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The Great Lie

Charles Glass: Israel, 30 November 2000

The Iron Wall: Israel and the Arab World 
by Avi Shlaim.
Allen Lane, 670 pp., £25, April 2000, 9780713994100
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Righteous Victims: A History of the Zionist-Arab Conflict, 1881-1999 
by Benny Morris.
Murray, 752 pp., £25, January 2000, 0 7195 6222 8
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A Blood-Dimmed Tide: Dispatches from the Middle East 
by Amos Elon.
Allen Lane, 354 pp., £20, August 2000, 0 7139 9368 5
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Fabricating Israeli History: The ‘New Historians’ 
by Efraim Karsh.
Frank Cass, 236 pp., £39.50, May 2000, 0 7146 5011 0
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From Herzl to Rabin: The Changing Image of Zionism 
by Amnon Rubinstein.
Holmes & Meier, 283 pp., £25, October 2000, 0 8419 1408 7
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... Morris, Shlaim and the others began to use the archives more critically. Herzl’s biographer Amos Elon observes in A Blood-Dimmed Tide: ‘During the first two decades’ – 1948 to 1968 – ‘the writing of Israel’s history was handicapped by truisms derived from mainstream Zionist ideology.’ Golda Meir reiterated one of these in ...

The Chief Inhabitant

Diarmaid MacCulloch: Jerusalem, 14 July 2011

Jerusalem: The Biography 
by Simon Sebag Montefiore.
Weidenfeld, 638 pp., £25, January 2011, 978 0 297 85265 0
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... felt the same about other bird’s-eye views of the story, for instance the absorbing study by Amos Elon, Jerusalem: City of Mirrors (1990), a book which, perhaps understandably, does not have much presence in Montefiore’s account. You follow the hammer-blows of history on this small, overcrowded place; you get through the next siege or ...

Indecision as Strategy

Adam Shatz: After the Six Day War, 11 October 2012

The Bride and the Dowry: Israel, Jordan and the Palestinians in the Aftermath of the June 1967 War 
by Avi Raz.
Yale, 288 pp., £25, July 2012, 978 0 300 17194 5
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... Israel attempted to excise any mention of Palestine in school textbooks; as Amos Elon remarked at the time, Dayan seemed bent on ‘converting West Bank children to Zionism’. For Dayan, Eshkol and Allon, it was hard enough to accept that so many Arab children – the ‘demographic danger’ – had remained in the Occupied ...

Let’s all go to Mars

John Lanchester, 10 September 2015

The Wright Brothers 
by David McCullough.
Thorndike, 585 pp., £22, May 2015, 978 1 4104 7875 7
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Elon Musk: How the Billionaire CEO of SpaceX and Tesla Is Shaping Our Future 
by Ashlee Vance.
Virgin, 400 pp., £20, May 2015, 978 0 7535 5562 0
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... reflected years later. The first eyewitness report was written by a bee expert from Ohio called Amos Root, who broke the story in his own publication, Gleanings in Bee Culture. He sent a copy to the editor of Scientific American. The magazine’s response, an entire year later, was to explain why the Wrights couldn’t possibly have done what was claimed of ...

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