100 books like Pumpkinflowers

By Matti Friedman,

Here are 100 books that Pumpkinflowers fans have personally recommended if you like Pumpkinflowers. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Six Days of War: June 1967 and the Making of the Modern Middle East

Yossi Klein Halevi Author Of Letters to My Palestinian Neighbor

From my list on passionate reads on the Arab-Israeli Conflict.

Why am I passionate about this?

In books, essays and reportage, I've been writing about Israel and the conflict since moving from the U.S. to Israel in 1982. Even as I write from within my Israeli consciousness, I have tried to understand and convey other perspectives. For Israelis and Palestinians, there is nothing abstract about this conflict; it is, instead, a matter of life and death. My writing is an attempt to simultaneously convey the passions of this conflict and offer an empathic voice for all those caught in this seemingly hopeless situation.

Yossi's book list on passionate reads on the Arab-Israeli Conflict

Yossi Klein Halevi Why did Yossi love this book?

Oren, a historian and former Israeli ambassador to Washington, broke new ground with this account of the 1967 Six-Day War that transformed Israel, the Palestinian national movement, and the Middle East. Drawing on previously inaccessible documents in Israeli and Arab archives, Oren writes with a novelist’s eye for character, a diplomat’s appreciation of behind-the-scenes negotiations, and a historian’s judgment of human folly. The Six-Day War transformed Israel and the Jewish people in multiple ways – instilling self-confidence in Diaspora Jews, solidifying Israel’s permanence in the Middle East, and also burdening the Jewish state with seemingly insoluble political and moral dilemmas. This is the best book written about the war itself. 

By Michael B. Oren,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Six Days of War as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In 1967 the future of the state of Israel was far from certain. But with its swift and stunning military victory against an Arab coalition led by Egypt in the Six Day War, Israel not only preserved its existence but redrew the map of the region, with fateful consequences. The Camp David Accords, the assassinations of Anwar Sadat and Yitzhak Rabin, the intifada, and the current troubled peace negotiations-all of these trace their origins to the Six Day War.
Michael Oren's Six Days of War is a gripping account of one of the most dramatic and important episodes in the…


Book cover of Righteous Victims: A History of the Zionist-Arab Conflict, 1881-2001

Oren Kessler Author Of Palestine 1936: The Great Revolt and the Roots of the Middle East Conflict

From my list on learning the roots of the Israeli-Arab conflict.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a journalist, think-tanker, and analyst based in Tel Aviv and formerly in Washington and London. I have a BA in History from the University of Toronto and an MA in Diplomacy and Conflict Studies from Reichman University in Israel, and I was previously deputy director for research at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies in Washington. My first book, Palestine 1936, was named one of the Top Ten Books of 2023 by the Wall Street Journal. Throughout my whole life, I’ve written about the Middle East, the Israeli-Arab conflict, and so on and so forth. I love to travel and to read. And to write.

Oren's book list on learning the roots of the Israeli-Arab conflict

Oren Kessler Why did Oren love this book?

A complete history of the Zionist-Arab conflict, starting with the first wave of Zionist emigration. Benny Morris is one of the leading historians of Israel. Many consider him the historian of Israel.

He has often irritated critics, first on the right and later on the left, with work that failed to flatter their particular political sympathies. But he has always insisted that he goes where the material takes him, and I, for one, believe him. Today he remains uncategorizable and unpredictable.

This book is based on secondary sources - its remit is too wide to be based on primary ones - but it is, in my view, the best one-stop shop for a general history of the conflict. 

By Benny Morris,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Righteous Victims as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Righteous Victims, by the noted historian Benny Morris, is a comprehensive and
objective history of the long battle between Arabs and Jews for possession of a land they both call home. It appears at a most timely juncture, as the bloody and protracted struggle seems at last to be headed for resolution.

With great clarity of vision, Professor Morris finds the roots of this conflict in the deep religious, ethnic, and political differences between the Zionist immigrants and the native Arab population of Palestine. He describes the gradual influx of Jewish settlers, which was eventually fiercely resisted by the Arabs…


Book cover of The War of Return: How Western Indulgence of the Palestinian Dream Has Obstructed the Path to Peace

Yossi Klein Halevi Author Of Letters to My Palestinian Neighbor

From my list on passionate reads on the Arab-Israeli Conflict.

Why am I passionate about this?

In books, essays and reportage, I've been writing about Israel and the conflict since moving from the U.S. to Israel in 1982. Even as I write from within my Israeli consciousness, I have tried to understand and convey other perspectives. For Israelis and Palestinians, there is nothing abstract about this conflict; it is, instead, a matter of life and death. My writing is an attempt to simultaneously convey the passions of this conflict and offer an empathic voice for all those caught in this seemingly hopeless situation.

Yossi's book list on passionate reads on the Arab-Israeli Conflict

Yossi Klein Halevi Why did Yossi love this book?

What is the core of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, and what is the key to its solution? In this groundbreaking work, Adi Schwartz and Einat Wilf argue that the answer is not settlements or holy places or even the absence of a Palestinian state. Instead, the core of the conflict is the Palestinian national movement’s insistence on “right of return” of millions of descendants of Palestinian refugees to what is now the state of Israel – rather than resettlement in a future Palestinian state. What Palestinian leaders have effectively done, argue the authors, is link the end of the conflict to a “solution” that will mean the end of a sovereign Jewish state. The authors, who support the creation of a Palestinian state, argue that its creation depends on the willingness of Palestinian leaders to give up their dream of destroying Israel through a shift in its demographic balance. Until that…

By Adi Schwartz, Einat Wilf,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Two prominent Israeli liberals argue that for the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians to end with peace, Palestinians must come to terms with the fact that there will be no "right of return."

In 1948, seven hundred thousand Palestinians were forced out of their homes by the first Arab-Israeli War. More than seventy years later, most of their houses are long gone, but millions of their descendants are still registered as refugees, with many living in refugee camps. This group―unlike countless others that were displaced in the aftermath of World War II and other conflicts―has remained unsettled, demanding to…


Book cover of The Words of My Father: Love and Pain in Palestine

Yossi Klein Halevi Author Of Letters to My Palestinian Neighbor

From my list on passionate reads on the Arab-Israeli Conflict.

Why am I passionate about this?

In books, essays and reportage, I've been writing about Israel and the conflict since moving from the U.S. to Israel in 1982. Even as I write from within my Israeli consciousness, I have tried to understand and convey other perspectives. For Israelis and Palestinians, there is nothing abstract about this conflict; it is, instead, a matter of life and death. My writing is an attempt to simultaneously convey the passions of this conflict and offer an empathic voice for all those caught in this seemingly hopeless situation.

Yossi's book list on passionate reads on the Arab-Israeli Conflict

Yossi Klein Halevi Why did Yossi love this book?

In this extraordinary memoir, Yousef Bashir describes growing up in Gaza during the Second Intifada of the early 2000s. At age 15, an Israeli soldier shot him in the back. Paralyzed, Yousef was sent to an Israeli hospital, where he gradually recovered, making Israeli friends in the process. That experience of “love and pain” helped transform him into a peace activist. Yousef is one of the Palestinians who wrote a response to my book, Letters to My Palestinian Neighbor. (His letter appears in the epilogue.) I know of no better window into the Palestinian experience than this beautiful, wrenching book.

By Yousef Bashir,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A Palestinian-American activist recalls his adolescence in Gaza during the Second Intifada, and how he made a strong commitment to peace in the face of devastating brutality in this moving, candid, and transformative memoir that reminds us of the importance of looking beyond prejudice, anger, and fear.


Book cover of 100 Myths About the Middle East

Zahera Harb Author Of Reporting the Middle East: The Practice of News in the Twenty-First Century

From my list on the Middle East from a Lebanese journalist.

Why am I passionate about this?

Arriving in the UK to pursue my PhD after a career in Journalism in my native country Lebanon, a few days before September 11, 2001, set me on a journey to put right the way my region and its people are represented in British and international media. The Middle East, the Arab region, Islam, and Muslims became the focal point of coverage for many years that followed. Most of that coverage had been tainted with negative stereotypes that do not speak true to who we are and what we stand for. Achieving fair representation and portrayal of ethnic and religious minorities have become one of my life passions.  

Zahera's book list on the Middle East from a Lebanese journalist

Zahera Harb Why did Zahera love this book?

The late Fred Halliday addressed in his book the most circulated myths of the Middle East and its people. It is an easy read and it sets straight many of the daily myths that we have picked up from western popular culture (mainly Hollywood) and Anglo-American media representation including news on the culture and religion of the people of the Middle East. 

By Fred Halliday,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked 100 Myths About the Middle East as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Much ink has been spilled in recent years about the Middle East. At the same time, no other region has been as misunderstood, nor framed in so many cliches and mistakenly held beliefs. In this much-needed and enlightening book, Fred Halliday debunks one hundred of the most commonly misconstrued 'facts' concerning the Middle East - in the political, cultural, social, and historical spheres. In a straightforward and simple way that illuminates the issues without compromising their underlying complexities he gets to the core of each matter. The Israel-Palestine crisis, the Iran-Iraq war, the U.S.-led Gulf invasions, the Afghan-Soviet conflict, and…


Book cover of Come with Me from Lebanon: An American Family Odyssey

Teresa Fava Thomas Author Of American Arabists in the Cold War Middle East, 1946–75: From Orientalism to Professionalism

From my list on Americans living and working in the Middle East.

Why am I passionate about this?

Teresa Fava Thomas, Ph.D. is a professor of history at Fitchburg State University and author of American Arabists in the Cold War Middle East, 1946-75: From Orientalism to Professionalism for Anthem Press. I became interested in people who became area experts for the US State Department and how their study of hard languages like Arabic shaped their interactions with people in the region.

Teresa's book list on Americans living and working in the Middle East

Teresa Fava Thomas Why did Teresa love this book?

Ann Kerr and her husband Malcolm spent years in academic and diplomatic work across the region and especially in Cairo, Egypt and Beirut, Lebanon in critical times. Civil war and international conflict are described from the human perspective. The Kerr family dealt with great danger to help keep the American University of Beirut open amidst war; but paid a terrible price for their commitment to academic freedom.

By Ann Zwicker Kerr,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Come with Me from Lebanon as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Ann Kerr's is a personal account of an American family during the most tumultuous years of Beirut's political strife. It begins with the tragic assassination of her husband Malcolm Kerr, one of the most respected scholars of Middle East studies, in 1984, seventeen months after he became president of the American University of Beirut. She retraces in detail the events that brought them to the Middle East, and reaches back into her childhood to describe a lifelong affinity for Lebanon. For a young American woman caring for a family in Lebanon and Egypt, life was like nothing she had ever…


Book cover of Pity the Nation: Lebanon at War

Tim Pritchard Author Of Ambush Alley: The Most Extraordinary Battle of the Iraq War

From my list on battles that go wrong.

Why am I passionate about this?

In 2003 I was travelling through Baghdad with US forces to report on the Iraq war. Suddenly an ear-shattering explosion cracked through our Humvee and a rush of hot debris swept past my face. The heavily armoured door warped inwards, and the vehicle lifted off the ground. Soldiers were screaming in terror and anger, clutching at bloody faces, arms, and legs. We’d been attacked by unknown members of the Iraqi resistance. The sheer terror of that moment gave me a new understanding of war  the sight, smells, sounds, and touch of combat – and a desire to tell the stories of the young soldiers who get caught up in it.  

Tim's book list on battles that go wrong

Tim Pritchard Why did Tim love this book?

This is a devastating account of over thirty years of highly dysfunctional battles between war-mongering countries and groups that instead of healing divisions continue to tear Lebanon's different communities apart. What makes it so powerful is that it exposes the lie that wars are unleashed by complex grand forces at work. Fisk's book shows how ruthless individuals consciously start wars by inventing grievances and fomenting unrest, destroying a stunningly beautiful country, and brutalising its population.

By Robert Fisk,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Pity the Nation ranks among the classic accounts of war in our time, both as historical document and as an eyewitness testament to human savagery. Written by one of Britain's foremost journalists, this remarkable book combines political analysis and war reporting in an unprecedented way: it is an epic account of the Lebanon conflict by an author who has personally witnessed the carnage of Beirut for over a decade. Fisk's book recounts the details of a
terrible war but it also tells a story of betrayal and illusion, of Western blindness that had led inevitably to political and military catastrophe.…


Book cover of War Stories

Zahera Harb Author Of Reporting the Middle East: The Practice of News in the Twenty-First Century

From my list on the Middle East from a Lebanese journalist.

Why am I passionate about this?

Arriving in the UK to pursue my PhD after a career in Journalism in my native country Lebanon, a few days before September 11, 2001, set me on a journey to put right the way my region and its people are represented in British and international media. The Middle East, the Arab region, Islam, and Muslims became the focal point of coverage for many years that followed. Most of that coverage had been tainted with negative stereotypes that do not speak true to who we are and what we stand for. Achieving fair representation and portrayal of ethnic and religious minorities have become one of my life passions.  

Zahera's book list on the Middle East from a Lebanese journalist

Zahera Harb Why did Zahera love this book?

I have read this book years ago and till today I am still able to remember encounters Bowen had experienced and dealt with as a journalist and had cleverly brought it to life for his readers. He is one of those Middle East correspondents who got to study and know the region closely, not from afar, and hence reported on it accurately and with much-appreciated humanity. It is all reflected in his book. From Baghdad to South Lebanon, Bowen’s storytelling tells future journalists a story of conviction in seeking and standing up for the truth no matter the pressures journalists may face to act differently.

By Jeremy Bowen,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked War Stories as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Having joined the BBC as a trainee in 1984, Jeremy Bowen first became a foreign correspondent four years later. He had witnessed violence already, both at home and abroad, but it wasn't until he covered his first war -- in El Salvador -- that he felt he had arrived. Armed with the fearlessness of youth he lived for the job, was in love with it, aware of the dangers but assuming the bullets and bombs were meant for others. In 2000, however, after eleven years in some of the world's most dangerous places, the bullets came too close for comfort,…


Book cover of Den of Lions: Memoirs of Seven Years

Teresa Fava Thomas Author Of American Arabists in the Cold War Middle East, 1946–75: From Orientalism to Professionalism

From my list on Americans living and working in the Middle East.

Why am I passionate about this?

Teresa Fava Thomas, Ph.D. is a professor of history at Fitchburg State University and author of American Arabists in the Cold War Middle East, 1946-75: From Orientalism to Professionalism for Anthem Press. I became interested in people who became area experts for the US State Department and how their study of hard languages like Arabic shaped their interactions with people in the region.

Teresa's book list on Americans living and working in the Middle East

Teresa Fava Thomas Why did Teresa love this book?

Journalist Terry Anderson was working for the Associated Press, as part of a small contingent of American and British reporters living and working during the war in Lebanon. Taken hostage in 1985 and held for seven years Anderson describes how he coped with long years of punishment, extremes of loneliness, and isolation, then ultimately reached freedom. 

By Terry Anderson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Den of Lions as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

On March 16, 1985, Associated Press's Chief Middle East Correspondent, Terry Anderson, was kidnapped on the streets of Beirut. 2454 days - nearly seven years - later, he emerged into the light. "Den of Lions" is his memoir of that harrowing time; months of solitary confinement, beatings and daily humiliation. It is a story of personal courage, of brave and unflinching support for his fellow prisoners, but it is above all a love story - Madeleine Bassil, his fiancee, contributes her own chapters to their story, bringing up their child, Sulome, who never saw her father until she was six…


Book cover of The Eastern Mediterranean and the Making of Global Radicalism, 1860-1914

Mayssoun Sukarieh Author Of A Global Idea: Youth, City Networks, and the Struggle for the Arab World

From my list on cities and travelling ideas.

Why am I passionate about this?

My name is Mayssoun Sukarieh. I teach in London( King’s College) and I live in many places, physically at different times of the year, and mentally all the time. This made me fascinated on how ideas translate in different places according to contexts, and what people do with ideas they hear, create, or adopt. I am passionate about the study of power, whether studying elites- but in relation to their effects on other classes, or power of ideas and thoughts specifically ones that are connected to capitalism as an ideology.

Mayssoun's book list on cities and travelling ideas

Mayssoun Sukarieh Why did Mayssoun love this book?

This book is similar to mine but instead of focusing on the spread and dissemination of capitalism, it focuses on the dissemination and adaptation of radical, socialist, and anarchist ideas in the Eastern Mediterranean region during the nineteenth century, and argues that the cities of Alexandria, Cairo, and Beirut played a major role in this process.

In particular, dense social and intellectual networks that linked key segments of the population in these cities together were pivotal in facilitating both the spread of these ideas and the ways in which they were reworked, reinterpreted, and adapted to local and regional contexts.

Though focusing on a different time period and on the spread of counter-hegemonic rather than hegemonic ideas, Khoury’s work is similar to the argument that I have been developing in this book, in the sense that it traces the regional networks and spaces of individuals and organizations who played a…

By Ilham Khuri-Makdisi,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Eastern Mediterranean and the Making of Global Radicalism, 1860-1914 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In this groundbreaking book, Ilham Khuri-Makdisi establishes the existence of a special radical trajectory spanning four continents and linking Beirut, Cairo, and Alexandria between 1860 and 1914. She shows that socialist and anarchist ideas were regularly discussed, disseminated, and reworked among intellectuals, workers, dramatists, Egyptians, Ottoman Syrians, ethnic Italians, Greeks, and many others in these cities. In situating the Middle East within the context of world history, Khuri-Makdisi challenges nationalist and elite narratives of Mediterranean and Middle Eastern history as well as Eurocentric ideas about global radical movements. The book demonstrates that these radical trajectories played a fundamental role in…


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