A Blood-Dimmed Tide: Dispatches from the Middle East / Edition 1

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A powerful and evocative collection of essays, A Blood Dimmed Tide gathers nearly thirty years of Amos Elon's work on the Middle East. Skillfully moving from the Intifada to the Gulf War and its aftermath to the Peace Now! movement, these essays provide a nuanced account of relations between Jews and Arabs and among the Israelis themselves. Elon has also written a timely introduction that provides an overview of his work and brings it up to the election of Benjamin Netanyahu as prime minister of Israel.

This internationally-known journalist presents sharply observed portraits of the region's key figures: Shimon Peres, Yitzak Rabin, and King Hussein; he interviews Yasir Arafat; and he considers Moshe Dayan's life and legacy. Elon also ranges far to sketch the political climate of the region and its players, from Israeli settlers in Hebron and their uneasy coexistence with Arab neighbors to the foreign policy of Egypt.

Sensitive and powerful, A Blood-Dimmed Tide provides a timely analysis of the conflicts between Jews and Arabs. From the Palestinians' refusal to accept Israel's 1978 offer of "full autonomy" to the Israeli government's insistence that settling the occupied territories would bring security, Elon traces what he considers to be the deadly miscalculations of both groups. As he examines the events and misunderstandings that have made it so difficult for Palestinians and Israelis to establish peace, Elon concludes taht what will finally bring the two sides together will not be moral imperative or personal courage but exhaustion. A Blood-Dimmed Tide is a significant contribution to our understanding of this troubled land.

Columbia University Press

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Editorial Reviews

The Washington Post
A series of poignant snapshots-grim reminders of Israel's underside, eloquent testimonials to the dark rhythms of life in the Middle East.
Elon's meaty essays deserve to stand as history.
Bulletin of the Arnold & Leona Finkler Institute
Touching upon the sacred cows of Israeli society, Elon has provided the reader with a comprehensive and coherent literary portrayal of the changing attitudes towards the Holocaust during the latter half of the twentieth century.
The Japan Times
First published three years ago, the collection has been fully revised in the light of recent developments and a new introduction was written after Prime Minister Ehud Barak's landslide election victory last year. It is worth reading for this introduction alone, a remarkable crystallization of three decades of Israeli politics in 20 pages.
Kirkus Reviews
Twenty-one sparkling essays (originally published in the New York Review of Books and elsewhere) on Israel and the Middle East, covering the period from the Six-Day War up to Benjamin Netanyahu's recent election as Israel's prime minister, by the insightful veteran Israeli journalist, historian, and biographer.

Elon (Founder: A Portrait of the First Rothschild and His Times, 1996, etc.) focuses largely on political and diplomatic events. In two essays written in the immediate aftermath of the Six-Day War (including the quadrupling of Israel's territory), he presciently expresses concern that his country's extraordinary, lightning-quick victory has been "marked by more than a trace of arrogance" and has seemingly resulted in "a somewhat new, animistic cult of holy places." Elon also has a knack for interviewing the right people—not only policymakers, but dissidents and intellectuals who understand a political culture's underlying dynamics. A refreshing change of pace occurs in his more leisurely profiles, particularly one on Yair Hirschfield and Ron Pundik, two academics turned "freelance" diplomats who played a key role in initiating and negotiating the 1993 Oslo agreement between Israel and the PLO. His celebrations of the political, cultural, and architectural ambience of Amman, Cairo, and Alexandria, are vivid and persuasive. Referring to the latter, a Mediterranean port that once had significant Greek, Jewish, and other foreign communities during the first centuries a.d., Elon calls it "the New York of the ancient world, the first world city." These pieces make one regret that Elon doesn't turn more often to consider modern Israeli culture and society. When he does, he is powerful and direct, as in a piece describing (and decrying) "the latent hysteria" in Israeli life induced by the memory and misuse of the Holocaust.

One could not ask for a more informed and discerning guide than Elon to both what is tiresomely old and startlingly new between Israeli Jews and their Arab antagonists and partners.

Library Journal

A genuine and intelligent critical inquiry into the nature of contemporary Israeli politics and its Zionist ideology and the development of Palestinian statehood by one of Israel's most prominent literati. In an often trenchant tone, Elon explores the conditions that brought about the assassination of Prime Minister Rabin and the ascendance of the political right in Israel. The author reflects on the Palestinians' plight and their encouragement of Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein during the Persian Gulf crisis.

Publishers Weekly

Well-written and incisive.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780231107433
  • Publisher: Columbia University Press
  • Publication date: 9/3/1998
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 264
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

For thirty years, Amos Elon has reported on politics in the Middle East. He has published numerous articles and books and writes frequently for the New Yorker, the New York Times Magazine, and the New York Review of Books.

Columbia University Press

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Table of Contents

WarConquerorsDayanEnd of an AffairFar City in the FogFlight into EgyptA Blood-Dimmed TideJerusalem BluesIntifada: The Palestinian Uprising, IIntifada: The Palestinian Uprising, IIPeace NowLetter from AlexandriaA Crisis in the GulfAnother WarA Visit with ArafatPeacemakersLook Over JordanThe Politics of MemoryEgypt's IcebergPolitics and ArchaeologyThe Demons of the Jews

Columbia University Press

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