From Beirut to Jerusalem

Friedman, Thomas. From Beirut to Jerusalem New York: Farrar Straus Giroux, 1989.

Reason read: Iran is beautiful in May…or so I’ve heard.

This book follows a chronology of the Middle East that begins in 1882 and ends in 1988. It could be seen as a love story, a biography about a region Friedman knows intimately and loves dearly despite its many contradictions. In spite of the ever-roiling Arab-Israeli conflict Friedman is right in the thick of it and writes as if he is at home. While he has a reporters flair for the detail there is a cavalier nonchalance when it comes to the dangers. He has grown used to the gunfire, the bombings and the kidnappings. His ambivalence in the face of such violence could almost be comical if it was not so conflicted.

Quotes that grabbed me, “Death had no echo in Beirut” (p 29). That spoke volumes to me. Here’s another, “Levin’s kidnapping, and the dozens that would follow, taught me a valuable lesson about journalism that one could learn only in a place like Beirut – to pay attention to toe silence” (p 74).

Book trivia: From Beirut to Jerusalem in the winner of the National Book Award of 1989.

Author fact: According to the dust jacket of From Beirut to Jerusalem Friedman had won five different awards by the time this book was published.

BookLust Twist: from Book Lust in the chapter simply called “The Middle East” (p 154).

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