A History of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict (Anglais) Broché – 25 février 2009
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Tessler, an American professor, writes in a straight-forward style that is easily understandable. Although the sheer volume of history covered in the book was considerable, I never found myself bored by the writing. I wish my high school history books were written so well.
Like a good academian (in the very best sense of the term), he presents the facts clearly. For each historical event, he cites several credible sources stating the event, and for retrospective analysis of its importance, he cites opinions from multiple sides. The build-up to the 1967 war, for example, consumes 20 pages and 50 citations. His use of references is so thorough that of the book's 900+ pages, 93 pages are endnotes.
I only have a few minor negative remarks about this book:
1. Obviously, since the book was published in 1994, it is not up to date and does not cover the break-down of the negotiations from the Oslo accords. However, historical facts prior to 1993 have not changed (at least not in the Orwellian sense, thank goodness), and this book does an outstanding job for its time frame as I have said.
2. There are no photos at all, save for the picture on the cover.
3. For a topic so centered on geography, the quality of the maps is surprisingly poor. There are 20 maps showing the important boundaries and such, but these look like they were drawn by a high school art student. A single high-detail, atlas-quality map from 1994 would have been appropriate as well. Instead, I found some colour maps on the web that I printed out and keep folded in the book to use as a quick reference.
A much more recent book that I also highly recommend that covers these three points (recentness, photos, and maps) is _The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: Crisis in the Middle East_ by Reuters journalists. That book is filled with beautiful photography, nice maps, and is up-to-date to March 2002. It makes a great companion to this book.
Overall, this book by Tessler is outstanding. Although its size may be a bit daunting, you will thank yourself for reading this book.