The best books to understand modern Palestine

Who am I?

Ilan Pappé is a professor with the College of Social Sciences and International Studies at the University of Exeter. He was formerly a senior lecturer in political science at the University of Haifa. He is the author of The Ethnic Cleansing of PalestineThe Modern Middle EastA History of Modern Palestine: One Land, Two Peoples, and Britain and the Arab-Israeli Conflict.


I wrote...

Ten Myths About Israel

By Ilan Pappé,

Book cover of Ten Myths About Israel

What is my book about?

In this groundbreaking book, published on the fiftieth anniversary of the Occupation, the outspoken and radical Israeli historian Ilan Pappe examines the most contested ideas concerning the origins and identity of the contemporary state of Israel. The “ten myths” that Pappe explores—repeated endlessly in the media, enforced by the military, accepted without question by the world’s governments—reinforce the regional status quo. He explores the claim that Palestine was an empty land at the time of the Balfour Declaration, as well as the formation of Zionism and its role in the early decades of nation-building. He asks whether the Palestinians voluntarily left their homeland in 1948, and whether June 1967 was a war of “no choice.” Turning to the myths surrounding the failures of the Camp David Accords and the official reasons for the attacks on Gaza, Pappe explains why the two-state solution is no longer viable.

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of The Question of Palestine

Ilan Pappé Why did I love this book?

This was the first book to bring in one place the Palestinian narrative after years of denying it and allowing only the Israeli/Zionist narrative to dominate both the public and the scholarly domains in the West. Said's elegant prose contributed made that history accessible to a large audience of readers.

By Edward W. Said,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Question of Palestine as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This original and deeply provocative book was the first to make Palestine the subject of a serious debate--one that remains as critical as ever. With the rigorous scholarship he brought to his influential Orientalism and an exile's passion (he is Palestinian by birth), Edward W. Said traces the fatal collision between two peoples in the Middle East and its repercussions in the lives of both the occupier and the occupied--as well as in the conscience of the West. He has updated this landmark work to portray the changed status of Palestine and its people in light of such developments as…


Book cover of All That Remains: The Palestinian Villages Occupied and Depopulated by Israel in 1948

Ilan Pappé Why did I love this book?

This lexicon of the destroyed Palestinian villages of 1948 illustrated to a wide readership the scope and meaning of the Nakba, the Palestinian catastrophe. In short installments, a whole history that is wiped out is reconstructed as part of the struggle against denial.

By Walid Khalidi,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked All That Remains as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This authoritative reference work describes in detail the more than 400 Palestinian villages that were destroyed or depopulated by Israel in 1948. Little of these once-thriving communities remains: not only have they been erased from the Palestinian landscape, their very names have been removed from contemporary Israeli maps. But to hundreds of thousands of Palestinians living in their diaspora, these villages were home, and continue to be poignantly powerful symbols of their personal and national identity.


Book cover of Expulsion of the Palestinians: The Concept of "Transfer" in Zionist Political Thought, 1882-1948

Ilan Pappé Why did I love this book?

There is no way of understanding the Palestinian catastrophe without understanding the role of Zionism as an ideology and praxis in bringing it about. This book is the first methodic analysis of how Zionist ideology from the very beginning of the Zionist project prepared the ground for the 1948 ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians.

Book cover of In Search of Fatima: A Palestinian Story

Ilan Pappé Why did I love this book?

There is no better way of understanding what it means to be a Palestinian than reading a personal account. When this account is written by one of the veteran activists on behalf of Palestine in the West and a scholar by her own right, the reward is even greater for the reader of this autobiographical tale.  

By Ghada Karmi,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked In Search of Fatima as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Ghada Karmi's acclaimed memoir relates her childhood in Palestine, the flight to Britain after the catastrophe of 1948, and coming of age in the coffee-bars of Golders Green, the middle-class Jewish quarter in North London. A gentle humor describes the bizarre and sometimes tense realities that mask her life in 'Little Tel Aviv' and, later, her struggle, like that of many other women in the late fifties, to get a university grant to study medicine. Ghada's personal story is set against the continuing crisis in the Middle East. "In Search of Fatima" reminds us that the only crime the Palestinians…


Book cover of Facts on the Ground: Archaeological Practice and Territorial Self-Fashioning in Israeli Society

Ilan Pappé Why did I love this book?

The Israeli narrative is particularly strong among Christain and Jewish communities due to a tale full of fabrications that stretches back to ancient times. This methodical and erudite research exposes the role of archeology in providing "scientific" scaffolding for that tale. 


By Nadia Abu El-Haj,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Facts on the Ground as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Archaeology in Israel is truly a national obsession, a practice through which national identity-and national rights-have long been asserted. But how and why did archaeology emerge as such a pervasive force there? How can the practices of archaeology help answer those questions? In this stirring book, Nadia Abu El-Haj addresses these questions and specifies for the first time the relationship between national ideology, colonial settlement, and the production of historical knowledge. She analyzes particular instances of history, artifacts, and landscapes in the making to show how archaeology helped not only to legitimize cultural and political visions but, far more powerfully,…


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Coma and Near-Death Experience: The Beautiful, Disturbing, and Dangerous World of the Unconscious

By Alan Pearce, Beverley Pearce,

Book cover of Coma and Near-Death Experience: The Beautiful, Disturbing, and Dangerous World of the Unconscious

Alan Pearce Author Of Coma and Near-Death Experience: The Beautiful, Disturbing, and Dangerous World of the Unconscious

New book alert!

Who am I?

As a journalist, I'm driven to find stories that have not been covered before and to make clear the incomprehensible. I like people, and I like asking questions. I've covered wars and disasters, and on any given day, I could expect to see people at their very worst and at their very best. With my book about comas, I've met some of the finest people of my career, doctors, nurses, and other clinicians who are fighting the system, and coma survivors who are simply fighting to get through each and every day. This is the story I am now driven to tell.

Alan's book list on consciousness that demonstrates there is more to life than we know

What is my book about?

What happens when a person is placed into a medically-induced coma?

The brain might be flatlining, but the mind is far from inactive: experiencing alternate lives rich in every detail that spans decades, visiting realms of stunning and majestic beauty, or plummeting to the very depths of Hell while defying all medical and scientific understanding.

Everything you think you know about coma is wrong. Doctors call it 'sleeping' when in reality, many are trapped on a hamster wheel of brain-damaging, nightmarish events that scar those that survive for life. Others are left to question whether they touched levels of existence previously confined to fantasy or whether they teetered on the brink of this life and the next. Coma is not what you think.

Coma and Near-Death Experience: The Beautiful, Disturbing, and Dangerous World of the Unconscious

By Alan Pearce, Beverley Pearce,

What is this book about?

Explores the extraordinary states of expanded consciousness that arise during comas, both positive and negative

Every day around the world, thousands of people are placed in medically-induced comas. For some coma survivors, the experience is an utter blank. Others lay paralyzed, aware of everything around them but unable to move, speak, or even blink. Many experience alternate lives spanning decades, lives they grieve once awakened. Some encounter ultra-vivid nightmares, while others undergo a deep, spiritual oneness with the Universe or say they have glimpsed the Afterlife.

Examining the beautiful and disturbing experiences of those who have survived comas, Alan and…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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