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Home » Books » History » Modern » 20th Century

The Lemon Tree

By Sandy Tolan

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Format: Paperback, 560 pages
Published In: United Kingdom, 01 March 2008
In the summer of 1967, not long after the Six Day War, three young Palestinian men ventured into the town of Ramla in Israel. They were cousins, on a pilgrimage to see their childhood homes, from which they and their families had been driven out nearly twenty years earlier. One cousin had the door slammed in his face, one found that his old house had been converted into a school. But the third, Bashir, was met at the door by a young woman named Dalia, who invited him in...This poignant encounter is the starting point for the story of two families - one Arab, one Jewish - which spans the fraught modern history of the region. In the lemon tree his father planted in the backyard of his childhood home, Bashir sees a symbol of occupation; Dalia, who arrived in 1948 as an infant with her family, as a fugitive from Bulgaria, sees hope for a people devastated by the Holocaust. Both are inevitably swept up in the fates of their people and the stories of their lives form a microcosm of more than half a century of Israeli-Palestinian history. What began as a simple meeting between two young people grew into a dialogue lasting four decades.The Lemon Tree offers a much needed human perspective on this seemingly intractable conflict and reminds us not only of all that is at stake, but also of all that is possible.

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The true story of a friendship spanning religious divisions and four decades of Israeli-Palestinian conflict

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About the Author

Sandy Tolan is a journalist, teacher and documentary radio producer and has reported from more than 30 countries, particularly in the Middle East. He has produced dozens of radio documentaries and has written for newspapers and magazines including the New York Times and USA Today. He now teaches international reporting at the Graduate School of Journalism at the University of California at Berkeley.

Reviews

Journalist Tolan (Me and Hank: A Boy and His Hero 25 Years Later) captures the Arab-Israeli struggle in this story of a house and the two families, first Palestinian and then Jewish, who successively lived in it. Members of both families came to know one another and to seek dialog between Arabs and Jews. This wonderful human story vividly depicts the depths of attachment to contested ground. An excellent choice for general readers. Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

The title of this moving, well-crafted book refers to a tree in the backyard of a home in Ramla, Israel. The home is currently owned by Dalia, a Jewish woman whose family of Holocaust survivors emigrated from Bulgaria. But before Israel gained its independence in 1948, the house was owned by the Palestinian family of Bashir, who meets Dalia when he returns to see his family home after the Six-Day War of 1967. Journalist Tolan (Me & Hank) traces the history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict through the parallel personal histories of Dalia and Bashir and their families-all refugees seeking a home. As Tolan takes the story forward, Dalia struggles with her Israeli identity, and Bashir struggles with decades in Israeli prisons for suspected terrorist activities. Those looking for even a symbolic magical solution to that conflict won't find it here: the lemon tree dies in 1998, just as the Israeli-Palestinian peace process stagnates. But as they follow Dalia and Bashir's difficult friendship, readers will experience one of the world's most stubborn conflicts firsthand. 2 maps. (May) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

"At a time when peace seems remote and darkness deepens, this lucid, humane, hopeful book shines like a ray of light" * The Times * "A superb, sustained piece of narrative non-fiction" * The Sunday Times * "Extraordinary... Tolan's narrative provides a much needed human dimension to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict... a highly readable and evocative history" * Washington Post * "Reads like a novel... an informed take for anyone interested in the human stories behind a conflict" * New Statesman * "A fascinating and highly absorbing account full of warmth, compassion and hope" * Scotland on Sunday *

EAN: 9780552155144
ISBN: 0552155144
Publisher: Black Swan
Dimensions: 19.8 x 12.7 x 3.5 centimetres (0.34 kg)
Age Range: 15+ years
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