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The Yellow Wind Paperback – October 30, 1998

4.5 out of 5 stars 21 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This stellar, seamlessly translated report records the devastation that two decades of Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip has wreaked on Palestinians and Israelis alike. On assignment for an Israeli newsweekly, the 34-year-old Israeli novelist spent seven weeks in the area, and his is one of the most stirring, refreshing voices of moral conscience to emerge from the depths of this political imbroglio. Supporters of right-of-center Israeli policy will surely take umbrage with these timely interviews, but others will marvel at Grossman's deftly intimate penetration of multilayered issues and personalities. Thus, to his own expressed bafflement, the author discovers that an elderly and wise, tale-spinning Palestinian refugee reminds him of his grandmother and her stories about Poland, from which she was expelled. A description of refugees returning to their Israeli village evokes imagery from the biblical book of Ezekiel; the Arabic apocalyptic tale of the hot and terrible yellow wind, which seeks out those who have performed cruel, unjust deeds, and its accompanying yellow dust, becomes a symbol of the suffocating cloud of occupation that hangs above Israel. Laid bare and damned is the intransigence of both Palestinians who refuse to improve their lot or negotiate for peace and lawbreaking Jewish settlers of Gush Emunim. Evenhandedly, Grossman depicts the criminal treatment by Israelis of Palestinian hunger-strikers, the murder of innocent Jews by Arab terrorists, Israeli and Arab profiteers, an Israeli army, at once brutal and considerate, that puts an Arab town under curfew but stations soldiers to prevent plundering, and the prejudices that exist between Israeli and West Bank Arabs. Grossman's rich and eloquent call to action is aimed at his fellow Israelis who slumber atop a time bomb, unwilling to acknowledge that their moral and political destinies are intertwined with those of the Palestinians. "The situation is a mint casting human coins with opposite legends imprinted on their two sides. But the contradicting legends do not change the fact that between themfreedom fighter or terrorist; ours or theirscan be found the dark, hidden raw material: a murderer." First serial to the New Yorker; BOMC, QPBC and Reader's Subscription Book Club alternates.
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


"A brilliant, searing examination of Israel's occupation of the West Bank...beautiful, passionate and profoundly disturbing."--William J. Drummond, Chicago Tribune

"His report opens our eyes...He shows that on both sides of the conflict there are thoughtful, sensitive, intelligent human beings. And he puts us readers directly in touch with them."--Christopher Lehmann-Haupt, The New York Times

"Written with tremendous conviction and power...Grossman means for us to see that the occupier and the occupied are brutalized alike by their unresolved quarrel. His theme is the despair of the defeated and the uneasy sleep of those who must police them."--David Lehman, Newsweek

"Even the most cautious readers--and even the most hostile--are bound to learn something about the conflict that they never knew before, something that illuminates the news and the reality that produces it, something that explains what is and may yet be, something deep and achingly, damningly, true."--Walter Reich, The New York Times Book Review

"The most honest, soul-searching book yet written by an Israeli--or, for that matter, by a Palestinian--on an agony that neither of them alone can bring to an end."--Ruth Broyde-Sharon, Los Angeles Times

Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux; First Edition edition (October 30, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0374525617
  • ISBN-13: 978-0374525613
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,618,824 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
An excellent read, and certainly the least biased book on the subject I've ever read. I was introduced to this book while reading a passage in THE OTHER ISRAEL written by Assaf Oron, a Sergeant Major in the Israeli Defense Force Reserves. Assaf is one of the reservists who has refused to serve in the occupied territories after years of serving there.
In THE OTHER ISRAEL, Assaf wrote, "A copy of THE YELLOW WIND..., which had just come out, crossed my path. I read it, and suddenly it hit me. I finally understood what I had done over there [in the occupied territories]. What I had BEEN over there."
This powerful passage taken in context moved me to buy and read the book that moved a soldier to completely change his outlook on the conflict, and I am so fortunate I did.
Grossman's book is written from a uniquely humanist point of view in regard to what life is like for both Palestinians and Israeli citizens since 1967.
He spent 7 weeks in the occupied territories, both in the camps and in the settlements to make a genuine attempt to see the immediate world around him through the Palestinian and Gush Emunim settlers' eyes.
This book does not bog down with the intricacies and interpretations of various peace agreements, nor does it bother to delve into the well-known positions held by political leaders on both sides as so many other books on the subject do. Rather, Grossman focusses entirely on those who are most affected by the situation in the region: the people.
The book was written originally in 1988, and has an afterward by the author written in April 2002. As Grossman says in his afterward, "Nothing has changed." This book is as fresh and revealing today as it was 15 years ago. I really gained a lot by reading this book. You will too.
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By A Customer on November 10, 2003
Format: Paperback
This is a good book providing good insight into the human dimension of the conflict. Well worth reading. I found two chapters particularly striking. First one is about a Palestinian village divided in two after a Jordanian and Israeli border agreement, and how members of the same family could grow differing identities (and even come to be not so fond of each other) due to such cruel separation for years. Second one is about a terrorist's father. Grossman gives this poor man's account as he told him, without adding his own commentary. Briefly, the son, who was grown up and living in another town away from the father's home, got involved in a terrorist act that took innocent Israeli lives. The father was subsequently picked up from work by the Israeli authorities, and pressured to disclose whereabouts of his son, which he maintained he didn't know (of the son's whereabouts and his alleged terrorist act). Torture and all sorts of humiliation were used, including threats of rape of his wife and daughters. His house was bulldozed to ground on fifteen minute's notice. He lost his work permit, and reduced to wander as a beggar from one village to another, avoiding his own out of shame. He and his family ended up living in one bedroom at a neighbor's house, without kitchen or bathroom. The son was found and killed eventually without the help of any of this effort on the father. After telling this story, Grossman says something like (paraphrasing), "of course, one's heart doesn't go out to this man's suffering and pain" vis-a-vis, I guess, the pain suffered by the Israeli victims of the son's act. And he continues (still paraphrasing), "but I guess, it is such instances where we have to be more rational and measured.Read more ›
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Format: Paperback
David Grossman manages to do the seemingly impossible as he humanizes the conflict between the Jews and Arabs in Israel. An outstanding picture is drawn that shows the humanity of the conflict, both the ugly and beauty involved without any bias. A brief historical perspective is included to help further illustrate the ongoing problem. Grossman interviews and paraphrases his discussions along the way of his journey, seeking the truth without politicians interference from either side. The stories are for the most part heartbreaking, as Grossman explores and tells his revealed stories of the never ending conflict. Although written "early" on in the conflict, the issues and people are the same. Palestinians dispossesed, turned to bitter anger, further escalated by a Jewish authority that tries to mantain some order between the now, old adversaries. The book is insightful and unfortunatly prophetic of the current situation that now calls for a murder by one side in retaliation for another murder. The cycle is unending, the faces on the news all to real and Grossman revealed the faces long ago. He traveled throughout the country to gather the stories of those most affected by war. He talks to old and young alike as they complain and show their disdain, their fears and their little hope for a workable solution. The books raises many questions, often going deeper than the conflict itself, obviously there are no easy solutions.The cruely inflicted upon each group is part of the problem but the roots of the conflict date back to the partioning of the land and the changing landscape of the geography and it's inhabitants. This book is a very worthwhile read that is a fast page turner. Highly recommended for those interested in the conflict of the Middle East that seems to be the fuse of the powder keg.
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