SUNDAY TIMES AND GUARDIAN BOOKS OF THE YEAR 2017
'Comprehensive and compelling ... A nuanced, landmark study that has deservedly won plaudits from both Palestinian and Israeli historians' Justin Marozzi, The Times
A century after Britain's Balfour Declaration promised a Jewish 'national home' in Palestine, veteran Guardian journalist Ian Black has produced a major new history of one of the most polarising conflicts of the modern age.
Drawing on a wide range of sources - from declassified documents to oral testimonies and his own decades of reporting - Enemies and Neighbours brings much-needed perspective and balance to the long and unresolved struggle between Arabs and Jews in the Holy Land.
Beginning in the final years of Ottoman ruleand the British Mandate period, when Zionist immigration transformed Palestine in the face of mounting Arab opposition, the book re-examines the origins of what was a doomed relationship from the start. It sheds fresh light on critical events such as the Arab rebellion of the 1930s; Israel's independence and the Palestinian catastrophe (Nakba in Arabic) of 1948; the watershed of the 1967 war; two Intifadas; the Oslo Accords and Israel's shift to the right. It traces how - after five decades of occupation, ever-expanding Jewish settlements and the construction of the West Bank 'separation wall' - hopes for a two-state solution have all but disappeared, and explores what the future might hold.
Yet Black also goes beyond the most newsworthy events - wars, violence and peace initiatives - to capture thereality of everyday life on the ground in Jerusalem and Hebron, Tel Aviv,Ramallah, Haifa and Gaza, for both sides of an unequal struggle. Lucid, timelyand gripping, Enemies and Neighbours illuminates a bitter conflict that shows no sign of ending - which is why it is so essential that we understand it.
Excellent ... A detailed, even-handed account of the world's most intractable and damaging political dispute
Excellent ... Ian Black brings a fresh perspective to one of the most closely studied conflicts on Earth, unpacking its complexities with clarity and candour
Comprehensive and compelling ... A nuanced, landmark study that has deservedly won plaudits from both Palestinian and Israeli historians
Compelling ... Merits close reading for its rich detail and rare subtlety ... Denies made-up minds their soothing certainties ... A reading of uncommon clarity, informed by extensive research and keen insight
[A] wonderful new history of Palestine and Israel ... For its clarity and balance, Black's work stands tall in a field that is likely to continue growing
A good read..... sharp, fast paragraphs filled with vivid detail...keeps a tight focus on events on the ground. Punctures the view...that Palestinians bear virtually all the blame for the failure of recent efforts to create a Palestinian state
A remarkable book that combines sharp insight with absolute impartiality on one of the world's most complex and intractable conflicts. Black captures the voices of the Palestinians and Israelis with equal compassion, and holds their leaders to account with equal severity. An outstanding accomplishment
Superbly researched and highly readable. Even those who are well read on the subject will find new insights that had escaped them
When Israeli and Palestinian historians eventually sit down together to compose a single narrative to replace their bitterly conflicting histories, they will find that Ian Black's book has already done it for them. This brilliant, dispassionate work leaves us, curiously, optimistic - for he shows us that there is a middle ground
In its fine balance of historical sweep and telling detail, in its sharp analysis of social, economic, and political forces, and in its exceptional fairness to all sides, Ian Black's thorough and incisive history of the struggle between Arabs and Jews in Palestine and Israel is the book every student of this conflict should read first. A remarkable achievement