“Arab and Jew: Wounded Spirits in a Promised Land” by David K. Shipler

Times Books, 1986

Review by Rick Edwards

David K. Shipler’s “Arab and Jew: Wounded Spirits in a Promised Land”  is a book that though published in 1986 and remains fundamental to the present-day understanding of the current, deep-rooted and escalating conflict in the state of Israel and surroundings.

It is objective. The author, who is neither Arab nor Jew, chronicles the origins of both peoples beginning some 4,000 years ago and takes the reader to 1986. Although there are now 24 years since the book was published, the critical, background history gives the reader a detailed and clear understanding of the complexities of the conflict – complexities based on religious absolutism, nationalism, terrorism, stereotypes and the difficulties of cultural and religious interactions. As a result, the reader today will have a much better insight and understanding of the anger, resentment, vengeance and brutality that fuels the violence between these two peoples, descendants of the “bosom of Abraham.”

Shipler was a correspondent for the New York Times and spent five years in Israel and made investigative trips to Egypt, Lebanon and Jordan from 1978 to 1985.

Rick Edwards, an Albuquerque resident, worked on a kibbutz in Israel in 1987, studied at Yad Vashem, the International Holocaust Memorial in Jerusalem, in 1990, and studied Hebrew in Netanya in 1991.