Enlightenment, September 3, 2005
Reviewer: Warren I. Nissen (Concord, NH)
Pay attention to what you can learn from reading this novel.
The author had done his home work and teaches what one can expect from the Middle East culture in an entertaining way.
It is depressing.
Sensitive, perceptive, laborious...currently pertinent., March 18, 2006
Reviewer: Ernest C. Brockschmidt
I just read The Haj last week, led by interest developed over 4 years of studying the Koran and Islam, and following the printed and broadcast news re Palestine vs Israel. Also, just finished reading all 89 reviews currently listed by Amazon, finding myself in agreement with most of the positive commentary [interestingly, most of which is contemporary and reflective of the current situation]. I find disturbing and reprehensible, criticisms which state that The The Haj is historically inaccurate without substantiating that claim. I would urge any of those critics to come forward and document those supposed inaccuracies. The book impressed me deeply and pointed out psychological characteristics that are clearly demonstrated every day in current events and commentary by hatred-consumed anti-Semites...and,more disturbingly, Anti-"Westerners" in general.The book left me anxious to study more deeply the recent and past history of the Middle-East. I suspect that I will find extensive confirmation of Leon Uris' research. I will say this: I am highly critical of Islamic claims on sacred places dating back only to the 7th or 6th century AD, and usurping the claims of Jews and Christians centuries, and millennia, earlier!
I just read the book and could not put it down, for sure. Uris' depicts the British leaving behind a mess that Arab politicians then attempted to dissect to their own advantage and Palestinians end up suffering, as they still do.
He explores some issues which are important - treatment of women, poor access to education, the harshness of the environment there, Israelis reduced to the level of massacaring innocents (which he justifies as an accident), attempts to keep track of all the performers, including British and UN selective absenteeism while Middle Easterners battle it out, politicians gambling with a helpless populace, death squads that are kept poorly trained to be sacrificed as matrys which keep the reason to hate alive.
He is prophetic about Arab fundamentalism exploding into the world, and that Jews would commit crimes as heinous as they received as the war would progress - Beirut would be witness to this. No one remains innocent in war.
However, I was dismayed by Uris' total dimissal of Arab culture. Read other books to find a balance - mind you, this book does not provide the gospel truth, so take the advise of Uris' characters who read a lot to understand the world.
Curious I searched the web and discovered Uris was an American Jew who served in WW II. It all made sense then. He is a victim of the sort of antagonism his characters grapple with. I know a reviewer said to remember that this is fiction, but the rabid biasness was shocking, hence the 3 stars - especially since he tried to pass it off as the view from the Palestinian side. He may have edged into propaganda and I was impatient with his obvious attempt, in an airport fiction novel, to buy over the reader to his cause. It'll be hard to read Uris with mistrust again, although he is a wonderful storyteller.
Leon Uris retums to the land of his acclaimed best-seller Exodus for an epic story of hate and love, vengeance and forgiveness and forgiveness. The Middle East is the powerful setting for this sweeping tale of a land where revenge is sacred and hatred noble. Where an Arab ruler tries to save his people from destruction but cannot save them from themselves. When violence spreads like a plague across the lands of Palestine--this is the time of The Haj
Haj Ibrahim, Arab ruler of the ancient village of Tabah. He was cheated by his leaders, betrayed by his family, driven into exile by his brethren. In a world where revenge is sacred and hatred noble, he dared to speak the truth they would not hear, to see the enemy they could not face. He tried to save his people from destruction, but he could not save them from themselves. And in the end, among all his enemies, he could find only one friend- a Jew.
This book explains why the disputes in the Middle East will never be resolved.
If you want insight into the situation in the Middle East today, this novel is a must-read. The story is gripping, the historical setting is compelling, and the characters are unforgettable.
The mighty saga of Arabs and Jews
Story of a tribal Arab ruler---very well written page turnerTrue
I haven't finished this yet but it seems to me that Uris has his finger on the pulse of the Arab-Israeli situation at the time. The Arabs (today's "Palestinians") and other Muslims feel that the book is biased against them, but that seems to be the way things are in the middle east these days. Nothing about one side is acceptable to the other side. The book is well-written and fact-based.
Excellent book--story tells the story through the eyes of a young man as he shares the realities of his Middle Eastern family and war. Highly recommend!
If you want insight into the roots of today's Middle Eastern tensions, this is the book to read. As usual, Uris goes to the very foundations of an area and illuminates developments, problems, culture, and lives of its people. This is a novel written by a master storyteller who does his factual homework.
From 1922 to 1985 and forward and backward a very interesting read about a part of the world that's very much in the press today (2014). A great Leon Uris story!
I knew little of the historical Arab/Israeli conflict, or about Middle Eastern culture when I got this book. It is a novel, but it offers interesting and intriguing glimpses into Islamic and Jewish traditions in the telling of the story. It was not an "easy read" but I am happy to have read this book, which reviewers say should be read by our politicians and the United Nations.
The summary is a story of hate and love, vengeance and forgiveness. It's a little "light" on the love and forgiveness"
It's an interesting read. I recommend it, but parts of it our depressing in that it seems to mirror the middle east today.
The author is an excellent story teller, even though the reader my not want to hear about certain parts of the story.