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The Hour of Sunlight: One Palestinian's Journey from Prisoner to Peacemaker Paperback – Bargain Price, February 1, 2011

4.9 out of 5 stars 32 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. In this remarkable story of life under Israeli occupation, coauthors al Jundi, cofounder of the Seeds of Peace Center for Coexistence in Jerusalem, and Marlowe (Darfur Diaries) intertwine the personal and the political as they trace al Jundi's evolution from Palestinian militant to peacemaker. As teenagers, al Jundi and two friends joined the PLO, but when a bomb exploded as they were building it, one boy was killed, and the other two badly injured—and on the receiving end of Israeli interrogations and torture. Sentenced to a decade in prison, al Jundi dedicates himself to an extensive education program maintained by the prisoners themselves, ultimately committing himself to nonviolence and to bridging the Israeli-Palestinian divide. The authors successfully convey al Jundi's joys and sorrows, the triumph of his endurance, the complexity of the conflict, and the necessity of dialogue. (Feb.)
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From Booklist

A Palestinian kid seething under the occupation, Al Jundi was sentenced at age 18 to 10 years in jail after the bomb he was making went off in his bedroom, killing one friend and injuring another. In prison, he was thrilled to be around other activists; he read the classics, from Dostoevsky to Gandhi and King, the New Testament, the Torah, and the Koran; he became close with a few Jewish Israeli political prisoners and peaceniks; and, eventually, he changed his politics. Then, on his release, in 1999, he established the Seeds of Peace Center for Coexistence in Jerusalem, aimed at bringing Israeli and Palestinian teens together with respect, tolerance, and dialogue. Stark and immediate, with no glib messages, Al Jundi’s memoir, written with journalist Marlowe, brings today’s headlines very close; he is hopeful about friends, candid about enemies, betrayal, and corruption on all sides. Rooted in the experience of one fighter-peacemaker, this is sure to spark intense debate. --Hazel Rochman
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Nation Books (February 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1568584482
  • ASIN: B005DI7S54
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.9 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,641,011 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I have never known what goes into becoming a peace activist and Sami Al-Jundi's personal story is heartbreaking. It also shows how particularly challenging it is for a Palestinian in Israel who faces political heat from Americans and Jewish Israelis (as well as other Arabs). Somehow this brave, kind man keeps his eyes on the prize. I cannot recommend this book more if you want a nuanced portrayal of what is going on in Israel and Palestine, but also why we all have a long haul before we really see peace there and in other regions of conflict.

The Hour of Sunlight: One Palestinian's Journey from Prisoner to Peacemaker
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Format: Paperback
Most Westerners know little about Palestinians beyond the headlines that portray Palestinians one-dimensionally as militants, or refugees, or victims. In general, too few autobiographies by Palestinians are available in English to adequately fill the gap. In the transition already underway that will bring the Western reader more books by Palestinians about Palestinians, Sami al Jundi and Jen Marlowe's co-authored book "The Hour of Sunlight" is an outstanding milestone.

Walking through Sami's life with him as he himself remembers it provides a vivid, believable, lucid, and painfully honest window into one man's experience in a world turned upside down. It's not ultimately about politics, although politics plays a role here; it's more about hometown and families and childhood and adolescence; about friendship and the passage into adulthood and the search for one's true vocation in life. That there is also war, hunger, trauma, imprisonment, displacement, loss and exile in this tale takes nothing away from the universal appeal of one man's own very personal story. Some aspects, including Sami al Jundi's youthful experience as a kind of accidental would-be bomber, are both terribly sad and also poignantly humorous in deconstructing our notions of "terrorism" in a land under military occupation. Nothing here will be foreign to any reader with an open heart.

The prison education system set up and run by Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails, the school that made a Ghandian peace activist of Sami al Jundi, is an inspirational story of transcending limitations and transmuting incarceration into a kind of victory.

Both co-authors worked with Seeds of Peace; Sami al Jundi was instrumental in its founding and development, and Jen Marlowe joined the staff later on.
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Format: Paperback
This is the book that every American who cares about the Israeli-Palestine conflict should read. Never before have I gotten a glimpse into the lives of ordinary Palestinians living in Israel. Sami Al-Jundi's story is amazing for how it portrays one man's turbulent life as well as how it represents the struggle of his people and the struggles of Middle Easterners to find peace.

The book is enormously enlightening, as well as a terrific read. With humility and humor, Sami Al-Jundi and Jen Marlowe describe not only the events leading to Al-Jundi's imprisonment in an Israeli jail and the transformative years in and beyond it, but also his teenage romantic yearnings, the bonds between his incredible family, and the joys and turmoil of daily life in Palestinian villages. So poignant and well-rendered are Al-Jundi's struggles with his Arab-Israeli identity, the reader cannot help but develop true empathy for the complexity of the issues that surround Israel and Palestine.

I would like to see this book included in every Middle Eastern studies program at every university in this nation. I'd like to see this book in discussion groups at JCCs across the country. It is such an important book to help Americans understand what is going on in Israel, written beautifully, courageously, and with incredible heart.
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Format: Paperback
This tells the story of Sami Al Jundi, who went from being a stone-throwing teen-ager. to prisoner, to peace activist, working with both Palestinian and Israeli youth from throughout the area of Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza. He teaches respect, listening, and fun.
This story also goes back in time to the story of Sami's mother, who was a child during the Israeli takeover of the land where the Palestinans had lived for generations.
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Format: Paperback
This memoir is a must-read for anyone who wants to look beyond the headlines, stereotypes and cliches, and learn about the lives of real Palestinians. Sami Al Jundi, the author, is both typical and atypical. His story of familial dispossession is all too common among Palestinians, but the trajectory that his life has taken is extraordinary and surprising. Sentenced to ten years in prison for helping build a bomb, he studies political theory and revolutionary thought behind bars, slowly becoming committed to principles of nonviolence. His honest, nuanced and perceptive account of how he went from aspiring militant to dedicated peacemaker sheds new light on the Palestinian experience.
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By JShaw on February 28, 2011
Format: Paperback
Engaging from the very first sentence, the story of Sami al Jundi's life shows in unadorned language what is to be human. The Hour of Sunlight depicts the beauty and pain that comes in Sami's journey through life, as he strives to be a proud son to his family and his people - but exactly who are "his people" is the question around which the story evolves.

The universal lessons in this book transcend the politics of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. Nonetheless The Hour of Sunlight serve as an excellent and humanizing examination of life as a Palestinian refugee. Through Sami's eyes we see injustice and torture that are truly Kafkaesque, yet emerge with a smile and warmth that come from the best part of the human soul.
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