- Hardcover: 768 pages
- Publisher: Knopf; 1 edition (September 21, 1999)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0679421203
- ISBN-13: 978-0679421207
- Product Dimensions: 7 x 1.8 x 10 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 70 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,287,879 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Righteous Victims: A History of the Zionist-Arab Conflict, 1881-1999 1st Edition
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Making sense of any particular episode in the long and convoluted conflict between Arabs and Israelis can seem a Sisyphean task--engineering peace in the Middle East has become nearly clichéd in its complexity, with each individual dispute traceable back to years of anger, mistrust, and mutual misunderstanding fueled by cycles of violence and revenge. To add to this confusion, the historical record has been colored by "emphatic partisanship by commentators and historians from both sides, as well as by foreign observers," adds Middle East historian Benny Morris. So what Morris has undertaken in this volume--an inclusive, dispassionate, and rigorous history of the conflict, from Zionism's birth in the wake of the Russian pogroms through to the uncertain prospects for peace in 1999--is no mean feat.
A calm, balanced voice (although a controversial one among some who fear revisionism), Morris has previously proven his scholarship with such definitive titles as Israel's Border Wars and The Birth of the Palestinian Refugee Problem. Righteous Victims likewise doesn't waver in its task, methodically unearthing the political and military roots of the struggle, from early friction between Zionist "colonizers" and native Arabs slowly through to the establishment of Israel and the bloody wars and terrorism that followed. --Paul Hughes
From Publishers Weekly
Like Avi Shlaim (see above), Morris is a revisionist historian working to deflate the heroic-romantic Zionist view of Israeli history. A professor of history at Israel's Ben-Gurion University, Morris (The Birth of the Palestinian Refugee Problem) offers readers a more scholarly, rigorous book than either Shlaim or the authors of The Fifty Years War (see above). He also takes a longer and a deeper view, detailing relations between Israel and the Arabs since the beginning of the modern Zionist movement in the late 19th century and digging beneath politics and diplomacy to get at the broader social and cultural history of Palestinian Arabs and Israeli Jews. One of his central points is that the very success of Israel as a state has allowed the Palestinians to appropriate the identity of history's victimsAan identity once central to Israelis' view of themselves. Morris makes very clear how Israel's military and economic successes have slowly forced most of the Arab world to accept a Jewish state. At the same time, he notes the irony that the triumph of Zionism helped create a distinct Palestinian national identity that didn't previously exist. His view of Zionism is almost detached as he documents its successes. He has no trouble calling Zionism a "colonizing" movement, but he doesn't strongly condemn it for being so. His harsh judgment that a "fragmented, venal political elite" retarded the Palestinian cause does not make him deny the merits of the cause. Crisply written, balanced and comprehensive, this is an indispensable work of history. History Book Club alternate selection. (Sept.)
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Extremely well researched and balanced.
Rightly critical of Arab disorganization.