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On the Hills of God Hardcover – August 30, 2006


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 446 pages
  • Publisher: NewSouth (August 30, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1588382044
  • ISBN-13: 978-1588382047
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.4 x 1.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,571,592 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Ishmael Reed has called Fawal's book monumental, and he's got a point. Fawal deals with big issues, telling the story of a 17-year-old Palestinian whose life changes dramatically with the founding of Israel in 1947. A Palestinian himself, Fawal is completing his doctoral studies at Oxford and teaches film at two universities in Alabama. His book won the 1998 PEN Oakland Josephine Miles Award for Excellence in Literature.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Fawal unfolds the life of 17-year-old Yousif Safi, a Palestinian about to graduate from high school. Dreaming of becoming a lawyer and marrying his sweetheart, Yousif is blissfully unaware of the political struggle about to erupt throughout Palestine. When the UN votes to internationalize Jerusalem and its surroundings, Yousif and his family see the beginnings of a violence that becomes full-scale war between Palestinians and Zionist Jews, come to conquer the Promised Land again. Fawal gives voice to the countless Palestinians who have lost homes, families, and ways of life because of political upheavals that continue today. The events Fawal describes took place more than 50 years ago, and their outcomes are well known, yet Fawal writes with such immediacy and fervor that a reader will easily entertain, with Yousif, the hope that peace between Zionists and Palestinians is possible. In a novel that appeals to our common humanity, Fawal begs us to find within ourselves the capability to treat one another with a compassion transcending religious dogma and political cant. Bonnie Johnston --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
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See all 15 customer reviews
Best of all, it is a great story, engrossing, funny and sad.
P. Hishmeh
Finally, one can read about al-Nakba, the Great Catastrophe, from the viewpoint of an Arab Christian.
James Shreckengost
Very few Americans are familiar with the history of the turmoil in the Middle East.
Nils Parker (chiquilin0@aol.com)

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 20, 2001
Format: Hardcover
I teared for Jerusalem as I got deeper into this book. It is a crucial read for anyone interested in the Palestinian-Israeli war, but more important, for anyone interested in Life, in truth, and in super writing. "On the Hills of God" is the story of Palestine in 1947-48, through the eyes and Life of a Christian Palestinian surrounded by Moslems and Jews. The characters are fictional, the town is fictional, but Ibrahim Fawal somehow manages to incorporate all the truths and all the facts in a well told novel. I did not live those years, but my Grandparents were married in Palestine in March of 1948, and when I asked her about incidents I read in the book, my Grandmother, teary eyed, told me that it was so. She told me about the daily terrorist acts against the Palestinians accounted in the book. And I was able to follow her through the streets of Jerusalem that the author paints so vividly. The characters may be fictional, but the rest is fact, the rest is a compelling truth. It is the story of an exodus, it is the story of Palestine, it is the story of the Jews that were also forced into the ways of Zionism. Read this book if you want a truthful account of what happened in 1947-48 in the form of a beautifully written novel. I guarantee that you will be transported back in time, and when you wake, your outlook on the region will have changed.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By James Shreckengost on August 15, 2002
Format: Paperback
The Arab-Christian voice is no longer silent On The Hills Of God. Finally, one can read about al-Nakba, the Great Catastrophe, from the viewpoint of an Arab Christian. This first novel by Dr. Ibrahim Fawal, a native Palestinian and professor of film and literature, is one step towards lessening the dearth of literature written from the Palestinian perspective in general and from the Arab Christian perspective in particular. Fawal has produced a thought-provoking book that is basically a first-person account of events that forever changed global politics, told by one of 3 friends, (a Christian, a Jew and a Muslim) who relates the role each of them plays in the uprooting of their multi-religious, multi-ethnic society. The author gives a very personal, human face to the main characters (drawn as composites of his contemporaries) as he describes the destruction of a centuries-old way of life by a virtually 100% foreign-born army in its relentless push for control of land, water and economic resources. One can read the first-hand account of the mass exodus of frightened people from Haifa and Tel-Aviv, and the beginning of more than 50 years of exile and dispersion. These events set the stage for the dramatic drop in Christian population from 60% to 2% of Palestinian society. This is an excellent starting point for a more balanced understanding of Middle Eastern politics without hype or extremism, and led me to investigate related works, like Dr. Edward Said's "The Politics of Dispossession," Thomas Friedman's "From Beirut to Jerusalem, " etc. Also check out Dr. Fawal's latest offering, "Youssef Chahine," examining the filmography of one of the Arab world's greatest movie directors.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By rannoon on August 17, 2002
Format: Paperback
Ardallah .. the land of God .. I really don't know if it exists... but it is where our story takes place in Palestine. The book describes the events that preceded the war of 1948, how the Jewish people settled by force, how the Palestinians reacted and what the Arabs did.. if anything!! It illustrates their humiliating and appalling exodus from their country.
I have heard a lot about it and studied history books, but nothing is compared to the telling of its own people ... to go back in time ... hear and see their miseries ... nothing I can say will express the feelings and confusion of a country... the feelings of entrapment and loss!
A 17 year old Yousif, who like any boy of his age is looking forward to graduate and declare his love to Salwa, is totally crushed and transferred to another world of harsh reality and bloodshed. He fights with everything he has to get his love back and tries to do the same for his country. His vision and the future he foresees is a path of peace to return to his motherland! Hope and optimism penetrate through the clouds of war and death .. of a people who still sacrifices and survives under more than 50 years of violence and oppression.
Fawal describes his country in the most beautiful way ..you can imagine it in front of your eyes even if you haven't been there..portraying its green vast hills, the valleys, the olive and pine trees, the orange orchards and Jerusalem .. a tragic holy land!
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Nils Parker (chiquilin0@aol.com) on December 12, 1998
Format: Hardcover
Not only is "On the Hills of God" a superior piece of literature, but it is also an excellent historical source. Very few Americans are familiar with the history of the turmoil in the Middle East. Fawal's book provides even the most learned historian with a glimpse into the conflict he might not ordinarily get. Fawal gives a balanced, relatively non-partisan depiction of the birth of the Arab-Jew conflict through the eyes of an embattled teenager by using symbolism and imagery reminiscent of J.D. Salinger. I highly recommend this book to those looking to read a great story and those searching for a deeper understanding of the tragedy in the Middle East.
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On the Hills of God
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