Divided City: Coming of Age Between the Arabs and Israelis


Some parts of it were over my head, but I was definitely motivated to keep reading. I was hoping for more personal experiences but nonetheless a very informative book about the Middle Eastern conflict. Jan 31, Tuck rated it really liked it Shelves: Unlike some books of a historical nature, which may be little more than listings of dates and events to be memorized, this book blends historical facts with the author's personal perspectives. Kai Bird manages to give life to the modern history of the Middle East by incorporating his memoirs as someone who was raised in the region.

Bird is not only a historian and Pulitzer Prize winning author, but is the son of an American Foreign Service officer, and spent his formative years living in Israel, Unlike some books of a historical nature, which may be little more than listings of dates and events to be memorized, this book blends historical facts with the author's personal perspectives.

Bird is not only a historian and Pulitzer Prize winning author, but is the son of an American Foreign Service officer, and spent his formative years living in Israel, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and surrounding Countries.

Coming of Age Between the Arabs and Israelis

His background enables him to merge his personal perspective into the history of the region including the Suez War, the Six Day War of , and the Black September hijackings in His perspectives enable us to see the history of the region in a more personal way, and to see both sides of the key issues, which too often are missing in TV news and newspapers reports. Crossing Mandelbaum Gate is thus an insightful look into the modern Middle East.

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Divided City by Kai Bird - DIVIDED CITY is a vivid memoir of an American boy growing up in the midst of the Coming of Age Between the Arabs and Israelis. Buy Divided City: Coming of Age Between the Arabs and Israelis by Kai Bird ( ISBN: ) from Amazon's Book Store. Everyday low prices and free .

Not as broad in context, but a possible companion book for interested readers could be "The Lemon Tree", by Sandy Tolan. Oct 09, Cindie Harp rated it really liked it Shelves: While I do not always agree with the political conclusions Bird draws from his life experiences, I do enjoy the journey with him.

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Jul 15, Studebhawk rated it it was amazing. The View Without the Gate The perspective offered here by Kai Bird represents his unique personal experience having lived in Jerusalem at the very beginning of the Israeli - Palestinian dilemma. This unique perspective raises difficult questions for us in the western world. Christians, Jews and Muslims stand to benefit from the settlement of the Palestinian rights question.

The loss of the Mandelbaum Gate is a symbol of the failure on both sides to maintain a constructive dialog among all of the members of the larger Palestinian - Israeli community. The cycle of lost wars,missed opportunities at constructive dialog will continue until both sides recognize their common human dignity.

Unfortunately, I believe the cycle of violence will continue as both sides are not ready to meet each other on a common humanity. Aug 24, Janet rated it it was amazing. What an amazing life story and insight into the history of the region from a keen prospective. I grew up during this era but living in the US the news and information about the events that shaped the current middle east were not readily available and probably very slanted.

Also, the main focus for me and my contemporaries was the Viet Nam war. Aug 25, Agnes rated it it was amazing. An excellent memoir combined with historical events as Kai Bird described his life growing up as a diplomat's son living in the Middle East from to He was an American in the region as an outsider and witnessed first hand what was happening to the Palestinians living around him. It goes back and forth in his narrative depending on the topic of discussion — Early Palestine, E An excellent memoir combined with historical events as Kai Bird described his life growing up as a diplomat's son living in the Middle East from to I was also not aware that many holocaust survivors did not permanently relocate to Israel after the war in According to the author, as many as ,00 Jews left Israel by He writes of Jewish settlements located so closed to Palestine refugee camps but without any interactions.

He noted how Jewish settlers behaved and lived as if the displaced Palestinians could be worlds away from their every day life. Once I started the book, I did not want to stop. It was that good in how he brings the reader to feel what he was going through as a child. To quote media literary critics--a great read!!!

Crossing Mandelbaum Gate: Coming of Age Between the Arabs & Israelis 1956-78

May 19, Shikha rated it really liked it. Prior to a recent trip to the middle east, I skimmed online reviews and shelves looking for a book that would provide as objective as possible perspective on the conflict between the Israelis and Palestinians. While Kai Bird's book does lean in certain directions throughout the book, his experience as an American child of Arabists who grew up in various parts of the middle east and eventually married a Jewish American woman whose family had its own experiences with the shoah, bolstered by histor Prior to a recent trip to the middle east, I skimmed online reviews and shelves looking for a book that would provide as objective as possible perspective on the conflict between the Israelis and Palestinians.

While Kai Bird's book does lean in certain directions throughout the book, his experience as an American child of Arabists who grew up in various parts of the middle east and eventually married a Jewish American woman whose family had its own experiences with the shoah, bolstered by historical facts, gets as close to as possible to a balanced perspective as one can really find in this day and age. Seeing Jerusalem and getting a taste of Israeli nationalism provided much needed context to Bird's descriptions. There was one sentence that especially resonated with my visit and my growing understanding of a very complex situation: I now realize that no one can comprehend the Middle East's Nakba without an understanding of Europe's Shoah.

The two events occurred in different places and times, but they are intimately connected and continue to reverberate again each other through the generations.

Divided City

Mar 11, Michelle rated it it was amazing Shelves: There were times with this book that I yelled at it, was frustrated, wondered what was going on, "argued" with the author--but I sure learned a lot. The author grew up in the Middle East with his diplomat-father and is a passionate advocate of the Palestinian cause--tempered now with what he's learned by marrying a daughter of Jewish Holocaust victims. I think this is a hugely valuable book to read if one is interested in the seemingly intractable problems in the Middle East--but expect to be ch There were times with this book that I yelled at it, was frustrated, wondered what was going on, "argued" with the author--but I sure learned a lot.

I think this is a hugely valuable book to read if one is interested in the seemingly intractable problems in the Middle East--but expect to be challenged! I have only a couple of minor quibbles. I'm grateful to the author for much of what I learned about the Palestinians and how they feel about what has happened in Israel--but I wonder 1 why the author chose not to explain what happened to the Jewish inhabitants of the Old City in Jerusalem after the UN cease-fire and 2 how he totally dismisses the complicity of the Palestinian Arabs, especially the Mufti, and the Germans.

At one point the author asserts that the Palestinian Arabs had "nothing at all" to do with the Holocaust--when it is clear they were working WITH the Germans the entire time, intending to "finish" the Jews that got away. Wish the author had dealt with these two pieces of information but this was still an enormously informative book. Jan 01, Elliot Ratzman rated it really liked it Recommends it for: Curious about the Middle East and the Israeli-Arab conflict.

Kai Bird is a journalist and biographer who grew up in the Middle East—Jerusalem, Saudi Arabia, Egypt— his father part of the American diplomatic corps.

Divided city : coming of age between the Arabs and Israelis / Kai Bird - Details - Trove

They lived for a time in an American oil-business enclave, by the American consulate in E. Jerusalem under the Jordanians, and in an upscale multicultural neighborhood in Cairo. Jun 21, Timothy rated it it was amazing. I picked up this book sometime after reading Palestinian Walks because I found the topic interesting and illuminating.

Kai Bird is a superb writer.

MIDDLE EAST: PALESTINIAN & ISRAELI CHILDREN MEETING

While I thought this account would be VERY specific , it surprised me the way it followed Kai's experiences and likewise weaved a much broader history of the middle east and I picked up this book sometime after reading Palestinian Walks because I found the topic interesting and illuminating. The story provides content that, as Americans, we don't readily get in our studies of Modern History, like what was happening in this region during the Cold War, the war in Vietnam, Kennedy's assassination, etc.

Bird injects interesting accounts along the way--many of which are chilling--and while the book is in reality vast in scope, it feels cohesive and engrossing. May 17, Jill rated it really liked it Shelves: As the son of an American foreign service officer the author spent his youth in Jerusalem, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Lebanon.

His memoir recounts his experiences growing up in this war torn area of the world, interspersed with descriptions of the conflict between the Israelis and Arabs. He argues coherently for a secular Israel-Palestine and describes many missed opportunities for establishing this and ending the conflict.

His marriage to the daughter of Holocaust survivors allows us to see the ef As the son of an American foreign service officer the author spent his youth in Jerusalem, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Lebanon. His marriage to the daughter of Holocaust survivors allows us to see the effect of Shoah on Middle Eastern history and his friendship with Palestinians provides examples of Nakba, the dispossession of Palestinians when Israel was founded. I don't know how I originally became aware of this book - but wow. Definitely worth the read.

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Kai Bird has the unique experience of being the son of a foreign service officer in the Middle East during the mid-century and later marrying into a Jewish family of which his wife's parents both survived the Holocaust in Europe. This book is part memoir, part journalistic piece, and I found the two parts complemented each other. The lack of a chronological narrative was difficult at times, but overall d I don't know how I originally became aware of this book - but wow.

The lack of a chronological narrative was difficult at times, but overall didn't take away from book.

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Regardless of your support of the Palestinian or Israeli cause, I imagine this book will provide food for thought. Feb 07, Noah Kennedy rated it it was amazing. I learned a lot from this book about the conflicts in Jerusalem and in the Middle East generally, but the book stands out for its honest poignancy. Each of the events in Kai Bird's personal journey growing up in the region-- being a child in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of East Jerusalem, his later years in Saudi Arabia, and his falling in love with the daughter of Holocaust survivors-- sets the stage for a thought-provoking meditation on some of the toughest ethical issues behind the conflict I learned a lot from this book about the conflicts in Jerusalem and in the Middle East generally, but the book stands out for its honest poignancy.

Each of the events in Kai Bird's personal journey growing up in the region-- being a child in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of East Jerusalem, his later years in Saudi Arabia, and his falling in love with the daughter of Holocaust survivors-- sets the stage for a thought-provoking meditation on some of the toughest ethical issues behind the conflict. Highly recommended for anyone interested in the human side of the politics of the Middle East.

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A very thought-provoking memoir. A Man Without a Country The lack of a chronological narrative was difficult at times, but overall d I don't know how I originally became aware of this book - but wow. While Kai Bird's book does lean in certain directions throughout the book, his experience as an American child of Arabists who grew up in various parts of the middle east and eventually married a Jewish American woman whose family had its own experiences with the shoah, bolstered by histor Prior to a recent trip to the middle east, I skimmed online reviews and shelves looking for a book that would provide as objective as possible perspective on the conflict between the Israelis and Palestinians. In the usual American or Israeli telling, Barak offered the Palestinians a generous offer to which they refused and so this is why Palestinians are in such a mess now; Bird at least doesn't abandon support for Palestinians for the far right narrative of "making the desert bloom" and "there is no such thing as Palestinians. The Triumph and Tragedy of J.

Aug 22, The Book: Clearly, the tidal wave of pro-Zionist and pro-Israeli writing, in Israel and the West, in the wake of the Holocaust and the somehow miraculous and fitting birth of the State of Israel was bound to be overtaken by a more critical and balanced appreciation. Sep 16, Bryony Sykes rated it it was amazing. Besides being an autobiography it was an introduction to the complicated issues surrounding the ongoing upheavals in the lives of innocent civilians, particularly from the point of view from an American young man growing up in the Middle East.

The political wheeling and dealing that took place behind the scenes continues to impact on growing numbers of refugees in the region. A most worthwhile read and highly recommended to anyone else who wishes to increase their knowledge of the Middle East. I think this is an honest, open and heartfelt memoir done by the author on his life.

I liked the way he presented his thoughts, the history and the story of his life. I found this to be a very good read as it presented new thoughts and insights, for me, about the Middle East. It was also very interesting to read how he's thinking changed over the years, yet never really changed at heart. It shows me how knowledge is power to the individual.

Feb 02, Gayla Bassham rated it really liked it Shelves: A very thought-provoking memoir. Bird grew up in various Muslim countries his father was a diplomat and was extremely sympathetic to the Palestinian cause. He married the daughter of two Holocaust survivors and then gained a more sympathetic understanding of Israeli history which caused him to moderate his views somewhat.

His conclusions are rosier than I believe to be warranted, but I still think this is a must-read if you are interested in the history of this area. Although the author spent a large part of his childhood in Arab neighborhoods he presents an evenhanded analysis of the region and a well thought out proposal for peace. Apr 08, Gari Aber rated it it was ok. After reading the other reviews, I think I may be wrong about this book. I didn't think the author was very clear about the history and he spent lots of space honoring his parents writings regardless of the value of the letters.

The memoir part was not informative to the book and not interesting. Set in Jerusalem , Beirut , Saudi Arabia , Amman and Cairo , Bird's book explains through a blend of memoir and history why the Western experience in the Middle East has been so turbulent. Bird's memoir shows how all of these momentous events led to the rise and tragic downfall of a secular Arab nationalist ethos -- only to be replaced by the rise of a fundamentalist, politically reactionary Islamist movement. The narrative history tells the stories of such illuminating figures as life-long Jerusalem resident George Antonius, author of The Arab Awakening, and his charismatic wife; Jordan's King Hussein and his CIA connections; the businessman Salem bin Laden, Osama's older brother and a family friend; Saudi kings Faisal and Khalidl; President Nasser of Egypt; and Leila Khaled, the striking young Palestinian radical who hijacked one of the Black September planes.

The son of a U. Foreign Service officer, Kai Bird spent his formative years with the Arabs, but he ended up marrying the only daughter of two Holocaust survivors. This Shoah survival story becomes a part of Bird's own personal narrative, and provides him with a deeper understanding of the historical relationship between the destruction of European Jewry and the Arab-Israeli conflict.

This extraordinary memoir by a Pulitzer-prize-winning historian sheds new light on all the wars of the Middle East fought in the name of identity. Buy from another retailer. Join our mailing list. Get our latest book recommendations , author news and sweepstakes right to your inbox. Resources To download a file to your computer right-click on the link and choose 'save file as' High Resolution Images Book Cover Image jpg: Divided City Paperback More Books from this Author.

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