From Beirut to Jerusalem

From Beirut to Jerusalem

by Thomas L. Friedman

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This revised edition of the number-one bestseller and winner of the 1989 National Book Award includes the Pulitzer Prize-winning author's new, updated epilogue.

One of the most thought-provoking books ever written about the Middle East, From Beirut to Jerusalem remains vital to our understanding of this complex and volatile region of the world. Three-time Pulitzer Prize winner Thomas L. Friedman drew upon his ten years of experience reporting from Lebanon and Israel to write this now-classic work of journalism. In a new afterword, he updates his journey with a fresh discussion of the Arab Awakenings and how they are transforming the area, and a new look at relations between Israelis and Palestinians, and Israelis and Israelis.

Rich with anecdote, history, analysis, and autobiography, From Beirut to Jerusalem will continue to shape how we see the Middle East for many years to come.

"If you're only going to read one book on the Middle East, this is it."--Seymour M. Hersh

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780374706999
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Publication date: 04/01/2010
Sold by: Macmillan
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 560
Sales rank: 358,726
File size: 951 KB

About the Author

Thomas L. Friedman is an internationally renowned author, reporter, and columnist—the recipient of three Pulitzer Prizes and the author of several bestselling and award winning books, among them From Beirut to Jerusalem, The World Is Flat, Thank You for Being Late and Hot, Flat, and Crowded.

Thomas L. Friedman is an internationally renowned author, reporter, and columnist-the recipient of three Pulitzer Prizes and the author of six bestselling books, among them From Beirut to Jerusalem and The World Is Flat.

He was born in Minneapolis in 1953, and grew up in the middle-class Minneapolis suburb of St. Louis Park. He graduated from Brandeis University in 1975 with a degree in Mediterranean studies, attended St. Antony's College, Oxford, on a Marshall Scholarship, and received an M.Phil. degree in modern Middle East studies from Oxford. After three years with United Press International, he joined The New York Times, where he has worked ever since as a reporter, correspondent, bureau chief, and columnist. At the Times, he has won three Pulitzer Prizes: in 1983 for international reporting (from Lebanon), in 1988 for international reporting (from Israel), and in 2002 for his columns after the September 11th attacks.

Friedman's first book, From Beirut to Jerusalem, won the National Book Award in 1989. His second book, The Lexus and the Olive Tree: Understanding Globalization (1999), won the Overseas Press Club Award for best book on foreign policy in 2000. In 2002 FSG published a collection of his Pulitzer Prize-winning columns, along with a diary he kept after 9/11, as Longitudes and Attitudes: Exploring the World After September 11. His fourth book, The World Is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-first Century (2005) became a #1 New York Times bestseller and received the inaugural Financial Times/Goldman Sachs Business Book of the Year Award in November 2005. A revised and expanded edition was published in hardcover in 2006 and in 2007. The World Is Flat has sold more than 4 million copies in thirty-seven languages.

In 2008 he brought out Hot, Flat, and Crowded, which was published in a revised edition a year later. His sixth book, That Used to Be Us: How American Fell Behind in the World We Invented and How We Can Come Back, co-written with Michael Mandelbaum, was published in 2011.

Thomas L. Friedman lives in Bethesda, Maryland, with his family.


Washington, D.C. area

Date of Birth:

July 20, 1953

Place of Birth:

Minneapolis, Minnesota


B.A. in Mediterranean Studies, Brandeis University, 1975; M.A. in Modern Middle East Studies, Oxford University, 1978

Read an Excerpt

From Beirut to Jerusalem

Updated with a New Chapter

By Thomas L. Friedman


Copyright © 1989 Thomas L. Friedman
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-0-374-70699-9


Prelude: From Minneapolis to Beirut

In June 1979, my wife, Ann, and I boarded a red-and-white Middle East Airlines 707 in Geneva for the four-hour flight to Beirut. It was the start of the nearly ten-year journey through the Middle East that is the subject of this book. It began, as it ended, with a bang.

When we got in line to walk through the metal detector at our boarding gate, we found ourselves standing behind three broad-shouldered, mustachioed Lebanese men. As each stepped through the metal detector, it would erupt with a buzz and a flashing red light, like a pinball machine about to tilt. The Swiss police immediately swooped in to inspect our fellow passengers, who turned out not to be hijackers bearing guns and knives, although they were carrying plenty of metal; they were an Armenian family of jewelers bringing bricks of gold back to Beirut. Each of the boys in the family had a specially fitted money belt containing six gold bars strapped around his stomach, and one of them also had a shoe box filled with the precious metal. They sat next to Ann and me in the back of the plane and spent part of the flight tossing the gold bricks back and forth for fun.

When our MEA plane finally touched down at Beirut International Airport, and I beheld the arrival terminal's broken windows, bullet scars, and roaming armed guards, my knees began to buckle from fear. I realized immediately that although I had spent years preparing for this moment—becoming a foreign correspondent in the Middle East—nothing had really prepared me for the road which lay ahead.

In Minneapolis, Minnesota, where I was born and raised, I had never sat next to people who tossed gold bricks to each other in the economy section on Northwest Airlines. My family was, I suppose, a rather typical middle-class American Jewish family. My father sold ball bearings and my mother was a homemaker and part-time bookkeeper. I was sent to Hebrew school five days a week as a young boy, but after I had my bar mitzvah at age thirteen, the synagogue interested me little; I was a three-day-a-year Jew—twice on the New Year (Rosh Hashanah) and once on the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur). In 1968, my oldest sister, Shelley, spent her junior year abroad at Tel Aviv University; it was the year after Israel's dramatic victory in the Six-Day War—a time when Israel was very much the "in" place for young American Jews. Over the Christmas break of 1968 my parents took me to Israel to visit my sister.

That trip would change my life. I was only fifteen years old at the time and just waking up to the world. The flight to Jerusalem marked the first time I had traveled beyond the border of Wisconsin and the first time I had ridden on an airplane. I don't know if it was just the shock of the new, or a fascination waiting to be discovered, but something about Israel and the Middle East grabbed me in both heart and mind. I was totally taken with the place, its peoples and its conflicts. Since that moment, I have never really been interested in anything else. Indeed, from the first day I walked through the walled Old City of Jerusalem, inhaled its spices, and lost myself in the multicolored river of humanity that flowed through its maze of alleyways, I felt at home. Surely, in some previous incarnation, I must have been a bazaar merchant, a Frankish soldier perhaps, a pasha, or at least a medieval Jewish chronicler. It may have been my first trip abroad, but in 1968 I knew then and there that I was really more Middle East than Minnesota.

When I returned home, I began to read everything I could get my hands on about Israel. That same year, Israel's Jewish Agency sent a shaliach, a sort of roving ambassador and recruiter, to Minneapolis for the first time. I became one of his most active devotees—organizing everything from Israeli fairs to demonstrations. He arranged for me to spend all three summers of high school living on Kibbutz Hahotrim, an Israeli collective farm on the coast just south of Haifa. For my independent study project in my senior year of high school, in 1971, I did a slide show on how Israel won the Six-Day War. For my high-school psychology class, my friend Ken Greer and I did a slide show on kibbutz life, which ended with a stirring rendition of "Jerusalem of Gold" and a rapid-fire montage of strong-eyed, idealistic-looking Israelis of all ages. In fact, high school for me, I am now embarrassed to say, was one big celebration of Israel's victory in the Six-Day War. In the period of a year, I went from being a nebbish whose dream was to one day become a professional golfer to being an Israel expert-in-training.

I was insufferable. When the Syrians arrested thirteen Jews in Damascus, I wore a button for weeks that said Free the Damascus 13, which most of my high-school classmates thought referred to an underground offshoot of the Chicago 7. I recall my mother saying to me gently, "Is that really necessary?" when I put the button on one Sunday morning to wear to our country-club brunch. I became so knowledgeable about the military geography of the Middle East that when my high-school geography class had a teaching intern from the University of Minnesota for a month, he got so tired of my correcting him that he asked me to give the talk about the Golan Heights and the Sinai Peninsula while he sat at my desk. In 1968, the first story I wrote as a journalist for my high-school newspaper was about a lecture given at the University of Minnesota by a then-obscure Israeli general who had played an important role in the 1967 war. His name was Ariel Sharon.

During the summer that I spent in Israel after high-school graduation, I got to know some Israeli Arabs from Nazareth, and our chance encounter inspired me to buy an Arabic phrase book and to begin reading about the Arab world in general. From my first day in college, I started taking courses in Arabic language and literature. In 1972, my sophomore year, I spent two weeks in Cairo on my way to Jerusalem for a semester abroad at the Hebrew University. Cairo was crowded, filthy, exotic, impossible—and I loved it. I loved the pita bread one could buy hot out of the oven, I loved the easy way Egyptians smiled, I loved the mosques and minarets that gave Cairo's skyline its distinctive profile, and I even loved my caddy at the Gezira Sporting Club, who offered to sell me both golf balls and hashish, and was ready to bet any amount of money that I could not break 40 my first time around the course. (Had two racehorses not strolled across the ninth fairway in the middle of my drive, I might have won the bet.)

In the summer of 1974, between my junior and senior years of college, I returned to Egypt for a semester of Arabic-language courses at the American University in Cairo. When I came back to Brandeis, where I was studying for my B.A., I gave a slide lecture about Egypt. An Israeli graduate student in the audience heckled me the entire time asking, "What is a Jew doing going to Egypt?" and "How dare you like these people?" Worse, he got me extremely flustered and turned my talk into a catastrophe I would never forget. But I learned two important lessons from the encounter. First, when it comes to discussing the Middle East, people go temporarily insane, so if you are planning to talk to an audience of more than two, you'd better have mastered the subject. Second, a Jew who wants to make a career working in or studying about the Middle East will always be a lonely man: he will never be fully accepted or trusted by the Arabs, and he will never be fully accepted or trusted by the Jews.

After graduating from Brandeis in 1975, I decided to study with the masters of Middle Eastern Studies—the British. I enrolled at St. Antony's College, Oxford University, where I took a master's degree in the history and politics of the modern Middle East. St. Antony's was everything I had hoped for by way of formal education, but I learned as much in the dining room as in the classroom. As the center of Middle Eastern studies in England, St. Antony's attracted the very best students from the Arab world and Israel. Since there were only about 125 students in the college and we ate three meals a day together, we got to know each other very well. At Brandeis, I was considered knowledgeable about the Middle East, but among the St. Antony's crowd I was a complete novice. I learned to be a good listener, though, and there was plenty to listen to.

My years at St. Antony's coincided with the start of the Lebanese civil war. I shared a bathroom with an extremely bright Lebanese Shiite, Mohammed Mattar, and a lunch table with Lebanese Christians and Palestinians; my closest friend at St. Antony's was an Iraqi Jew, Yosef Sassoon, whom I had met, along with his wife, Taffy, in the laundry room. Watching them all interact, argue, challenge each other at lectures, and snipe at one another at mealtimes taught me how much more there was to the Middle East than Arab versus Jew. A spectator of their feuds, an outsider, I managed to stay on friendly terms with all of them, as well as with the Israelis on campus.

While studying in England, I began my career in journalism. One day in August 1976, I was walking down a street in London and noticed a headline from the London Evening Standard which read: CARTER TO JEWS: IF ELECTED I'LL FIRE DR. K. The article was about how candidate Jimmy Carter was promising to dismiss Secretary of State Henry Kissinger if elected President. How odd, I thought to myself, that a presidential candidate could curry favor among American Jews by promising to fire the first-ever Jewish Secretary of State. I decided to write an Op Ed article explaining this anomaly. My girlfriend and future wife, Ann Bucksbaum, happened to be friendly with the editorial-page editor of the Des Moines Register, Gilbert Cranberg. Ann brought him the article. He liked it and printed it on August 23, 1976; thus did I find my calling as a Middle East correspondent. Over the next two years, I wrote more such articles, and upon graduation from St. Antony's I had a small portfolio of Op Ed pieces to show for myself.

Shortly before graduating from Oxford in June 1978, I applied for a job with the London bureau of United Press International. I had decided that the academic ivory tower was not for me and that if I was ever going to be able to hold my own on the Middle East, I had to live there and experience the place firsthand. Fortunately, Leon Daniel, the UPI bureau chief in London, was ready to take a chance on me—despite the fact that I had never so much as covered a one-alarm fire—and gave me a job as a starting reporter. I was so nervous my first week that I kept getting bloody noses and eventually ended up in the hospital, much to the amusement of the grizzled and not always sober UPI veterans, who had more than a few laughs about "the Oxford kid who thinks he can be a journalist." My first news story was about the death by drug overdose of Keith Moon, the drummer for the rock group The Who. It was not exactly the kind of news I had hoped to be covering, but my opportunity would come, much sooner than I expected.

The Iranian revolution broke out soon after I joined UPI, and the world oil situation became a major story. UPI had no oil expert, so I jumped into the void. My only previous contacts with oil were confined to salad dressing and whatever went under the hood of my car. Fortunately, upstairs from UPI was the London bureau of The Petroleum Intelligence Weekly, an oil newsletter, and by hanging around their staff I picked up just enough basic jargon to fake it. My big break, though, came in the spring of 1979, when UPI suddenly had an opening in its Beirut bureau. The number-two correspondent there had decided Lebanon was not for him, after being nicked in the ear by a bullet fired by a man who was robbing a jewelry store. The job offer was accompanied by words to this effect: "Well, Tom, the guy before you got hit with a little piece of bullet, but don't pay any attention to that. We think you're the perfect guy for the job."

Nevertheless, with a lump in my throat and a knot in my gut, I jumped at the opportunity. My friends and family all thought I was insane. A Jew? In Beirut? I didn't really have a response for them; I didn't really know what awaited me. All I knew was that this was my moment of truth. I had been studying about the Arab world and Israel for six years; if I didn't go now, I would never go. So I went.

Lebanon was once known as the Switzerland of the Middle East, a land of mountains, money, and many cultures, all of which somehow miraculously managed to live together in harmony. At least that was the picture-postcard view. It was not the Lebanon that greeted Ann and me in June 1979. We came to a country that had been in the grip of a civil war since 1975. Our first evening at the Beirut Commodore Hotel I remember lying awake listening to a shootout right down the street. It was the first time I had ever heard a gun fired in my life.

Like most other foreign reporters in Lebanon, we found an apartment in Muslim West Beirut, where the majority of government institutions and foreign embassies were located. Ann got a job working for a local merchant bank, and later for an Arab political research organization. These were the "Wild West Days of West Beirut." Although the civil war raged on, it was at a very low boil. Roads were open between East and West Beirut and much business and commerce was going on amid all the sniping and kidnapping.

After more than two years in Beirut with UPI, I was offered a job by The New York Times in 1981 and asked to come to Manhattan in order to learn the mysterious ways of that newspaper. After eleven months in New York, however, the Times editors decided to send me right back to Beirut, in April 1982, to be their correspondent in Lebanon.

When I returned to Beirut, I found the city abuzz with two different sets of rumors. One set involved an explosion of violence inside Syria, which had just happened, and the other an explosion of violence from Israel, which was expected to happen at any moment. The Syrian rumors, which most people found impossible to believe at first, alleged that the Syrian government had put down a rebellion launched from its fourth-largest city—Hama—and killed 20,000 of its own citizens there. The Israeli stories revolved around speculation that the Phalangist militia leader, Bashir Gemayel, had struck a deal with the Israeli government of Prime Minister Menachem Begin to mount a joint effort to drive the PLO and the Syrians out of Lebanon forever. Both rumors turned out to be true.

For the next twenty-six months, I reported on the Hama massacre, the Israeli invasion of Lebanon, the massacre of Palestinians in the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps, the evacuation of the PLO from Beirut, the arrival of the U.S. Marine peacekeeping force, the suicide bombing of the American Embassy in Beirut and the Marine headquarters, the departure of the Marines from Lebanon, and the ongoing fighting in the Lebanese civil war that accompanied all these momentous events.

Following these tumultuous years in Beirut, I was transferred by The New York Times to Jerusalem in June 1984, to be the newspaper's correspondent in Israel. My editor at the time, A. M. Rosenthal, thought it would be "interesting" to see how someone who had covered the Arab world for almost five years would look at Israeli society. Abe also wanted to dispense with an old unwritten rule at The New York Times of never allowing a Jew to report from Jerusalem. Abe thought he had broken that ban five years earlier when he sent my predecessor, David K. Shipler, until he boasted about it one day at a meeting with editors and was informed that Shipler was a Protestant; he just looked like a rabbi.

When the day came for me to transfer from Beirut to Jerusalem, I actually drove overland by way of several Arab and Jewish taxis. Altogether the trip took only six hours, but the driving time was no measure of the real distance or proximity between them. In some ways they were the same city with some of the same basic problems, and in other ways, they were worlds apart.

This book is about my journey between these two worlds, and how I understood the events and the people whom I met along the way. On one level, it is about a young man from Minnesota who goes to Beirut and confronts a world for which nothing in his life had ever prepared him. On a second level, it is about a student of Middle East politics who, upon graduation, actually goes out to the region and discovers that it bears little resemblance to the bloodless, logical, and antiseptic descriptions he found in most of his textbooks. On a third level, it is about a Jew who was raised on all the stories, all the folk songs, and all the myths about Israel, who goes to Jerusalem in the 1980s and discovers that it isn't the Jewish summer camp of his youth but, rather, an audacious and still unresolved experiment to get Jews to live together in one country in the midst of the Arab world. Lastly, it is a book about the people in Beirut and Jerusalem themselves, who, I discovered, were going through remarkably similar identity crises. Each was caught in a struggle between the new ideas, the new relationships, the new nations they were trying to build for the future, and the ancient memories, ancient passions, and ancient feuds that kept dragging them back into the past.


Excerpted from From Beirut to Jerusalem by Thomas L. Friedman. Copyright © 1989 Thomas L. Friedman. Excerpted by permission of Picador.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents


Title Page,
Copyright Notice,
A Middle East Chronology,
1 - Prelude: From Minneapolis to Beirut,
2 - Would You Like to Eat Now or Wait for the Cease-fire?,
3 - Beirut: City of Versions,
4 - Hama Rules,
5 - The Teflon Guerrilla,
6 - Inside the Kaleidoscope: The Israeli Invasion of Lebanon,
7 - Poker, Beirut-Style,
8 - Betty Crocker in Dante's Inferno,
9 - The End of Something,
10 - Time to Go,
11 - Crosswinds,
12 - Whose Country Is This, Anyway?,
13 - The Fault Line,
14 - The Earthquake,
15 - Under the Spotlight,
16 - Israel and American Jews: Who Is Dreaming about Whom?,
17 - Conclusion: From Beirut to Jerusalem to Washington,
About the Author,
Also by Thomas L. Friedman,
Copyright Page,

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From Beirut to Jerusalem 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 48 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The fact is Friedman uses his experience of local peoples and places to put some of the most important events in the development of the fault we call the Israeli-Palestinian conflict into a greater historical/geographical context. It can be, if selectively read termed pro-Israeli or anti-Israeli (none daring the term pro-Palestinian). The reality is that the book condemns the slaughters of Sabra and the terrorism of Arafat. Beyond the insighful analysis of the political climate of Lebanon that no democratic power is apt to understand, the display of the way the people deal with these problems: the shellings, the street fights, the car bombs is an excellent psychological picture. Most important, however, is objectivity is in the juxtaposition of counterbalancing Middle Eastern myths: Israeli pioneering kibbutznic and Palestinian guerilla hero. Apart from what many say he blames arafat, not the Israeli's for failing to accept peace offers and destroying the prospects of his people by feeding them with false hope. He also, though, dissects the willingness of the modern Jewish settlers and their feeling of ownership. It is neither one-sided nor partisan, it is reality pure and simple. Until we accept this book, we will never solve the problem of Palestinian authority beause we do not understand the problem. (Previous comments denouncing the books mention respectively: that he says Jews were expelled from 'Palestine 2000 years ago' Granted the timing is slightly off but Jewish Diaspora's accepted starting point was the destruction of the Second Temple and the area was generically known to the people as Palestine - but the point his moot and irrelevant anyway. As to the understanding of Jewish historical/biblical claims it is very well handeled as he goes through the four Jewish groups in Israel. Lastly, it does not unnecessarily vilify the arab world or the palestinian masses. Nor oes it begrudge Israel her right to secure her borders. Rather it displays the horror of terrorism and destruction on both sides. The terrorists are wrong, but are the secretive kidnapping really right? I will not say, but the question is posed well and in clear context.)It is valuable to lend context, personal perspective, inside analysis and open up new areas of thought.
HJD44 More than 1 year ago
Mr Friedman gives us a very detailed account of the Israel/Arab conflict in the Middle East while he was on assignment there for many years for the New York Times. Mr Friedman was stationed in Beirut and then Jerusalem. He, also, gives us the history behind the problems. An excellent book, well written. This is a must read in order to get a feel for the region and its challenges.
Guest More than 1 year ago
If journalism is the first rough draft of history, Friedman¿s version may require only a light edit from future generations. Concisely cutting through the relentless pattern of attack and counter-attack that has characterized the Middle East for more than 50 years, Friedman finds a balance between seemingly bloodthirsty enemies. He delves into the cultural development of the peoples of the region from tribal origins, analyzing how their early struggles for survival color current events. We from getAbstract recommend this book as essential reading for any thoughtful person who wants to better understand the historical obstacles to peace in the Middle East.
PhoebeReading on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I read this during my trip to (surprise!) Israel. Friedman's easy, anecdotal style is a treat, really easy to grasp considering the depth and breadth of the book. This provided a great context for my trip, especially considering its age; understandably, he touches on many issues that my Birthright-trip organizers didn't want to discuss, but that I now consider integral to understanding several aspects of Israeli life, particularly Israeli military life. I plan to pick up more of his stuff soon.
lylebowlin on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Even though this book is almost 20 years old it is extremely well written and gives the reader some excellent insights into the Arab-Israeli conflict.
Pippilin on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A great tool in helping to understand the Arab mindset.
debnance on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Journalist relates some of the stories he runs across during his long post in first Beirut and then Jerusalem. Very readable. Recommended.
wwjules on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I first read this book during the first Gulf War, and found it very insightful. I read it again several years later, after obtaining a history degree, and with a little more insight into Middle Eastern issues, I still found it intriguing. I don't always agree with Friedman, but I usually enjoy hearing what he has to say.I will admit that this is the first book that got me interested in studying world events, so I'm grateful for that.
ejfertig on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Though this book is quite old at this point, it's amazingly up to date in the realities of the Arab/Israeli conflict. It's amazing how much he predicts several of the situations being observed now. Thomas Friedman really gets the Middle East in a way I haven't seen from any other American.
berrypuma on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is an excellent read. The original edition was written in the 80s but reading it if feels like it could have been written yesterday. It contains great insights into the root causes of the issues that the world is facing in the middle east today. Thomas Friedman manages to be very objective and candid even though he is Jewish by birth. This is one of those books that you remeber no matter how long ago it was read. Small piece of trivia taken from the book "intifada= shake off" related to shake off the dependance on Israel.
eduscapes on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book does a great job explaining the history of the middle east and has many implications for today.
jcvogan1 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Overview of Lebanon and Israel in the 1980's. Friedman's description of Israeli politics is very helpful and his description of the Israeli invasion of Lebanon bears startling resemblances to the 2003 US invasion of Iraq.
JBreedlove on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A readable account ofthe authors' time in Lebanon and Israel in the 1970's and 80's. This is a good revew of the conditions, events, and players in this region.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is narrow minded with limited scope of the realities on the ground. Definitely biased against Israel. Just disinformation. A kernnel of truth wrapped in deception. I wish I could get my time and money back.
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Gives a better understanding of the middle east.
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MamaRunner More than 1 year ago
Having worked in Israel and with friends that live there, I felt I needed to understand more about the history of this tumultuos region. This book was recommended to me and I loved it. Mr. Friedman explains the conflict from history to current day with the attention to detail and absurd humor as only one who has lived there can. For exaple, one of my favorite quotes in the book from a Lebanese socialite, "Would you like to eat now or wait for the cease fire?" I think that sums up the tone of the book perfectly. From Beirut to Jerusalem brings the region to life for anyone to fully understand why the Middle East is the way it is.
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