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Oral history and photographs together add new dimensions to our understanding of the history, the geography, and the human reality of Palestine.
Palestine was a bride with many suitors—European and American Christians imbued with the dream of Jerusalem, Orthodox peasants and persecuted Jews from the Russian empire, and an assortment of zealots, cranks, and misfits from around the world. All were convinced they had a better claim to the Holy Land than its inhabitants.
This book tells the story of Palestine—from Turkish to British to Zionist rule—through letters, diaries, and memoirs. What was it like to be an Arab doctor in Jerusalem when virtually all the city’s doctors were European? Or a British schoolteacher during a nationwide insurgency? Or a young Jewish student from Brooklyn who stumbles on the aftermath of a massacre?
The story is illuminated through the use of more than 120 black-and-white photographs, drawn from both local and foreign archives. Although the photographers often suffered from political, religious, or cultural biases, their work is nevertheless a unique form of testimony, and one which adds new dimensions to our understanding of the human reality of Palestine.
About the Author
Roger Hardy was for more than twenty years a Middle East analyst with the BBC World Service. He is the author of two earlier books – The Muslim Revolt: A Journey through Political Islam and The Poisoned Well: Empire and Its Legacy in the Middle East – and is an associate fellow of Green Templeton College, University of Oxford.
“A stunning book that captures the modern history of Palestine through extraordinary photographs and the words of the Arabs, Zionists, and Britons who lived through the tragedy of Palestine and the birth of Israel.” —Eugene Rogan, Professor of Modern Middle Eastern History, University of Oxford
“This is an excellent and engrossing book in which the text and pictures convey the actuality of the life and tragedy of the Palestinians better than anything I have read for years.” —Patrick Cockburn, Middle East correspondent, The Independent