My Promised Land

  • by Ari Shavit
  • Narrated by Paul Boehmer
  • 20 hrs and 45 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Winner of the Natan Book Award
An authoritative and deeply personal narrative history of the State of Israel, by one of the most influential journalists writing about the Middle East today.
Not since Thomas L. Friedman's groundbreaking From Beirut to Jerusalem has a book captured the essence and the beating heart of the Middle East as keenly and dynamically as My Promised Land. Facing unprecedented internal and external pressures, Israel today is at a moment of existential crisis. Ari Shavit draws on interviews, historical documents, private diaries, and letters, as well as his own family's story, illuminating the pivotal moments of the Zionist century to tell a riveting narrative that is larger than the sum of its parts: both personal and national, both deeply human and of profound historical dimension.


What the Critics Say

“Shavit's provocative book avoids the clichés typical of some works about the Middle East, and the audio version benefits from Paul Boehmer's superb presentation.” (AudioFile)
“One of the most nuanced and challenging books written on Israel in years . . . [The] book’s real power: On an issue so prone to polemic, Mr. Shavit offers candor.” (The Wall Street Journal)
“The most extraordinary book that I’ve read on [Israel] since Amos Elon’s book called The Israelis, and that was published in the late sixties.” (David Remnick)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Great book, but why the accent?

Would you listen to My Promised Land again? Why?

Great book. Shavit puts into words everything I sense when I go to Israel.

What did you like about the performance? What did you dislike?

Why does Audible have its narrators put on accents when reading books by feign language authors, or for that matter foreign authors? I do not need the Russian, Israeli, or English accents to appreciate books written by authors form those countries— I find it a distraction. The book is not written in dialect, so why should it be read that way. (At least this did not have the mispronunciations of Hebrew and Yiddish words I find in so many other audiobooks on Jewish or Israeli subjects. Lord knows how many other foreign words get mangled. Is it too much to ask the readers to research how to pronounce the foreign words they are reading?) Still, I was grateful for this audiobook because it allowed me to get through it quickly.

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- Stuart M. Wilder

Candid, Critical, and Compassionate

For years I have been deeply critical of Israel as I have slowly awoken to the plight of the Palestinian people. Knowing that my understanding of Israel and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was superficial, I welcomed Shavit's first hand account as an Israeli journalist affiliated with the Israeli peace movement.

Although Shavit's book is way too long and at times repetitive, I found his accounting to be remarkably candid and critical - while it was also engaging, insightful, and compassionate. He presents the historical context for Zionism (the persecution and annihilation of European Jews), but makes it clear that the Jews saved themselves at the expense of the Palestinians. His description of the catastrophe that befell the Palestinian people is deeply touching and profoundly sad.

Shavit does an excellent job of illuminating the evolving nature of Zionism and the State of Israel over the decades and helps to explain why Israeli politics is so dysfunctional and Israeli society so polarized. Consider, for example, that the founders of Israel were Eastern European, largely secular, Jews, while successive waves of immigrants, who did not fight in the war that established Israel, came from countries with a very different historical and religious context ( e.g., in the 1950's Jews from Muslim majority countries or in the 1990's Jews from the former Soviet Union).

Shavit makes it clear that the settlements in the West Bank are another catastrophe and that the future of Israel, the Palestinians, and all who are allied with these two people (most of the world, that is) depends on a just resolution. He has no prescription for resolving this intractable mess, but he helps his readers to understand the mutually incompatible truths that these two ancient people hold that maintain the conflict.

For the life of me I can't understand why other reviews were critical of the narration. Boehmer did an excellent job.
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- Dr.

Book Details

  • Release Date: 11-19-2013
  • Publisher: Random House Audio