Yellow Wind: With a New Afterword by the Author


The Israeli novelist David Grossman’s impassioned account of what he observed on the West Bank in early 1987—not only the misery of the Palestinian refugees and their deep-seated hatred of the Israelis but also the cost of occupation for both occupier and occupied—is an intimate and urgent moral report on one of the great tragedies of our time. The Yellow Wind is essential reading for anyone who seeks a deeper understanding of Israel today.

Commissioned by a local ...

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The Israeli novelist David Grossman’s impassioned account of what he observed on the West Bank in early 1987—not only the misery of the Palestinian refugees and their deep-seated hatred of the Israelis but also the cost of occupation for both occupier and occupied—is an intimate and urgent moral report on one of the great tragedies of our time. The Yellow Wind is essential reading for anyone who seeks a deeper understanding of Israel today.

Commissioned by a local news magazine, David Grossman wrote an issue-long article about the West Bank of the Jordan River in commemoration of the anniversary of the Six-Day War. Now in book form, it has become one of the bestselling books in Israel's history.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“A brilliant, searing examination of Israel’s occupation of the West Bank...beautiful, passionate and profoundly disturbing.” —Chicago Tribune

“The most honest, soul-searching book yet written by an Israeli—or, for that matter, by a Palestinian—on an agony that neither of them alone can bring to an end.” —Los Angeles Times

“Even the most cautious readers—and even the most hostile—are bound to learn something about the conflict that they never knew before, something that illuminates the news and the reality that produces it, something that explains what is and may yet be, something deep and achingly, damningly, true.” —The New York Times Book Review

“Invaluable. It should be available alongside the road maps at Ben Gurion Airport, for it is a map of the psychological distances that now separate not only occupier and occupied, but willing from unwilling conquerors.” —The Wall Street Journal

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
This stellar, seamlessly translated report records the devastation that two decades of Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip has wreaked on Palestinians and Israelis alike. On assignment for an Israeli newsweekly, the 34-year-old Israeli novelist spent seven weeks in the area, and his is one of the most stirring, refreshing voices of moral conscience to emerge from the depths of this political imbroglio. Supporters of right-of-center Israeli policy will surely take umbrage with these timely interviews, but others will marvel at Grossman's deftly intimate penetration of multilayered issues and personalities. Thus, to his own expressed bafflement, the author discovers that an elderly and wise, tale-spinning Palestinian refugee reminds him of his grandmother and her stories about Poland, from which she was expelled. A description of refugees returning to their Israeli village evokes imagery from the biblical book of Ezekiel; the Arabic apocalyptic tale of the hot and terrible yellow wind, which seeks out those who have performed cruel, unjust deeds, and its accompanying yellow dust, becomes a symbol of the suffocating cloud of occupation that hangs above Israel. Laid bare and damned is the intransigence of both Palestinians who refuse to improve their lot or negotiate for peace and lawbreaking Jewish settlers of Gush Emunim. Evenhandedly, Grossman depicts the criminal treatment by Israelis of Palestinian hunger-strikers, the murder of innocent Jews by Arab terrorists, Israeli and Arab profiteers, an Israeli army, at once brutal and considerate, that puts an Arab town under curfew but stations soldiers to prevent plundering, and the prejudices that exist between Israeli and West Bank Arabs. Grossman's rich and eloquent call to action is aimed at his fellow Israelis who slumber atop a time bomb, unwilling to acknowledge that their moral and political destinies are intertwined with those of the Palestinians. ``The situation is a mint casting human coins with opposite legends imprinted on their two sides. But the contradicting legends do not change the fact that between themfreedom fighter or terrorist; ours or theirscan be found the dark, hidden raw material: a murderer.'' First serial to the New Yorker; BOMC, QPBC and Reader's Subscription Book Club alternates. (March)
Library Journal
Israeli novelist Grossman offers his observations of fellow Israelis and Palestinians and the ongoing conflict that has spelled disaster for both. This reprint of the 1988 original sports a new afterword updating the story. Still a solid title on the subject. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Translated from the Hebrew. A prominent Isaraeli writer's report on the Israeli-Arab situation. Portions of the book have recently appeared in The New Yorker. No bibliography or index. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312420987
  • Publisher: Picador
  • Publication date: 9/28/2002
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Pages: 240
  • Sales rank: 391,967
  • Product dimensions: 5.51 (w) x 8.17 (h) x 0.66 (d)

Meet the Author

David Grossman is the author of two books of journalism, several children's books, a play, and six novels, including Be My Knife. He lives in Jerusalem.

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Table of Contents

1 A Man Is Like a Stalk of Wheat 5
2 I Want to Shoot Jews 17
3 What the Arabs Dream 29
4 Don't Pity Them Too Much 34
5 Life Sciences 53
6 The Yellow Wind 65
7 Catch-44 77
8 Jews Don't Have Tails 90
9 The Essence of Being a Sabra 98
10 The Other Barta'a 114
11 Swiss Mountain View - A Story 127
12 Sumud 145
13 A Doll at the Allenby Bridge 161
14 The Wastonaires 170
15 Like a Boy with a Teddy Bear 175
16 The Terrorist's Father 188
17 Last Night There Was an Inferno Here 197
18 The First Twenty Years 211
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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 28, 2002

    Food for open minds

    Yellow Wind was poignant and provocative in 1988; it looks downright prophetic now. This is not a work of balanced reporting. Mr. Grossman was writing for Israelis, and he didn't waste time telling them what they already knew about Arab aggression and terrorism. His goal was to make readers confront hard questions about the occupation: 'Why are we there?' 'Who is pushing us farther into this mess?' 'What are we doing to the Palestinians?' 'What are we doing to ourselves?' 'How will this end?' The explicit purpose of Yellow Wind was to provoke critical thought and argument among open minds. In this purpose it succeeds as well today as when it was first published. The problem is that there may be too few open minds left for the argument to matter. Yellow Wind should not be anybody's first book on the occupation, because it is unabashedly one-sided. I would, however, include it on the 'short list' of Middle East reading, and urge everyone to invest the few hours required to read it.

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