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Neil MacFarquhar…a meandering family scrapbook cobbled together with an earnest, condensed history of the region during those years. It illuminates a common experience among expatriates who crisscross the Middle East without being emotionally bonded to any side. They grow frustrated that the Arabs and Israelis—whom they come to know as two vital, charming, urbane, hospitable peoples—cannot see past the sense of their own victimhood to accept the other as a neighbor…Bird sprinkles his book with engaging miniature portraits of overlooked characters and events.
—The New York Times