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23 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Engrossing Book
"Prisoners" is an engrossing book on many levels. It is a personal story about the author's evolution from an idealistic adolescent into a realistic, principled man, while simultaneously serving as a lucid chronicle of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. Historical references abound, written clearly so that the reader does not need extensive background in order to...
Published on February 20, 2007 by Linda H.

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19 of 31 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars more of an autobiography than "muslim and jew across the divide"
It should be renamed Jeff Goldberg and Jeff Goldberg across the Middle East Divide because it is far more autobiographical than about a conversation or friendship of Muslim and Jew. He tells how he was hated by Christians growing up who called Jews Christ killers. He tells of being obsessed with reading about the Holocaust and listening to older relatives tell about it...
Published on August 3, 2009 by J. ABDO


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23 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Engrossing Book, February 20, 2007
By 
Linda H. (Philadelphia, PA) - See all my reviews
"Prisoners" is an engrossing book on many levels. It is a personal story about the author's evolution from an idealistic adolescent into a realistic, principled man, while simultaneously serving as a lucid chronicle of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. Historical references abound, written clearly so that the reader does not need extensive background in order to understand complex issues. The writing is wonderful, with vivid scenes, memorable characters, and quite a bit of humor. The book begins in 2001, and after a suspenseful end to Chapter I, flashes back to the first Gulf war when the author, serving in the Israeli army, guarded Palestinians in an Israeli prison camp. The narrative moves seamlessly through time and across continents, detailing the tenuous friendship between the author and one of his former prisoners. I had to keep reading, and found the ending hopeful and very moving.

All in all, it is one of the best books I've read in a long time. It is Mr. Goldberg's first book, and I hope he writes many more.
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23 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Friends of sorts . . ., April 9, 2007
Self-categorized on the book jacket as "Current Affairs," this book had me expecting an analysis of Israeli-Palestinian relations, the word "prisoners" in the title no more than a metaphor. In fact, a large part of the book takes place in an actual prison, and while it has much to say about Israeli-Palestinian relations, it is more correctly a memoir of an American Jewish journalist attempting to understand the nature of the conflict that has prevailed in that part of the Middle East since 1948. Finding the political in the personal, he tells of his own beginnings as a youthful Zionist living on Long Island and his years in Israel as his ideals are put to the test working on a kibbutz and then serving in the military police at a desert prison, where he first meets and attempts to befriend a Palestinian prisoner, Rafiq.

Later, working as a journalist based first in Jerusalem and then in Washington DC, the author travels often to Gaza and the West Bank to talk with Palestinians, many of them released prisoners, including his friend Rafiq. His conversations with Rafiq become a commentary on an accompanying account of the interlude of hope for resolution in the Oslo talks, the eventual collapse of the peace process, and the rise of suicide bombings. On both levels, it is a search for common ground that is as elusive as peace itself. The author clings to the hope that where friendship is possible between two men who cannot agree on anything else, coexistence is possible between Arabs and Jews.

This is a well written book that immerses the reader in the deeply bitter and violent conflict that has raged in this corner of the world for decades. The greater part of the book is peopled by Palestinians, each specifically drawn as they reveal themselves to the author, and representing a host of political points of view, from the reasonable to the extreme. Meanwhile, as the author's initial Leon Uris-fed idealism fades, the Israelis themselves are often portrayed as far less than admirable. Leavening the darkness inherent in his subject, the author often finds a kind of grim humor, frequently at his own expense, as he struggles to bring the light of reason to what becomes increasingly a litany of folly on all sides. Very much New Yorker style writing in its use of a personal perspective and its slow-moving, meandering structure, "Prisoners" makes for fascinating and rewarding reading. However, do not expect to be uplifted or reassured by its vision of a world mired in mutual distrust and hatred.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars deeply personal and informative, June 12, 2007
By 
mbrandi (laguna hills, ca United States) - See all my reviews
not only is this book deeply personal to the author but also to this reader.He put into the words that I never could the feeling that I have for Israel and the Jewish People.He explains Zionism for what it really is and means and not for what the pc crowd has twisted it to be.

Having also had dialogue with a muslim that I called friend for over more than 40 years I can attest to the great divide between us.it is hard for most people to understand that different cultures do not think alike regardless of what facts are presented.

other readers have found hope in this book which I am afraid I do not share.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A story that rarely gets told with such passion and clarity, November 27, 2010
This review is from: Prisoners: A Story of Friendship and Terror (Paperback)
Jeffrey Goldbergs' deep personal reflections about his experiences as a soldier in the IDF and his impossible friendship with one Palestinian prisoner he guarded provide lessons about religion, politics, redemption and one person's willingness to always believe in the possible. Despite their differences and the circumstances that brought them together, a friendship was forged that defied all expectations and reason. Goldberg shares his ambivalence, doubts and hopes with a poingiency and pathos the jumps off the page, grabs the reader by the shoulders and doesn't let go until the last page. For anyone who cares about the future of the Middle East, Prisoners is an unforgettable read.
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8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book Explains Middle East, February 12, 2007
By 
Barbara Cannon (New York, New York) - See all my reviews
This is a great book if you want to know why the Middle East is the way it is. Jeffrey Goldberg is a great writer. He's funny, but he also explains everything about both Arabs and Jews in a serious way. He knows so much about Israel, the Palestinians and the Bible, and he talks about all of that in this book. I also thought it was a great adventure story! Amazing how much he has seen and been through. A definite must-read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars prisoners, April 2, 2014
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This review is from: Prisoners (Kindle Edition)
A must read about a young man's quest to live as a full and complete Jew in Israel as told through his own personal experiences as a journalist.

Jeffrey Goldberg's narrative is both honest and eloquent.

He presents a very personal view if his true feelings about Israel and it's dealings with the PLO and terrorist organizations determined to wipe Israel off the face of the map.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great, thrilling book, May 18, 2013
This review is from: Prisoners: A Story of Friendship and Terror (Paperback)
This is the one book I would recommend reading about the Middle East. It explains so much. Jeffrey Goldberg's Prisoners is about a heavy subject, but it's really ultimately very uplifting. It is not just about the relationship between one Jew and one Palestinian, it is about the whole history and conflict of the Middle East, but he does it in a way that makes you unaware you're getting lessons in history and sociology and religion. It's a fast read, and very funny at times. Totally recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, November 26, 2012
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This review is from: Prisoners: A Story of Friendship and Terror (Paperback)
Just as he does in his blog, Jeffrey Goldberg presents a nuanced picture of Israel from the perspective of a Zionist and lover of the Jewish people.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Amazing Reading Experience, July 14, 2009
This review is from: Prisoners: A Story of Friendship and Terror (Paperback)
You always read about how people read a book in one sitting but it never happens to you. Well it did with "Prisoners." I literally read it over a single day. It is such a compelling story that I couldn't put it down. It is not a subject that people often find easy, but Jeffrey Goldberg makes the Middle East so understandable, and so accessible, that this book is amazing.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Fake "palestinians" shall be forcefully removed from Israel land, July 8, 2014
By 
Mark Bernadiner (Pearland, Texas USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Prisoners: A Story of Friendship and Terror (Paperback)
All my relatives, father and 4 uncles, were members of the Soviet Army during WWII and fought Nazis occupying Soviet land; and Nazis and islamic fascists, lead by mufti of Jerusalem Hadj Amin Husseini, in Europe. The first important lesson I learned from my father is: total extermination of fascists is only way to liberation of the mother land and peace. Projecting this lesson to Israel situation means: this land belongs to Israel and has been under arab occupation for several centuries. Thus, to liberate Israel land, all Israel enemies shall be exterminated, unless they are agreeing to return to their native arab countries. Moreover, "palestinian" is fake ethnicity invented by KGB in 1963.
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Prisoners: A Story of Friendship and Terror
Prisoners: A Story of Friendship and Terror by Jeffrey Goldberg (Paperback - January 15, 2008)
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