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Download My Promised Land: The Triumph and Tragedy of Israel Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample My Promised Land: The Triumph and Tragedy of Israel, by Ari Shavit Click for printable size audiobook cover
0 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 5 0.00 (0 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Ari Shavit Narrator: J. Paul Boehmer, Paul Boehme Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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An authoritative and deeply personal narrative history of the State of Israel, by one of the most influential journalists writing about the Middle East today

Not since Thomas L. Friedman’s groundbreaking From Beirut to Jerusalem has a book captured the essence and the beating heart of the Middle East as keenly and dynamically as My Promised Land. Facing unprecedented internal and external pressures, Israel today is at a moment of existential crisis. Ari Shavit draws on interviews, historical documents, private diaries, and letters, as well as his own family’s story, illuminating the pivotal moments of the Zionist century to tell a riveting narrative that is larger than the sum of its parts: both personal and national, both deeply human and of profound historical dimension.

We meet Shavit’s great-grandfather, a British Zionist who in 1897 visited the Holy Land on a Thomas Cook tour and understood that it was the way of the future for his people; the idealist young farmer who bought land from his Arab neighbor in the 1920s to grow the Jaffa oranges that would create Palestine’s booming economy; the visionary youth group leader who, in the 1940s, transformed Masada from the neglected ruins of an extremist sect into a powerful symbol for Zionism; the Palestinian who as a young man in 1948 was driven with his family from his home during the expulsion from Lydda; the immigrant orphans of Europe’s Holocaust, who took on menial work and focused on raising their children to become the leaders of the new state; the pragmatic engineer who was instrumental in developing Israel’s nuclear program in the 1960s, in the only interview he ever gave; the zealous religious Zionists who started the settler movement in the 1970s; the dot-com entrepreneurs and young men and women behind Tel-Aviv’s booming club scene; and today’s architects of Israel’s foreign policy with Iran, whose nuclear threat looms ominously over the tiny country.

As it examines the complexities and contradictions of the Israeli condition, My Promised Land asks difficult but important questions: Why did Israel come to be? How did it come to be? Can Israel survive? Culminating with an analysis of the issues and threats that Israel is currently facing, My Promised Land uses the defining events of the past to shed new light on the present. The result is a landmark portrait of a small, vibrant country living on the edge, whose identity and presence play a crucial role in today’s global political landscape.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “This book is vital reading for Americans who care about the future, not only of the United States but of the world.”

    Jon Meacham, New York Times bestselling author of Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power

  • “One of the most nuanced and challenging books written on Israel in years…[The] book’s real power: On an issue so prone to polemic, Mr. Shavit offers candor.”

    Wall Street Journal

  • “This is the epic history that Israel deserves—beautifully written, dramatically rendered, full of moral complexity. Ari Shavit has made a storied career of explaining Israel to Israelis; now he shares his mind-blowing, trustworthy insights with the rest of us. It is the best book on the subject to arrive in many years.”

    New Republic

  • “A beautiful, mesmerizing, morally serious, and vexing book…My Promised Land is a remarkable achievement.”


  • “Spellbinding…Shavit’s prophetic voice carries lessons that all sides need to hear.”


  • “[An] important and powerful book…[Shavit] has an undoctrinaire mind. He comes not to praise or to blame, though along the way he does both, with erudition and with eloquence; he comes instead to observe and to reflect. This is the least tendentious book about Israel I have ever read. It is a Zionist book unblinkered by Zionism. It is about the entirety of the Israeli experience. Shavit is immersed in all of the history of his country. While some of it offends him, none of it is alien to him….The author of My Promised Land is a dreamer with an addiction to reality. He holds out for affirmation without illusion. Shavit’s book is an extended test of his own capacity to maintain his principles in full view of the brutality that surrounds them.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • “[A] searingly honest, descriptively lush, painful, and riveting story of the creation of Zionism in Israel and [Shavit’s] own personal voyage.”

    Washington Post

  • “This book will sweep you up in its narrative force and not let go of you until it is done. [Shavit’s] accomplishment is so unlikely, so total…that it makes you believe anything is possible, even, God help us, peace in the Middle East.”

    Financial Times (UK)

  • “Shavit’s beautifully written first-person history My Promised Land [gives] a wider and deeper sense of the nation and the region. This is no narrow pedantic history: As Shavit describes it himself, it talks of ‘pioneers, orange groves, Masada, war, housing estates’ and, of course, inevitably, bombs, including nuclear weapons. Ultimately, it is a story of people, both Jews and Palestinians, not government bureaucracies. It succeeds by burrowing beneath the ideologies that impede real dialogue.”

    Barnes&Noble.com, editorial review

  • “Shavit is a master storyteller. [His] retelling of history jars us out of our familiar retrospections, reminds us (and we do need reminders) that there are historical reasons why Israel is a country on the edge…Required reading for both the left and the right.”

    Jewish Week

  • “His honest and sometimes brutally frank portrait of his homeland’s past and its present dilemmas is especially poignant. Shavit’s narrative is strongest when he utilizes the stories of individual Israelis to paint a rich tableau based on personal experiences. What emerges isn’t necessarily optimistic…This is a masterful portrait of contemporary Israel.”


  • “Israeli journalist Shavit presents a history of and meditation on Zionism’s successes and failures since his great-grandfather’s arrival at Jaffa in 1897…This work attempts a personal, political, intellectual, and cultural history of Israel through dozens of interviews with those who participated in the Zionist enterprise, asking and answering the important questions…Long a critic of the ‘Occupation,’ Shavit argues that Israel’s future depends not only on giving up that land but on coming to terms with those displaced by Zionism. Verdict: Shavit’s case for a more inclusive twenty-first-century Israel will interest all those following Israel’s struggles.”

    Library Journal

  • “Israel has betrayed its best, truest self, argues Haaretz journalist and peace activist Shavit in this wrenching dissection of the nation’s past and present…Various internal revolts have riven Israeli society, Shavit writes, rendering it as chaotic as ‘an extravagant bazaar.’ His effective mix of autobiographical reflections and interviews with key participants peters out toward the end into journalistic snippets, but that hardly muffles the overall impact of his anguished cri de coeur. Thoughtful, sobering reflections on a seemingly intractable conflict.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • “Shavit’s provocative book avoids the clichés typical of some works about the Middle East, and the audio version benefits from Paul Boehmer’s superb presentation. His personal and compelling portrait of contemporary Israel provides insights that should make even the most polarized listeners think more deeply about the nation, Zionism, and the Palestinian conflict. Boehmer adopts an Israeli accent that lends credibility to the material. The audio production also succeeds because Boehmer authentically presents the breadth of the material, which includes interviews, historic documents, and personal accounts of life in the Promised Land. Winner of an AudioFile Earphones Award.”


  • A New York Times Bestseller
  • A Los Angeles Times Bestseller
  • A Wall Street Journal Bestseller
  • One of the New York Times Book Review 100 Notable Books of 2013
  • A USA Today Bestseller
  • A Economist Best Book of 2013 in Politics and Current Affairs
  • Winner of an AudioFile Earphones Award
  • A 2014 Indies Choice Award Honoree for Adult Nonfiction
  • Winner of the National Jewish Book Award
  • An AudioFile Best Audiobook of the Year for 2014
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