From Time Immemorial: The Origins of the Arab-Jewish Conflict over Palestine

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Editorial Reviews

Los Angeles Times
The reader comes away not only rethinking the Middle East refugee problem, but also the extent to which propaganda can be swallowed whole for lack of information.
National Review
Everything in this book reads like hard news... One woman walks in & scoops them all... The great service provided here by Mrs. Peters--if only attention is paid--is to lay the groundwork for peace by clearing away the farrago of lies...
New York Times Book Review
The massive research Ms. Peters did... would have daunted Hercules. In the course of it she turned up a great deal of interesting material from Ottoman records, the reports of Western consular officers & observant travelers & other sources.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780963624208
  • Publisher: J K A P Publications
  • Publication date: 2/28/2001
  • Pages: 601
  • Product dimensions: 5.28 (w) x 8.02 (h) x 1.15 (d)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 24 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 6, 2003

    The Hidden Truth

    Joan Peters gives an account that anti-israel and anti-semitic groups don't want to acknowldege or have out in the public. Her book puts to rest myths that have been circulated since the Jewish state was created. This is a book that should be read by high school and college students studying the Middel East, who wish to get a true understanding of the origins of the Arab -Israeli conflict. Peters provides hard evidence and in some cases actual documentation that are contained in the book. This book should be the standard for all books that are about the origins of the Arab-Israeli conflict.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 4, 2003

    A must read for the student of history

    The book is excellent. Peters triple sources most of her quotes and spent seven years research. As for Finkelstein's book - which refers to Peter's numerous times and are often mentioned in the same breath - I can only say his sources are shoddy at best.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 31, 2002

    Scholarly History of the Middle East

    Ms. Peters spent 5 years reviewing hundreds of references which she gives in meticulous detail. Some of the information was contained in archives that had not seen the light of day for 50 years or more. A truly scholarly work that puts the lie to all the propaganda. I wish I could buy a copy for every library and school in the USA.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 8, 2002

    Excellent & Honest Account

    Finally, the truth of the origins of the Middle Eastern conflict. For years we have had to bear the pro-Arab propaganda which has no basis in historical fact. Peters' book meticulously documents the truth about the original inhabitants of the land known as Palestine and what the true agenda of the surrounding Arab countries entails. No political correctness here, just historically documented fact.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 27, 2001

    Intellectually honest

    What most reviewers did not note was that the author set out to write a book about the plight of the 'Palestinian refugees,' but came to the conclusion that these refugees should have been resettled long ago. Besides virtually destroying Arab claims to the land betweeen the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea, it is a moral indictment against Arab countries which have kept millions of their bretheren in refugee camps for their own political agendas.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 5, 2001

    Excellent Study of Arab-Jewish Conflict

    It is quite possible that this book would cause discomfort to some who that conflict touches personally, and who would rather see nothing in print but their biased take on it. Too bad. This is definitely one of the best books on the subject.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 31, 2004

    AN EXCELLENT BOOK AND IT IS THE TRUTH

    Joan Peters, contrary to some of the previous 'reviewers' is an outstanding writer who actually did begin writing this book with a pro-Palestinian bias (she worked for the Carter Administration) until she was confronted with the truth, reams and reams of it. The only fault, if there is one, is that this book overflows with factual accuracies regarding Jewish settlement and Arab intrasigence and falsehoods. But for those who don't wish to be confused with the facts, or are not as open-minded as Ms. Peters is, don't bother. Only truth-seekers who want an honest account of the Israel-Arab conflict need apply - or need to buy this book.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 18, 2003

    The Truth Behind The Misconceptions & Propaganda.

    This book addresses the very roots and foundations of the Arab-Jewish conflict over Palestine. The book describes the source as an 'ardent advocate of civil rights', originally having been hired by the 'Arab world' to investigate the origins of this contentious issue. This with a view to providing a basis from which to pursue Palestinian/Arab claims to the land and enhance the claims pertaining to Palestinian refugees against Israel for their alleged 'despicable treatment of the Palestinian refugees'. Something which the book clearly shows could not be forthcoming due to the uncovering of information, (documented so clearly) which was completely contrary to the pursuit of these objectives. The contents of the book reveal an unrelenting scrutiny and study of this subject, citing clinical research of extensive original material. The reader is provided with an avalanche of relevant facts which the book describes as often having to be obtained by delving beneath an accumulation of propaganda & false history smothering the historical truth about the Middle East. The book demonstrates that the most substantial number of Arab refugees called 'Palestinians', in reality had 'foreign' roots and that there is no historical basis whatsoever for recognizing the existence of a 'Palestinian' people 'from time immemorial'. The book further revealing that there has never been an Arab country called 'Palestine' & that when the Arabs did control the area (from the seventh to eleventh centuries) it was first ruled from Damascus (the Umayyad empire) and later from Baghdad (the Abbasid empire). (Jerusalem never having been the capital of any other nation other than that of the Jewish people). We are shown that the area compromising modern day Israel and the so called 'West Bank' (Judea & Samaria) were largely unpopulated in the 19th century and proceeded to experience waves of immigration from Arab peoples looking for work. Whilst also examining the historical population status the book illustrates that the return of the Jews in the 1800's and early 1900's created jobs & prosperity which attracted Arabs from surrounding impoverished regions into the Holy Land for work. The book citing that such 'economic opportunity' was responsible for this Arab influx into what were previously desolate and largely uninhabited areas. Amongst a plethora of issues relating to this conflict, the book further examines the propaganda use of what are described as erroneous, inflated and manipulated population statistics pertaining to 'Palestinian' refugees, something which is further described as having a considerable role in shaping future perceptions and potential resolutions of this conflict. Also addressed is how the 'Palestinian' refugee status is defined as including anyone who lived in 'Palestine' for only two years prior to Israel's re-birth of Statehood in 1948. A definition further qualified by the possession of a UNRWA ration book/card. The latter being described as a commodity readily sold or bargained for, with many 'refugees' subsequently possessing dozens of these cards through the 'black market' or other dubious means. All which are illustrated as methods used to inflate alleged 'refugee' figures. A whole section is devoted to this matter which makes disturbing reading into the manipulation of this issue. The book stating that a number of some 430,000 Palestinians could only properly be considered refugees from 1948, not the inflated numbers surrounding some 750,000 which are used to constitute the numbers quoted in the present day in the context of those demanding the 'right of return'. The contents of this book describe the responsibility of the Arab world in refusing to assimilate the refugees and their preference to keeping the latter in squalid camps. On page 23, the book quotes from the statement of former director of the UNRWA in 1958, Ralph Galloway to the effect that the Arab states do not want to solve the 'Palestinian'

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 22, 2003

    Finally, an author with no agenda!

    It is remarkable that this scholar went into this project with a pro-Palestinian bias, but changed her mind after finding out the facts. She has nothing to gain, and thus is more credible than other authors. I recommend it wholeheartedly to anybody wanting to learn the truth about the U.N. in general and about the Middle East in particular.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 12, 2002

    Understated

    Peters spent 7 years searching Arab, United Nations, League of Nations, British, French, Israeli, Turkish and Ottoman and other records. This book, with more than 1,800 citations, should be required reading for every Middle East reporter. Peters complains that reporters give no history of Arab immigration INTO Palestine--which is confirmed among others by Arieh Avneri's pre-Peters book, Claim of Dispossession: Jewish Land Settlement and the Arabs 1878-1948. This began in 1878, when Jewish settlers joined tens of thousands of Jews whose families lived in Palestine for two millennia after it was sacked by the Romans in 70 AD. Palestine was later conquered by a long parade of others--including Muslims, Crusaders, Saracens, and finally the Ottoman Empire. But Peters shows at length that none ever drove the Jews out completely. Many non-Jewish 19th century travelers, including Mark Twain (Innocents Abroad) and French and British envoys, documented the desolate land of Palestine, whose small population included long-established Jewish communities in Jerusalem, Safed, Nablus, Jericho and other towns. In the 1870s, Jewish settlers from the Middle East and Europe began joining their co-religionists in Palestine. Peters shows that Arab immigration also increased as Jewish development raised economic conditions far above those of neighboring Arab countries. Jewish farmers, bought land at above-market prices from effendi landlords in Egypt, Lebanon, Syria and elsewhere, employing both Arabs and Jews. Arabs also came for jobs building the railroads, roads and Haifa port and in the government. Peters also objects to news reports' failure to divulge a long history of Arab aggression against Israel, and before that, Jews. Peters reminds us that in the 1920s, 1930s and 1940s, Arab pogroms killed thousands of Jews and that Arabs destroyed many Jewish West Bank and Gaza communities which had been established long before the 1948 war. This followed a pattern of abuse, Peters also shows, which dominated much of the Arab world for 1,000 years. There, Jews were a minority, often (though not always) oppressed--subject to periodic rapes, massacres, dispersion and other horrors. A former journalist and peace negotiator, Peters contends that reporters routinely revise history, swallowing whole voluminous Arab propaganda claiming that Palestinians Arabs were peace-loving victims of Jewish aggressors. Meanwhile, they fail to report institutional Arab hatred, proving the exact opposite. She has a point: Words like that of the late Hajj Amin el-Husseini--who in 1948 called for a war of annihilation against the Jews--emanate routinely from Palestinian Authority media, mosques and schools. An October 2000 Gaza sermon broadcast live on PA TV exhorted Muslims, "Wherever you are, kill those Jews and those Americans who are like them." A December 2000 Al Aksa sermon claimed Israel had offered only 10% of the West Bank at Camp David II--although Israel offered more than 95%--and urged Muslims to "liberate Palestine" from Jewish "infidels." A PA "expert" on Judaism in November 2000 declared the Holocaust a lie. A West Bank university exhibit recreated and celebrated the suicide bombing that killed 15 civilians in a Jerusalem Sbarro¿s pizzeria. The Fateh constitution repeatedly calls for Israel's destruction. But such facts never make the evening news. Reporters also forget, Peters notes, that the League of Nations' Palestine Mandate--adopted with the blessings of Sharif Hussein of Mecca and King Faisal of Iraq--included TransJordan. Britain unilaterally handed more than 75% of Palestine to Emir Abdullah, who subsequently--and illegally--expelled 100,000 Jewish residents from that part of what international law had designated a National Home for the Jews. Moreover, she notes, at the prompting of Arab Nazi collaborators, Britain all but closed Palestine's doors to Europe's Jews in 1939--effectively greasing the wheels of Hitler's war against t

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 28, 2001

    Required Reading for Understanding the Conflict

    Joan Peters, through extensive and time-consuming research, has brought the facts and documents about the origin of the Arab-Jewish conflict together into one book, From Time Immemorial. I can go to my books on the Middle East and find a paragraph here and a sentence there that will back up the information that she has documented. A small sampling - Bernard Lewis in The Jews of Islam will tell of the 'dhimmi', the role of Jews as second class citizens under Islamic governments. The Zealous Intruders by Naomi Shepherd tells me that nineteenth century travelers found most arable land in Palestine hopelessly neglected because of the tax situation and the marauding Bedouin tribes. The fact that a Palestinian Arab state has existed since 1922, when the British split off 75% of Palestine to create Transjordan is stated by Ariel Sharon in his autobiography, Warrior. The relationship of the Arab League and the Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin Husseni, with Nazi Germany is laid out in O Jerusalem! by Larry Collins and Dominique Lapierre. The brutal crackdown by the British on the immigration of Jews fleeing from Europe to Palestine is documented in many books on the Holocaust. Jonathan Tobin recently wrote, 'Media distortions about Israel are far more likely the result of ignorant or sloppy editors and lazy reporters who either don't know or don't understand the historical and political context of the stories they cover'. Any person who sincerely wants to understand the history of the Arab-Jewish conflict in Palestine will read and study this book.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 24, 2000

    The Essential Book on the Mideast Conflict

    If you want to truly understand the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians and Arabs, you MUST read this book. The author set out to document the oppression of the Palestinians by Israel, and found an avalanche of facts that buried her world view. This is one of the clearest, most objective and informative books on the conflict! For those who, like the author, are more interested in the truth than in maintaining one's preconceived views- this is THE book to read. Its cogent presentation of the facts (which are incredibly well documented)is remarkable and edifying! The author's analysis is clear and penetrating. The recounting of her gradual change in view as she slowly uncovered the truth is fascinating. If you read this book you will finally understand what is really happening in the Mideast- and why. If the media and policy makers read this book- with an open mind- it would go a long way towards resolving many of the tensions in the region!

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 7, 2003

    ¿The Protocols of the Elders of Arabia¿

    This book might be better called ¿The Protocols of the Elders of Arabia¿, for it makes no less outrageous and false claims about the Arabs and the Palestinians than does ¿The Protocols of the Elders of Zion¿ about Jews. If the word ¿Palestinian¿ in this book was replaced by the word ¿Jew¿, the book would not be sold in any civilized country and no publisher would be found for it. Sadly, it is politically correct to bash Palestinians and Arabs.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 1, 2003

    Poor credentials and a biased political agenda, a well known sham.

    This book is a well known joke amongst intellectuals, it's sources having been repeatedly discredited and proved to be false. Why does this book even continue to see daylight in the U.S.? When this book was released in England, it was immediately shot down and torn apart by all serious scholars on the subject, and the Israeli government all but recoiling in embarrassment from the scam themselves. Norman Finkelstien wrote a counter book taking on many of Peter's ridiculous conclusions and references. Definitely read it, cross reference, and see for yourself.

    1 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 6, 2003

    From Time Immemorial: The Origins of the Arab-Jewish Conflict over Palestine

    'From Time Immemorial' is a superb work of imaginative fiction, but a terrible history book that is highly illogical and lacks credibility in great measure. The central thesis of this book appears to be the denial of the existence of a Palestinian people. Yet if the book's theory is true and Palestinians never really existed, then why the need for such a voluminous book that goes to great lengths to DENY their existence? One cannot disprove something that isn't there, so what is the point of this undertaking? Compared to the other history books I have read, the information contained in here is highly selective and in many cases outright fabricated in order to fit the book¿s thesis. References are similarly selectively chosen and often misquoted. The book contains many serious flaws that undermine its credibility. Apart from that, 'From Time Immemorial' is biased and one-sided, and can be considered inciting since it promulgates the attitude that 'Jews are good, Arabs are evil'. That phrase, actually, would make a more appropriate title in line with the book¿s main message. Of the book's references that I checked, many are misquoted or selectively quoted to prove the author's point of view. For example, actual Ottoman census data up to 1917 and British census data thereafter clearly trace the presence of the Arab Palestinians for many centuries. Data from 1917, the year Britain occupied Palestine, shows that the Palestinian Jewish population was very small, less than 10% of the population of Palestine, and mostly concentrated around Jerusalem. These facts, which directly contradict the book's theory, are ignored in 'From Time Immemorial', which only includes census data from 1948, after decades of Jewish immigration raised the ratio to about 1/3. For all these reasons, I strongly recommend to anyone serious about finding out the truth to go and find another, more reputable text from which to learn the history. There are many books to recommend, and all surprisingly arrive at similar conclusions, regardless of whether the historian is Palestinian or Israeli (which goes to show there is one truth and it is not ¿From Time Immemorial¿`s version). A good start is 'Before Their Diaspora: A Photographic History of the Palestinians, 1876-1948', by Walid Khalidi, which presents photographic evidence that refutes all of Joan Peters' claims.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 23, 2003

    From Time Immemorial: The Origins of the Arab-Jewish Conflict over Palestine

    If there is one book that makes me sick reading it, it is ¿From Time Immemorial¿. This book launches an unabashed assault against the concept of Palestinian identity, against the historical claims of Palestinians to their land and their very existence, and against the truth itself. From all that I have read about the Middle East, there is very little in this book that is accurate or truthful. Even in Israel itself this book occupies a fringe position and is not respected in mainstream circles. For example, ¿From Time Immemorial¿ repeats the old Zionist claims that the that Palestinian refugees left their homes willingly based on instructions from Arab countries. However, most leading Israeli historians nowadays have proven that this is simply untrue, and their research brings them a lot closer to the Palestinian version of that story. For example, Benny Morris (see ¿Birth of the Palestinian Refugee Problem¿) has conclusively demonstrated using primary Israeli sources that forced ethnic cleansing was official policy for the nascent Israeli state and for its precursor, the ¿Yishuv¿. Furthermore in an essay published in ¿1948 and After: Israel and the Palestinians¿ Morris stresses that he studied the CIA archives containing full recordings of all Arab radio broadcasts during that period, and not a single one contained any instructions for the Palestinians to leave their homes. This is significant, since a major part of the argument in ¿From Time Immemorial¿ is based on this false claim. In addition, ¿From Time Immemorial¿ attempts to re-write history in a despicable way by denying the historical existence of Palestinians on the land, thus we are told that Arabs were attracted to Palestine in the 1930s after the Jewish immigrants were had brought modernization to the country. This is such a ridiculous argument, akin to claiming that the Native Americans never lived in America but emigrated from Japan after the white colonists landed on American shores. The references and notes in this book also need to be taken with care. Though I haven¿t checked every single reference, in many cases the reference is taken out of context or is simply inapplicable. For example, a favorite reference for ¿From Time Immemorial¿ is Mark Twain¿s ¿the Innocents Abroad¿, in which he makes some description of the Holy land. Of course, this material is interesting but it cannot be solely relied on in any serious scholarly work. Mark Twain was not a reporter or a scholar trying to record accurate facts. He was a novelist, a writer of fiction, whose primary aim in the ¿Innocents Abroad¿ was to make fun of American pilgrims to Europe and the Holy Land. He included only those observations that fit his story and changed things to make his point. There is no proof of his accuracy. Besides, Twain represents one data point, so if he says ¿such and such an area was dry and barren¿, that needs to be qualified with the year and season of his visit, and needs to be understood as an observation relative to his own lush homeland around the Mississippi. All these examples go to show that ¿From Time Immemorial¿ lacks credibility, and lacks it in great measure. So, while I enjoy reading fiction at times, I dislike reading fiction that is dressed up as ¿facts¿. This is especially true when the topic has such enormous consequences. If you want to understand the true Middle East, and would like to understand how to make peace work between the people there, then you need to get a serious book that is based on well-researched and well-supported facts.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 9, 2002

    Blatant fraudulant use of sources

    Peters falsifies sources in order to trick the reader into coming to the same conclusions that she proposes in her book. This book in an attempt to justify the taking of Palestinian land for the purpose of a Jewish homeland. For proof of this falsification, see Norman Finkelstein's book Image and Reality of teh Isreal-Palestine Conflict, or better yet, read the footnotes for yourself. Peters has included the true, undoctored text from the sources in her footnotes. A simply cross-referencing would prove her book to be a fraud and a horrendous attempt to further disenfranchize the Palestinians

    1 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 12, 2002

    Better Left in Memory

    Joan Peter's is a poorly researched book whose scholarship leaves much to be desired. Her figures are often skewed as indicated by further research into her footnotes. The informed reader would do better exploring Norman Finkelstein's 'Image and Reality in Israel-Palestine' for a serious scholarly endeavor.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 26, 2001

    A hoax

    Peters book claims that the 'Palestinians' are an historical fabrication, that they never truly existed as a people and that a great many, if not most, of those who would subsequently claim to have been made refugees following the foundation of the State of Israel had in fact only moved into the region two years or so before Israel came into existence, drawn by the better economic circumstances created by Zionist immigrants. Therefore, it follows that these Arabs cannot claim to have been the natural inhabitants of Palestine since 'time immemorial'. Although she admits that none of the official documentation of the time supports her thesis she counters that these documents were deliberately misleading, mainly thanks to the British authorities in Mandate Palestine. Now, if true, this would be a most amazing finding with very deep implications. First, it would mean that half a century's struggle between 'Palestinian' and Jewish claims to the land of Palestine has been based on a falsehood. Second it would mean that hundreds of thousands - if not millions - of people have been involved in an elaborate conspiracy, aided by - amongst others - the British government. A conspiracy involving Arabs living in Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt and indeed across the world, all of whom simultaneously make almost identical claims as to where they were born and brought up and about their own family history. It would also, incidentally, involve the manufacture of property deeds, of school records, of photographs and so forth. Perhaps at this point - without even looking at the book - the impartial observer begins smell a rat. Plots involving millions of co-conspirators may be an entertaining story line in a child's comic book but do not normally stand up to much critical examination. And so it proves in this case. Peters has resorted to obscure and totally discredited sources. She has selected 'facts' and 'quotations' from other texts in such a way as to often - and clearly quite deliberately - convey a meaning which is totally different from, and even the opposite of that of the original text. Joan Peters has never once attempted to confront these most serious charges. Her silence speaks volumes. On publication in the UK this book was reviewed by no less an authority than the Oxford University academic, Albert Hourani, who was then the world's leading authority on modern Middle Eastern history (he died in 1993). He concluded that her argument had no basis in fact, that facts were distorted and that the book was both 'ludicrous' and 'worthless' The whole thing is almost amusing. Almost. Except that when individuals begin fabricating the 'history' of an entire people, deny their past and seek to strip them of their very existence as a nation, then the alarm bells must begin to ring. How many steps is it from believing this sort of nonsense to denying a people their political rights, watching without protest, perhaps even seeking to justify their treatment, as they are forcibly ejected from one place to another, ethnically cleansed. If this all sounds rather far fetched, remember what has happened within the last decade in the Balkans; consider what is happening in Israel/Palestine. How many steps from re-writing a people's history to writing them out of history altogether? How many steps to the gates of Belsen?

    1 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 11, 2000

    An outstanding - 5* - work of fiction!

    If you are looking for a fantastic hoax this is the book to buy, if however you are looking for a decent scholarly work, then this is NOT the book. As has been shown this book is full of factual errors, gross misrepresentations, and blatant lying. If you want to waste your time with some pseudo-scholarly rubbish then go ahead and waste your money...

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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