Pumpkinflowers

Pumpkinflowers
Author: Matti Friedman
Publsiher: Biteback Publishing
Total Pages: 256
Release: 2016-05-03
Genre: History
ISBN: 9781785900716

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It was just one remote hilltop in an unnamed war in the late 1990s, but it would send out ripples that are still felt today, foreshadowing the chaos of 21st-century conflicts in the Middle East. The hill, in Lebanon, was called the Pumpkin; ‘flowers’ was the military code word for casualties. Part memoir, part reportage and part haunting elegy for lost youth, award-winning writer Matti Friedman’s powerful account follows the band of young soldiers - the author among them - conscripted out of high school into holding this remote outpost, and explores how the task would change them forever. Pumpkinflowers is a lyrical yet devastating insight into the day-today realities of war, and a powerful coming-of-age narrative. Raw and beautifully rendered, this essential chronicle casts an unflinching look at the nature of modern warfare, in which there is never a clear victor and innocence is not all that is lost.

Pumpkinflowers

Pumpkinflowers
Author: Matti Friedman
Publsiher: Algonquin Books
Total Pages: 256
Release: 2016-05-03
Genre: Biography & Autobiography
ISBN: 9781616206086

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“A book about young men transformed by war, written by a veteran whose dazzling literary gifts gripped my attention from the first page to the last.” —The Wall Street Journal “Friedman’s sober and striking new memoir . . . [is] on a par with Tim O’Brien’s The Things They Carried -- its Israeli analog.” —The New York Times Book Review It was just one small hilltop in a small, unnamed war in the late 1990s, but it would send out ripples that are still felt worldwide today. The hill, in Lebanon, was called the Pumpkin; flowers was the military code word for “casualties.” Award-winning writer Matti Friedman re-creates the harrowing experience of a band of young Israeli soldiers charged with holding this remote outpost, a task that would change them forever, wound the country in ways large and small, and foreshadow the unwinnable conflicts the United States would soon confront in Afghanistan, Iraq, and elsewhere. Pumpkinflowers is a reckoning by one of those young soldiers now grown into a remarkable writer. Part memoir, part reportage, part history, Friedman’s powerful narrative captures the birth of today’s chaotic Middle East and the rise of a twenty-first-century type of war in which there is never a clear victor and media images can be as important as the battle itself. Raw and beautifully rendered, Pumpkinflowers will take its place among classic war narratives by George Orwell, Philip Caputo, and Tim O’Brien. It is an unflinching look at the way we conduct war today.

Spies of No Country

Spies of No Country
Author: Matti Friedman
Publsiher: Signal
Total Pages: 272
Release: 2019-03-05
Genre: Biography & Autobiography
ISBN: 9780771038839

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From the award-winning and critically-acclaimed author of Pumpkinflowers, the never-before-told story of the mysterious "Arab Section": the Jewish-"Arab" spies who, under deep cover in Beirut as refugees, helped the new State of Israel win the War of Independence. In his third non-fiction book, Matti Friedman introduces us to four unknown young men who are caught up in the fraught events surrounding the birth of Israel in 1948 and drawn into secret lives, becoming the nucleus of Israel's intelligence service. The tiny, amateur unit known as the "Arab Section" was conceived during WWII by British spies and by Jewish militia leaders in Palestine. Consisting of Jews from Arab countries who could pass as Arabs, it was meant to gather intelligence and carry out sabotage and assassinations. When the first Jewish-Arab war erupted in 1948 and Palestinian refugees began fleeing the fighting, a small number of Section agents disguised as refugees joined the exodus. They fled to Beirut, where they spent the next two years under cover, sending messages back to Israel over a radio antenna disguised as a clothesline. Of the dozen men in the unit at the war's beginning, five were caught and executed. Espionage, John le Carré once wrote, is the "secret theater of our society." Spies of No Country is not just a spy story, but a surprising window into the nature of Israel--a country that sees itself as belonging to the story of Europe, but where more than half of the population is native to the Middle East. Starring complicated characters with slippery identities moving in the shadow of great events, Spies of No Country tells a very different story about what Israel is and how it was created.

The Aleppo Codex

The Aleppo Codex
Author: Matti Friedman
Publsiher: Algonquin Books
Total Pages: 320
Release: 2013-05-14
Genre: History
ISBN: 9781616202705

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“A brilliant non-fiction thriller about an ancient copy of the Torah. Highly recommended.” —Paulo Coelho, author of The Alchemist Winner of the 2014 Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature A thousand years ago, the most perfect copy of the Hebrew Bible was written. It was kept safe through one upheaval after another in the Middle East, and by the 1940s it was housed in a dark grotto in Aleppo, Syria, and had become known around the world as the Aleppo Codex. Journalist Matti Friedman’s true-life detective story traces how this precious manuscript was smuggled from its hiding place in Syria into the newly founded state of Israel and how and why many of its most sacred and valuable pages went missing. It’s a tale that involves grizzled secret agents, pious clergymen, shrewd antiquities collectors, and highly placed national figures who, as it turns out, would do anything to get their hands on an ancient, decaying book. What it reveals are uncomfortable truths about greed, state cover-ups, and the fascinating role of historical treasures in creating a national identity.

The Moral Lives of Israelis

The Moral Lives of Israelis
Author: David Berlin
Publsiher: Vintage
Total Pages: 310
Release: 2012
Genre: History
ISBN: 9780307356307

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The Moral Lives of Israelis explores the last ten years of life in Israel, a sixty-one-year-old country that has never not been in a state of war. It began in David Berlin's head as he sat vigil over his father's deathbed in a falling-down hospital in Tel Aviv. The last words given to him by his father were not words of love for his son and his grandchildren, but this command: "Look after my little country." That note set off a huge voyage of exploration and remembrance for Berlin, who has spent much of the last six years living and reporting in Israel, interviewing his own generation and the new crop of politicians and leaders, and witnessing the Second Lebanon War, the removal of the settlers from Gaza, and other defining events. The result is a thrilling blend of memoir, reportage and original thinking on the place of Israel in the world. The fundamental question that floats over every page of this passionate book is, with so many missteps and in a region deeply fraught with antagonism, racism and misunderstanding, how can Israel move forward? After many dead ends and twists and turns, it is the nineteenth-century visionary father of Zionism, Theodor Herzl, who ultimately sparks Berlin's dream for Israel in the twenty-first century — it is Herzl's insistence on a secular and cosmopolitan state that Berlin sees as a way to move beyond. Berlin's brave inquiry will be a must-read for anyone concerned with the fate of the Middle East — it engages on every level from the deeply emotional to the philosophical, and brings new perspective to a question that resonates well beyond the borders of Israel.

Asfuriyyeh

Asfuriyyeh
Author: Joelle M Abi-Rached
Publsiher: MIT Press
Total Pages: 312
Release: 2020-11-17
Genre: History
ISBN: 9780262361187

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The development of psychiatry in the Middle East, viewed through the history of one of the first modern mental hospitals in the region. &ʿA&ṣf&ūriyyeh (formally, the Lebanon Hospital for the Insane) was founded by a Swiss Quaker missionary in 1896, one of the first modern psychiatric hospitals in the Middle East. It closed its doors in 1982, a victim of Lebanon's brutal fifteen-year civil war. In this book, Joelle Abi-Rached uses the rise and fall of &ʿA&ṣf&ūriyyeh as a lens through which to examine the development of modern psychiatric theory and practice in the region as well as the sociopolitical history of modern Lebanon.

A Bed of Red Flowers

A Bed of Red Flowers
Author: Nelofer Pazira
Publsiher: Vintage Canada
Total Pages: 432
Release: 2010-07-30
Genre: Biography & Autobiography
ISBN: 9780307370860

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As a young girl growing up in 1970s Afghanistan, Nelofer Pazira seems destined for a bright future. The daughter of liberal-minded professionals, she enjoys a safe, loving and privileged life. Some of her early memories include convivial family picnics and New Years’ celebrations overlooking the thousands of red flowers that carpet the hills of Mazar. But Nelofer’s world is shattered when she is just five and her father is imprisoned for refusing to support the communist party. This episode plants a “seed of anger” in her, which is given plenty of opportunity to grow as the years unfold. In 1979, the Soviets invade Afghanistan beginning a ten-year occupation. The country becomes an armed camp with Russians fighting U.S.-backed mujahidin fighters while trying to impose military rule. For Nelofer, daily life includes an endless succession of tanks, rockets screaming overhead and explosions in the street. During this time, she and her best friend, Dyana, seek refuge in their love of poetry. At eleven, the two girls throw stones at Soviet tanks and plot other acts of rebellion at the local school. As Nelofer gets older, she joins the resistance movement, distributes contraband books, studies guerilla warfare and hides a gun in her parent’s mint garden. When Nelofer’s younger brother comes home from school in military garb, the family finally decides to flee Afghanistan. What follows is a perilous, clandestine journey across rugged mountains into Pakistan. But the life of a refugee is not what Nelofer expects. Though she once idealized the mujahidin as freedom fighters, she is shocked, as a woman, to find herself stripped of her personal freedom in their midst. In 1990, Nelofer and her family are offered refugee status in Canada. Here she corresponds with her friend Dyana, whose letters reveal the increasing oppression of life under the Taliban. Fearing that her friend will kill herself, Pazira returns to Afghanistan to rescue her. This search becomes the basis for the acclaimed film Kandahar. Her journey to discover Dyana’s tragedy leads her finally to Russia, the land of her enemy, where she confronts the legacy of the Soviet invasion of her homeland first-hand. A Bed of Red Flowers is a gripping, heart-rending story about a country caught in a struggle of the superpowers – and of the real people behind the politics. Universally acclaimed for its astute insights and extraordinary humanity, Pazira’s memoir won the Drainie-Taylor Biography Prize for 2005.The Winnipeg Free Press writes: “Powerfully written, A Bed of Red Flowers is a rare account of a misunderstood country and its intrepid people, trying to live ordinary lives under extraordinary circumstances.” The Gazette (Montreal) describes the book as “an outpouring of passionate non-fiction that captivates like the tales of Sheherazade.… It’s a remarkable journey. An inspiring read.”

A Disappearance in Damascus

A Disappearance in Damascus
Author: Deborah Campbell
Publsiher: Knopf Canada
Total Pages: 320
Release: 2016-09-13
Genre: Biography & Autobiography
ISBN: 9780345809315

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Winner of the Hilary Weston Writers' Trust Prize for Non-Fiction: In the midst of an unfolding international crisis, the renowned journalist Deborah Campbell finds herself swept up in the mysterious disappearance of Ahlam, her guide, "fixer," and friend. Her frank, personal account of her journey to rescue her, and the triumph of friendship and courage over terrorism, is as riveting as it is illuminating. The story begins in 2007 when Deborah Campbell travels undercover to Damascus to report on the exodus of Iraqis into Syria following the overthrow of Saddam Hussein. There she meets and hires Ahlam, a refugee working as a “fixer”—providing Western media with trustworthy information and contacts to help get the news out. Ahlam, who fled her home in Iraq after being kidnapped while running a humanitarian centre, not only supports her husband and two children through her work with foreign journalists but is setting up a makeshift school for displaced girls. She has become a charismatic, unofficial leader of the refugee community in Damascus, and Campbell is inspired by her determination to create something good amid so much suffering. Ahlam soon becomes her friend as well as her guide. But one morning Ahlam is seized from her home in front of Campbell’s eyes. Haunted by the prospect that their work together has led to her friend’s arrest, Campbell spends the months that follow desperately trying to find her—all the while fearing she could be next. Through its compelling story of two women caught up in the shadowy politics behind today’s conflict, A Disappearance in Damascus reminds us of the courage of those who risk their lives to bring us the world’s news.

Who by Fire

Who by Fire
Author: Matti Friedman
Publsiher: Spiegel & Grau
Total Pages: 224
Release: 2022-03-29
Genre: Music
ISBN: 1954118074

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The little-known story of Leonard Cohen's concert tour to the front lines of the Yom Kippur War, including never-before-seen selections from an unfinished manuscript by Cohen and rare photographs In October 1973, the poet and singer Leonard Cohen--thirty-nine years old, famous, unhappy, and at a creative dead end--traveled from his home on the Greek island of Hydra to the chaos and bloodshed of the Sinai desert when Egypt attacked Israel on the Jewish high holiday of Yom Kippur. Moving around the front with a guitar and a group of local musicians, Cohen met hundreds of young soldiers, men and women at the worst moment of their lives. Those who survived never forgot the experience. And the war transformed Cohen. He had announced that he was abandoning his music career, but he instead returned to Hydra and to his family, had a second child, and released one of the best albums of his career. In Who by Fire, journalist Matti Friedman gives us a riveting account of those weeks in the Sinai, drawing on Cohen's previously unpublished writing and original reporting to create a kaleidoscopic depiction of a harrowing, formative moment for both a young country at war and a singer at a crossroads.

Friendly Fire

Friendly Fire
Author: Ami Ayalon,Anthony David
Publsiher: Steerforth
Total Pages: 300
Release: 2020-09-08
Genre: History
ISBN: 9781586422592

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FINALIST -- The National Jewish Book Award In this deeply personal journey of discovery, Ami Ayalon seeks input and perspective from Palestinians and Israelis whose experiences differ from his own. As head of the Shin Bet security agency, he gained empathy for "the enemy" and learned that when Israel carries out anti-terrorist operations in a political context of hopelessness, the Palestinian public will support violence, because they have nothing to lose. Researching and writing Friendly Fire, he came to understand that his patriotic life had blinded him to the self-defeating nature of policies that have undermined Israel's civil society while heaping humiliation upon its Palestinian neighbors. "If Israel becomes an Orwellian dystopia," Ayalon writes, "it won't be thanks to a handful of theologians dragging us into the dark past. The secular majority will lead us there motivated by fear and propelled by silence." Ayalon is a realist, not an idealist, and many who consider themselves Zionists will regard as radical his conclusions about what Israel must do to achieve relative peace and security and to sustain itself as a Jewish homeland and a liberal democracy.

The Anatomy of Israel s Survival

The Anatomy of Israel s Survival
Author: Hirsh Goodman
Publsiher: Hachette UK
Total Pages: 288
Release: 2011-09-06
Genre: History
ISBN: 9781610390835

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The question "Can Israel survive?" has echoed loud for Israelis -- and Jews, their supporters and adversaries worldwide -- since the Holocaust. The recent upheavals in Egypt, Tunisia and beyond have raised it anew. Israeli journalist and security analyst Hirsh Goodman set out to answer it, through rigorous factual assessment of each of the challenges his country faces, and by consulting experts and participants on all sides of every complex issue. But what he learned was that this once 'essential question' has become a dangerous distraction. In this provocative and deeply informed book, Goodman shares his clarifying analyses both of recent political events and of Israel's strategic position. He shows how the country's obsession with dangers posed by outside forces has obscured the harder issues facing it from within ever since its leaders disregarded Ben Gurion's advice to leave the territories captured during the Six Day War. By yoking itself to the demographic timebomb of the West Bank and Gaza, Israel propelled itself towards an invidious choice: democracy or Jewish identity. Now, Goodman argues, Israel's survival is jeopardized more by the competence of its leaders and fissures in its social and political system than by any outside threat -- even the apocalyptic-sounding ones from Iran.

The Book Collectors of Daraya

The Book Collectors of Daraya
Author: Delphine Minoui
Publsiher: Picador
Total Pages: 208
Release: 2022-02-03
Genre: Electronic Book
ISBN: 1529012333

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The compelling story of how a group of young Syrian rebels found hope in the midst of war - hope that came from books.

House of Windows

House of Windows
Author: Adina Hoffman
Publsiher: Crown
Total Pages: 224
Release: 2012-08-29
Genre: Travel
ISBN: 9780385347761

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A brilliant and moving evocation of the rhythms of life (and the darker shadows below it) in a working-class quarter of the world’s most fascinating and divided city. In the tradition of the literature of place perfected by such expatriate writers as M. F. K. Fisher and Isak Dinesen, Adina Hoffman’s House of Windows compellingly evokes Jerusalem through the prism of the neighborhood where she has lived for eight years since moving from the United States. In a series of interlocking sketches and intimate portraits of the inhabitants of Musrara, a neighborhood on the border of the western (Jewish) and eastern (Arab) sides of the city–a Sephardic grocer, an aging civil servant, a Palestinian gardener, a nosy mother of ten–Hoffman constructs an intimate view of Jerusalem life that will be a revelation to American readers bombarded with politics and headlines. By focusing on the day-to-day pace of existence in this close-knit community, she provides a rich, precise, and refreshingly honest portrait of a city often reduced to cliche–and takes in the larger question of identity and exile that haunts Jews and Palestinians alike.

The Tree of Life and Prosperity

The Tree of Life and Prosperity
Author: Michael A. Eisenberg
Publsiher: Simon and Schuster
Total Pages: 352
Release: 2021-08-24
Genre: Religion
ISBN: 9781637580714

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One of Israel’s most successful venture capitalists uses the words and actions of the Hebrew patriarchs to lay the foundations for a modern growth economy based on timeless business principles and values. Entrepreneurs, businessmen, and investors are constantly looking for principles and rules that will pave the way for success. Usually, those at the forefront are successful entrepreneurs from Silicon Valley or legendary Wall Street investors. But the principles of economic growth, wealth creation and preservation were written long before the rise of the modern market economy and its heroes. Michael Eisenberg—one of the most successful venture capitalists in Israel, and one of the first investors in Lemonade, and Wix—reveals in The Tree of Life and Prosperity the eternal principles for successful business, economics, and negotiation hidden in the Torah—and shows their relevance to the modern world we live in.

Beaufort

Beaufort
Author: Ron Leshem
Publsiher: Delacorte Press
Total Pages: 368
Release: 2007-12-26
Genre: Fiction
ISBN: 9780440337379

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By turns subversive and darkly comic, brutal and tender, Ron Leshem’s debut novel is an international literary sensation, winner of Israel’s top award for literature and the basis for a prizewinning film. Charged with brilliance and daring, hypnotic in its intensity, Beaufort is at once a searing coming-of-age story and a novel for our times—one of the most powerful, visceral portraits of the horror, camaraderie, and absurdity of war in modern fiction. Beaufort. To the handful of Israeli soldiers occupying the ancient crusader fortress, it is a little slice of hell—a forbidding, fear-soaked enclave perched atop two acres of land in southern Lebanon, surrounded by an enemy they cannot see. And to the thirteen young men in his command, Twenty-one-year-old Lieutenant Liraz “Erez” Liberti is a taskmaster, confessor, and the only hope in the face of attacks that come out of nowhere and missions seemingly designed to get them all killed. All around them, tension crackles in the air. Long stretches of boredom and black humor are punctuated by flashes of terror. And the threat of death is constant. But in their stony haven, Erez and his soldiers have created their own little world, their own rules, their own language. And here Erez listens to his men build castles out of words, telling stories, telling lies, talking incessantly of women, sex, and dead comrades. Until, in the final days of the occupation, Erez and his squad of fed-up, pissed-off, frightened young soldiers are given one last order: a mission that will shatter all remaining illusions—and stand as a testament to the universal, gut-wrenching futility of war. The basis for the Academy Award-nominated film of the same name.