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Download Crossing Mandelbaum Gate: Coming of Age Between the Arabs and Israelis, 1956–1978 Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample Crossing Mandelbaum Gate: Coming of Age Between the Arabs and Israelis, 1956–1978 Audiobook, by Kai Bird Click for printable size audiobook cover
4.14 out of 54.14 out of 54.14 out of 54.14 out of 54.14 out of 5 4.14 (14 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Kai Bird Narrator: Joe Caron Publisher: Highbridge Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: May 2010 ISBN: 9781615730988
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Through a blend of memoir and history, Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Kai Bird recounts the Western experience in the Middle East and just why it has been so turbulent. Through Bird ’s Zelig-like presence, the reader experiences the Suez War of 1956, the June 1967 War and the Black September hijackings of 1970 that led to the Jordanian Civil War. Bird ’s memoir also shows how all of these momentous events led to the rise and tragic downfall of a secular Arab nationalist ethos—only to be replaced by the rise of a fundamentalist, politically reactionary Islamist movement.

In narrative history Bird tells the stories of such illuminating figures as life-long Jerusalem resident George Antonius, author of The Arab Awakening, and his charismatic wife; Jordan ’s King Hussein and his CIA connections; the businessman Salem bin Laden, Osama ’s older brother and a family friend; Saudi kings Faisal and Khalid; President Nasser of Egypt; and Leila Khaled, the striking young Palestinian radical who hijacked one of the Black September planes.

Bird ’s personal insights and unique connections create a portal into the sensibilities and psyche of these lands that is sure to fascinate both those fluent in the history of the Middle East and the many who simply want to understand this region The West seems to be both fighting for and against.

Download and start listening now!

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Quotes & Awards

  • “A compelling hybrid of memoir and history…Bird’s brushes with history—his first girlfriend was held hostage on an airplane hijacked to win Khaled’s release, for instance—brings home the deeply messy humanity of the stories he binds together in this kaleidoscopic and captivating book.”

    Publishers Weekly (starred review)

  • “A wise, intimate memoir about growing up the son of an American foreign-service officer in the Middle East…If one person’s story can shed light on a larger history, Bird’s memoir carries many excellent lessons.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • “A meandering family scrapbook cobbled together with an earnest, condensed history of the region during those years. It illuminates a common experience among expatriates who crisscross the Middle East without being emotionally bonded to any side…Bird sprinkles his book with engaging miniature portraits of overlooked characters and events.”

    New York Times

  • A 2010 National Book Critics Circle Award Finalist

Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Lauren | 1/10/2014

    " This book was amazingly well written, thorough, factual and at the same time a wonderfully personal journey. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Lisa Bell | 12/25/2013

    " Very interesting but I had to take notes to keep up with who was who. I often referred to Google to search maps, names and wars. I will read it again after I have had time to process the history lesson. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Laura | 12/15/2013

    " Actually, it was overdue and I had to return it without finishing. I'll get it back! So far, quite a good history of the entire region, but a slow read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Cameron | 1/17/2013

    " Great history on Israel and the Middle East. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Beverly | 12/13/2012

    " This book, too, I re-read for book club and loved it the second time through too. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jennifer | 2/13/2012

    " Excellent book by Pulitzer prize winning author Kai Bird. Crossing Mandelbaum Gate covers the author's personal and family history in the middle east (Israel, Palestine, Egypt, and Saudi). Bird is an excellent story teller - this book is a great read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jill Delaney | 12/4/2011

    " I enjoyed this book very much because it gave a very balanced view of the Israel/ Palestine issue. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Robin Selvig | 11/2/2011

    " I'm only a couple of chapter into this book, but it's pretty interesting and provides a lot of history in a memoir format. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Vikas Datta | 3/27/2011

    " A wonderful account of the Middle East at a critical time with incisive portraits of key figures such as Nasser and King Faisal, while at the same time, is a eminently readable coming of age account and also shows the way forward. Marvellous "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Rosemary | 1/31/2011

    " Interesting read and interesting mix of memoir and history. It was at times hard to follow as it's not an area of the world I know enough about. So it was not a fast read. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Deb | 1/18/2011

    " One of the best books you will ever read about the Middle East. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jill | 10/27/2010

    " I enjoyed this book very much because it gave a very balanced view of the Israel/ Palestine issue. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Laura | 9/12/2010

    " Actually, it was overdue and I had to return it without finishing. I'll get it back! So far, quite a good history of the entire region, but a slow read. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Lauren | 8/9/2010

    " This book was amazingly well written, thorough, factual and at the same time a wonderfully personal journey. "

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About the Author
Author Kai Bird

Kai Bird is the coauthor, with Martin J. Sherwin, of the Pulitzer Prize–winning biography American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer, which also won the National Book Critics Circle Award for Biography. His other books include The Chairman: John J. McCloy and the Making of the American Establishment and The Color of Truth: McGeorge Bundy and William Bundy, Brothers in Arms. Bird’s many honors include fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the MacArthur Foundation, the German Marshall Fund, and the Rockefeller Foundation. A contributing editor for the Nation, he lives in Kathmandu, Nepal, with his wife and son.