Out of Palestine: The Making of Modern Israel

Out of Palestine book coverThe book features interviews with Arabs, Palestinians, Jews, and English political figures who are crucial in creating the Jewish state in 1948. The author, Hadara Lazar, is a well-known Israeli journalist. She has been interviewing people who were able to witness 1948’s historic events. Those she interviewed have lived in the British Madate. Jewish State’s founding is said to be more like a work of history rather than a founded by a group of distinct voices. She was able to interview housewives, teachers, soldiers, intellectuals, policemen, and lawyers. She personally visits them in their homes and offices and gets to know them better. Basically, her book gives a narrative on how Israel came to be Israel.

The rule of the British over Palestine went on for almost three decades. This may just be a fraction of how old the country is since it is almost three thousand years old. But no matter how tiny this event is in the country’s history, its influence is indeed wide-ranging and deep. Palestine actually became a political unit and they made Jerusalem its capital. They brought about a civil society and introduced professional civil service. They build airfields and roads, and provided police and legal institutions.

This frame of rule by the British came from the mandate that was conferred by the League of Nations on Britain. It was a transitory trusteeship so as to prepare Palestine to be the Jews’ national home without disregarding the religious and civil rights of the indigenous Arabs. While this task may be contradictory, it was deeply embedded in “The Mandate”. This mandate was actually the reason why the term Palestine was revived. It is an old term actually that describes the area between the Mediterranean Sea and Jordan River.

This mandate did not provide political independence and collective liberty. It did not bring elections for the localities that would be under the control of the British. But the sense of personal freedom was widely felt. Since the Millet system of the Ottoman Empire, the mandate paved way for religious communities to achieve internal autonomy.

In Lazar’s book she succeeds in narrating her interviewees’ accounts vividly. She did not just interview recceptionists in the King David Hotel but instead, she provided clients’accounts. At times, her British interviewees seem to be distant but Lazar is a quick and good observer. She looked at jews being single-minded fanatics. But in reality, that might not be the reason why they are irritated. The British tend to make use of their sense of snobbism more so the result is them feeling an air of intellectual superiority.

Basically, the book of Lazar is not really about comparative colonialism. It is more about the mandate. With all the historical memories she have gathered from the interviews, she was able to weave them into tales of morality. In reading this book, you can’t help but compare the Israel rule to other colonial rules. Sometimes, you may think that the mandate is good, sometimes not. The book definitely scratches parts of the readers’ minds which keep them interested.

About the Author

Hadara Lazar was born in Haifa, Israel. She is the author of five novels, and her two non-fiction books explore life in Israel and British-Mandate-era Palestine. She lives in Tel Aviv.

Breach of Peace: Portraits of the 1961 Mississippi Freedom Riders

Breach of PeaceIn this book, Eric Etheridge, a journalist, narrates his interviews and photographs. What he did was to track down over 70 Freedom Riders. They are known to be those who were arrested and served jail time as they challenged the state segregation laws of Mississippi in the summer and spring of 1961. In the book, the original mug shots were displayed as well as the contemporary portraits of Etheridge.

To give you an idea, here is an overview of the life of the Freedom Riders featured in the book:

  1. Hank Thomas

He was born in August 29, 1941 in Jacksonville, FL but he was raised in St. Augustine, FL. He was a sophomore at Howard University in DC and is known to be active in the student movement. Of the 13 Freedom Fighters who left DC on May 4, 1961, he was one of them and he was also there on the bus that was firebombed in AL 7 days later.

  1. Carol Silver

She was born in Boston, MA on October 1, 1938. She grew up there, in Revere, and in Worcester, MA. She used to live in New York as she worked for the United Nations. She was also a graduate of University of Chicago in 1960.

  1. Michael Audain

He was born in Bournemouth, England on July 31, 1937. He was then raised in Victoria, British Columbia. His great grandfather who was known as James Dunsmuir was a 5th generation British Columbian who was known to be a prominent politician and industrialist in their province. Audain finished his third year at University of British Columbia. He was also one of the Freedom Riders in Jackson who actually came alone, without organizers with him.

  1. Charles Purnell

He was born in Rolling Fork, MS on January 19, 1941. He grew up there but since his father was a preacher for African Methodist Episcopal who was fond of changing churches every 2 years, he was able to go to other small towns such as North Mississippi, Cleveland, Coldwater, and Holly Bluff. Purnell used to be a student in Campbell Junior College.

  1. Larry Bell

He was born in Monroe, GA on March 5, 1942. He grew up there until his family moved in LA at 1950. Back then, he was a freshman of Los Angeles City College.

  1. Matthew Walker, Jr.

He was born on June 1, 1941 in Nashville and it’s where he grew up too. His dather was a member of Nashville Christian Leadership Council and was also a surgeon. He servedas chair of Meharry Medical College’s surgery department. Back then, Walker was a student of Fisk University and he was active in the Nashville Student Movement as well.

  1. Jean Thompson

She was born in Lake Providence, LA on January 13, 1942. She was raised there and in New Orleans. She used to be active in CORE in New Orleans and she was with her sisters Shirley and Alice. Shirley was then arrested on June 6 at the Trailways station.

Know more about these people by reading Breach of Peace: Portraits of the 1961 Mississippi Freedom Riders.

About the Authors

Eric Etheridge grew up in Carthage, Mississippi. He is a former editor at Rolling Stone, The New York Observer and Harper’s. He lives in New York City.

Eric is represented by the American Program Bureau for nationwide speaking engagements and lectures.

Roger Wilkins is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and distinguished professor of history at George Mason University. He was assistant attorney general in President Lyndon B. Johnson’s administration at the age of thirty-three.

Diane McWhorter is the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Carry Me Home: Birmingham, Alabama-the Climactic Battle of the Civil Rights Revolution and a long-time contributor to the New York Times.

A Universal History of the Destruction of Books

universal history of the destruction of books book coverFernando Baez, a Venezuelan historian, spent almost 12 years just to assemble the chronicles of this book which would depict a horrific assault on human memory. It all starts in Baghdad in 2003 when US soldiers are just idly standing as mobsters loot everywhere and later on, burn the National Library which causes the loss of a million books in estimate. This act of biblioclasm is not new, according to Baez. Some may have reasons of merely invasion and vandalism while others just do it out of viciousness. In history, more than 80% of Egyptian literature has been gone. Sophocles has 120 plays but only 7 of them survived and millions of ancient scrolls and tablets have been gone. Continue reading A Universal History of the Destruction of Books

Burned: A Memoir

burned a memoir book coverThe Nayers encountered a violent accident just because of a match that was lighted in the wrong place and the wrong time. When the author’s mother lighted a match in the cellar of the vacation home they were staying in, her mother and father were consumed by a flash fire. Their mother barely survived and she had scars which made her unrecognizable. She had to undergo 37 operations. Continue reading Burned: A Memoir

Inside the Stalin Archives: Discovering the New Russia

inside stalin archives book coverMore than two decades ago, particularly in 1992, Jonathan Brent flew to Russia just to obtain rights in publishing some materials from the Soviet archives. He is now the CEO and executive director of YIVO Institute for Jewish Research then and he was the director of Yale University Press’ Stalin Digital Archive Project. Before flying to Russia in 1992, Boris Yeltsin, Russia’s newly appointed leader, declared the opening of state, secret party, and K.G.B. archives would be opened for publishers and scholars all around the world. Continue reading Inside the Stalin Archives: Discovering the New Russia

Slow Love: How I Lost My Job, Put On My Pajamas & Found Happiness

Slow Love Book ImageDominique Browning used to be someone who had everything that she wanted. She was able to write two books that was widely known and was able to inspire. These were memoirs including meditations that are able to heal. “Around the House and in the Garden” was her first book explains how she healed herself through the help of her own house after her marriage of 15 years ended. Meanwhile there’s “Paths of Desire” which is a follow-up book where she introduced humanity and humor in her writing style. She rarely mentioned that for 13 years, she was editor in chief of House & Garden magazine. Continue reading Slow Love: How I Lost My Job, Put On My Pajamas & Found Happiness

Socialism Is Great: A Worker’s Memoir of the New China

Socialism is Great Book CoverDuring the 1980s, China was under tremendous changes. Mao Zedong’s death in 1976 loosened the Communist party’s grip and it paved way to a better economy where the urban youth could start building what they desire.

The author of “Socialism Is Great!”: A Worker’s Memoir of the New China, Lijia Zhang, was born in this era. Her book is basically a memoir. Zhang came from Nanjing at a time when everyone around her were coping up with the new economic and social order brought by communism. Her other lived a life of routine while working at a missile factory that the state owns. But Zhang had her own individualism. She has learned how to love personal freedom, education, money, and sexual adventure. Continue reading Socialism Is Great: A Worker’s Memoir of the New China

Year Million: Science at the Far Edge of Knowledge

Book Jacket for Year MillionWith all the natural resources crises that we are experiencing such as raw material shortage, high energy prices, and global warming, have we ever really stopped to think what our olives could be a million years from now? With the current technology that we have, it is never impossible to predict what lies ahead.

The good news is, there is now Year Million: Science at the Far Edge of Knowledge. This book comprises of 14 essays written mostly by fiction writers, mathematicians, computer experts, and scientists. The entire book was edited by Damien Broderick. The book is a good read if you want to know what could happen in the future and if you also want to know how to survive if worse comes to worst. There’s no need stop making those plans though. Whatever is predicted from the book will happen millions, billions, or even trillions of years from now. This is a pretty long timeframe since what we are talking about are the eventual cooling of the universe, the sun’s collapse, and the Earth’s destruction. Continue reading Year Million: Science at the Far Edge of Knowledge