The Haj

  • by Leon Uris
  • Narrated by Neil Shah
  • 21 hrs and 31 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Leon Uris retums to the land of his acclaimed best-seller Exodus for an epic story of hate and love, vengeance and forgiveness. The Middle East is the powerful setting for this sweeping tale of a land where revenge is sacred and hatred noble. Where an Arab ruler tries to save his people from destruction but cannot save them from themselves. When violence spreads like a plague across the lands of Palestine - this is the time of The Haj.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Oversimplification of Middle East problems

I read this book in 1984 when it first came out. I have a note in my records that I thought the book was excellent. I can remember that I did not enjoy it as much as I did “Exodus.” I thought that with all the problems in the Middle East the book might provide me with some insight to the situation, so I decided to re-read the book.

The story is about a Palestinian Arab family living in Palestine in the 1920-1950 eras. The main narrator of the story is Ishmael the youngest son of Ibrahim, who is the Muktar of an isolated village of Tabah in the Ajalon Valley. The book drags along, Ibrahim made his pilgrimage to Mecca as a young man. The pilgrimage is called the Haj, thus the title of the book. The story takes us to the formation of Israel and the family chooses to flee Palestine to a refugee camp near Jericho.

Uris provides colorful details, descriptions of the country and lots of sex and violence. I had to keep in mind the book is written by a Jew and the time frame of the book is 1920 to 1950. Uris does provide some history mixed into the story. I really enjoyed the part of the story when Ishmael took artifact he found to the archeologist. The history explained by him and the explanation about archeology was interesting. The author does write with some sympathy for the Arabs but mostly the impression I got from the book is the British and Arabs are bad and the Jews are good.

I had a totally different response to the book than I did when I read it in 1984. At that time I just enjoyed the story, this time I see the hyperbole, propaganda and the oversimplification. The story remains exciting but now I guess I can see more than just the story. Neil Shah does a good job narrating the story.
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- Jean "I am an avid eclectic reader."

A sweeping saga of Arab/Israeli conflict

This was a book that confirmed my impressions about blind hatred and how much damage it can do. I found it so sad that the family who were the "protagonists" of the story, that of Haj Ibrahim, were all victims of the hatred that they espoused and continued. One by one, the children died due to savagery on the part of their own people, not the Israelis. There were a number of references in the book to the fact that the Arabs really had very little problem with the "Jews" but had a lot of problems with their own people. The notion that one was raised from infancy to hate a people for no reason blew me away, though I have known for some time that this happens. It is like a family feud that is fuelled by nothing but a history of the feud itself. Many of the Arabs refused to take supplies offered by the Jews so as not to give them the impression that they needed them in order to survive. And yet, the Arabs in this story fed on hatred and it ultimately consumed them in both a spiritual and physical sense. There were very disturbing parts of this book but I feel it was probably fairly accurate. I am sure that there are people who would think that this book was biased. I do not think so. The Haj was a very good book and a sad story of a family self-destructing.
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- DIANE "I am an avid "reader"- I prefer to listen to books rather than read them due to the added dimension added by the narrator."

Book Details

  • Release Date: 05-20-2014
  • Publisher: Audible Studios