By Kai Bird
Weeks ahead of the Suez battle of 1956, four-year-old Kai chook, son of a garrulous, captivating American international carrier officer, moved to Jerusalem together with his relatives. They settled in a small condo, the place younger Kai may possibly pay attention church bells and the Muslim name to prayer and watch as donkeys and camels competed with automobiles for house at the slim streets. on a daily basis on his option to university, Kai used to be pushed via Mandelbaum Gate, the place armed squaddies guarded the road keeping apart Israeli-controlled West Jerusalem from Arab-controlled East. He had a front-seat view to each side of a divided city—and the roots of the widening clash among Arabs and Israelis.
Bird may spend a lot of his existence crossing such lines—as a baby in Jerusalem, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt, and later, as a tender guy in Lebanon. Crossing Mandelbaum Gate is his compelling own heritage of starting to be up an American in the middle of 3 significant wars and 3 turbulent a long time within the heart East. The Zelig-like chook brings readers into such conflicts because the Suez battle, the Six Day conflict of 1967, and the Black September hijackings in 1970 that brought on the Jordanian civil warfare. chicken vividly portrays such emblematic figures because the erudite George Antonius, writer of The Arab Awakening; Jordan’s King Hussein; the Palestinian hijacker Leila Khaled; Salem bin weighted down, Osama’s older brother and a relatives good friend; Saudi King Faisal; President Nasser of Egypt; and Hillel Kook, the forgotten rescuer of greater than 100,000 Jews in the course of international battle II.
Bird, his mom and dad sympathetic to Palestinian self-determination and his spouse the daughter of 2 Holocaust survivors, has written a masterful and hugely obtainable book—at as soon as a bright chronicle of a existence spent among cultures in addition to a consummate heritage of a quarter in turmoil. it really is an integral addition to the literature at the sleek heart East.
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Crossing Mandelbaum Gate: Coming of Age Between the Arabs and Israelis, 1956-1978 by Kai Bird