Gr 6 Up-An outstanding biography of a controversial figure. Ferber offers readers a fair, straightforward account of Arafat's life, neither condoning his past violence nor praising his recent peace efforts. Readers are encouraged to draw personal conclusions about this man who rarely explains his life choices, and are challenged to pause and reflect on the issues involved. All questions are not answered; instead, facts are presented. Average-quality black-and-white photographs are scattered throughout.-Sandra Olmstead, Newberg Public Library, OR
Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat has been at or near the center of the Middle East maelstrom for nearly two generations. Born to a well-to-do Palestinian merchant family in 1929, he was raised amid the passionate tensions that had engulfed the Holy Land for years and witnessed the doings of the militant Muslim Brotherhood as a child through his family's involvement. Ferber's biography ably traces Arafat's political career and gives solid background on the tumultuous history of the Arab-Israeli scenario. Balanced in tone, the narrative depicts Arafat when he was at his best and most popular among displaced Palestinians, and also, for example, as "one of the most reviled figures in the occupied territories" after the 1994 Hebron massacre that followed on the heels of the Israeli peace agreement he had supported. Stefoff's 1988 biography of Arafat has a bit more flavor, but Ferber's book is a useful update for biography collections. Bibliography; chapter notes; chronology. To be illustrated with black-and-white photos.