Amos Elon (1926–2009) was an Israeli journalist. His final book was The Pity of It All: A Portrait of Jews In Germany 1743 – 1933.

IN THE REVIEW

Olmert & Israel: The Change

Lords of the Land: The War Over Israel's Settlements in the Occupied Territories, 1967–2007

by Idith Zertal and Akiva Eldar, translated from the Hebrew by Vivian Eden

Walled: Israeli Society at an Impasse

by Sylvain Cypel
Israel under Ehud Olmert is not what it was under Ariel Sharon, at least in tone. Sharon was a soldier who spent much of his life fighting the Arabs. Olmert is a suave corporate lawyer, a deal maker, a political operator. Sharon supported the “Greater Israel” movement. Olmert’s idea of …

Hard Truth About Palestine

Once Upon a Country: A Palestinian Life

by Sari Nusseibeh, with Anthony David
Sari Nusseibeh’s chronicle of a life “lived in a broken and violated land” reads at times like an unfinished nineteenth-century novel. In it there are villains and victims, patriots and fools, war and peace, betrayal and corruption, and an inevitable romance. We don’t know how the story will end. The …

Thanks for the Memory

Istanbul: Memories and the City

by Orhan Pamuk, translated from the Turkish by Maureen Freely
In the Western imagination, Istanbul, alias Constantinople, was once identified with decay, corruption, and imperial decline as well as with voluptuous pleasure. Flaubert longed to visit and buy himself a slave. During the nineteenth century, the city was the capital of a shrinking Ottoman Empire, the “Sick Man of Europe.” …

The Triumph of a Double Life

Five Germanys I Have Known

by Fritz Stern
Germany’s descent into barbarism under the Nazis and its moral and political regeneration after the war still resist explanation. In Five Germanys I Have Known, Fritz Stern, the leading American scholar of nineteenth- and twentieth-century German history, reflects the two faces of Germany through the prism of his own life …

What Does Olmert Want?

The Accidental Empire: Israel and the Birth of the Settlements, 1967–1977

by Gershom Gorenberg
The settlement project, as Gorenberg shows, was promoted by successive Israeli governments of the left and the right, overriding objections voiced at various times by a minority of cabinet ministers and a handful of dissenters outside the government in the academy and the press. The project was first intended …

A Shrine to Mussolini

The Body of Il Duce: Mussolini's Corpse and the Fortunes of Italy

by Sergio Luzzatto, translated from the Italian by Frederika Randall
Predappio is a quiet little town of some 6,100 inhabitants in the rich Italian region of Emilia-Romagna, some 150 miles north of Rome. It is known today mostly for its annual fair of songbirds and as the place where Mussolini was born in 1883. Here, more than a decade after …

The Ghost City

Alexandria: City of Memory

by Michael Haag
Alexandria, a shabby Mediterranean city of more than five million inhabitants, many of them packed into squalid slums, continues to attract attention less for what it is than for what it was. There are no conventional tourist sights although there is an ambitious new building cosponsored by UNESCO, which attempts …