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 Ari Shavit draws on interviews, historical documents, private diaries, and letters, as well as his own family's story, illuminating the pivotal moments of the Zionist century to tell a riveting narrative that is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.

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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

Too important to be ruined by its narration!

Is there anything you would change about this book?

I've withheld comment until I had a chance to listen to some samples of Paul Boehmer's narration of other works. In other contexts, he has a terrific voice and style. But this was a mistake - the faux-Israeli accent makes it almost unbearable to listen to, and undermines the content of this important book. As I was listening in my car, I almost had to pull over because I was laughing so hard at the pronunciation of "1936" - the "theerrty" so far back in the throat I thought he would choke. Over and over again. This during the "Arab Uprisings" - not the intended effect, I'm sure.

The irony is that the author himself speaks far better English than the narrator - a richly-intoned, articulate, British-inflected voice.


What did you like best about this story?

If all Israelis - and Palestinians - had a sensibility akin to Shavit, the two nations would surely find a way to coexist peacefully. He holds the remarkable achievement of the Jews in Palestine in perfect tension with its tragic impact on the Palestinian people. Essential reading on the history of this land.


How could the performance have been better?

See above. Really unfortunate. In that this is clearly a reaction many have had, the publisher should strongly consider re-doing the recording.


Do you think My Promised Land needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

No, just a new recording - same narrator, sans accent. Please consider it - this book is too important to be ruined by its narration.


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- James

Detailed history of Israel, leading to today

What did you like best about this story?

I learned so much about the recent history of Israel, which gives perspective to modern events. The author covers the initial history period in such loving detail - I can taste the oranges, feel the heat, see the people's faces. The history is reviewed from personal perspectives, and includes rich details. As the book moves to current times, the author does live interviews, and is careful to explore right, left, and centrist ideals. For the most part, all are given respectful staging. At some points, the author seems to be lecturing people for ideas with which he does not agree, and the book, to me, starts to lean very leftwards. While the author does continue to respectfully present other views, his view is very clear by the end.


What about Paul Boehmer’s performance did you like?

I love the book as audio, as the reader has an Israeli accent and the words are so richly pronounced. I find myself echoing the words after he reads them. It is lovely in audio format.


Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

The personal stories of how different individuals came to and experienced Israel were varied and interesting, to hear the unique histories.


Any additional comments?

At times the author's politics are frustrating and I get angry - but perhaps this is what makes a book very good - that emotions are stirred. I enjoyed listening to this with my husband - we would often stop the telling to discuss it, and for me, that enriched the telling.

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- TableTopGamer

Book Details

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