinians together each summer for two weeks of often wrenching dialogue at a camp in Maine. This book is her tribute to Seeds the group, and to the seeds, the young people on both sides of the tragic struggle, whom she has come to know and love. She wants their voices, rarely if ever heard, to become a part of the discussion among the elderly men who time and again, have led their nations into battle and death.

A lunch scene with Yassir Arafat is worth the price of admission to Jen Miller's book alone. And I think that scene is emblematic of the difference in perspective of generations. Most cynical old-timers would have waved the episode away as "typical Arafat, what would you expect?" etc. We might never even mention the dissimulation and lies in our own narratives. But so much is still fresh and new to Jen, including her sense of outrage, which I hope won't abrade too much over the years. We need to be reminded again that leaders of all stripes try to literally feed us a line, and we simply accept this shabby reality as one of the axioms of modern politics. But Jen won't be pushed off her stride by the Palestinian brand of baloney, and is willing to call them as she sees them.

Frankly, it also takes someone of youthful age to use "Monty Python and the Holy Grail" as a metaphor for the Middle East conflict. Some people might consider it a blasphemous stretch, but my 21-year-old son got it right away. And, frankly, when a conflict has been going on this long, you do begin to look for the absurdist side of it.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Daniel J. Lebbin on October 11, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Inheriting the Holy Land by Jennifer Miller is simply an amazing story and synthesis of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict based on her experience with Camp Seeds of Peace, relationships with young people from a wide variety of viewpoints, and interviews with regional leaders young and old. It also illustrates how important a sense of identity is to people who must make peace. How does the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, in an oil-less part of the Middle-east, and involving only a couple million people, attract so much attention and passion worldwide? Besides the ramifications of this conflict across the muslim world, I believe there is something more. If Israelis and Palestinians can resolve their problems and achieve peace, it would give such hope that larger societies in the world might also be able to resolve other conflicts across cultural and ethnic divides now and in the future. Miller's perspective and analysis is not available in the daily and brief newspaper reports on this conflict. Although I have read a few other books on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, I now feel much more educated and updated than before having read Miller's balanced, critical and brilliant book.
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Clayton E. Swisher on September 21, 2005
Format: Hardcover
I've read a lot of books on the Arab-Israeli conflict and have even written one myself. It's fair to say that some set out to be biased (and are) while others try not to be biased (but still are). While there is no gold standard for objectivity on such an emotional and contentious issue, if there were, I'd have to say that Jennifer Miller's book comes pretty damn close. For that reason alone I recommend people from all levels of interest and background in the Middle East read this first-rate, well-written book.

Inheriting the Holy Land really does seek out the narratives, hopes, fears, and aspirations of Israelis and Palestinians--young and old--by allowing their unique voices to be heard. The author does intrude in the narrative, but then again, this is her story (and it is an interesting one at that) of her own journey from Washington, DC to Israel and Palestine.

And she tells that story with a rare clarity and honesty, which makes this book an accessible entry point for experts and non-experts alike. We learn much here about the educational systems for young Israelis and Palestinians and a great deal more about the Israeli Defense Forces and what it is like to be Palestinian living under Israeli occupation. Every time I began to think Miller's prose was edging toward unfairness or bias, I turned the page only to (surprisingly) find she had conveyed the other side's point of view on these issues with a remarkable objectivity rare in someone so young (no doubt the influence of her father, Aaron David Miller, who negotiated with the confidence of both Arabs and Israelis and served as an advisor to six secretaries of state until his 2003 retirement from the State Department).
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Rebecca Pecore on September 21, 2005
Format: Hardcover
This is a very readable and fascinating personal account of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Fantastic. I found it balanced, and it gave me real insight into the difficult human sides of what has been happening there. Well written and well researched, in lively prose which contribute to a real fresh perspective. We all need to think more about what we can do to improve the world, and peace around ourselves, rather than joining into choruses of facile criticisms. It is nice to see the younger generation, represented in this book, working toward such an admireable goal. Highly recommended.
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