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A riveting, action-filled account that sheds light on the realities of working in a war-torn country, this is the first book on the war in Iraq by a South African.
Johan Raath and a security team were escorting American engineers to a power plant south of Baghdad when they were ambushed. He had first arrived in Iraq only two weeks before. This was a small taste of what was to come over the next 13 years while he worked there as a private military contractor (PMC). His mission? Not to wage war but to protect lives. Raath acted as a bodyguard for VIPs and, more often, engineers who were involved in construction projects to rebuild the country after the 2003 war. His physical and mental endurance was tested to the limit in his efforts to safeguard construction sites that were regularly subjected to mortar and suicide attacks. Key to his survival was his training as a Special Forces operator, or Recce.
Working in places called the Triangle of Death and driving on the ‘Hell Run’, Raath had numerous hair-raising experiences. As a trained combat medic he also helped to save people’s lives after two suicide bomb attacks on sites he then worked at.
In 1934, eleven-year-old Shimon Peres emigrated to the land of Israel from his native Poland, leaving behind an extended family who would later be murdered in the Holocaust. Few back then would have predicted that this young man would eventually become one of the towering figures of the twentieth century. Peres would indeed go on to serve the new state as prime minister, president, foreign minister, and the head of several other ministries.
He was central to the establishment of the Israeli Defense Forces and the defense industry that would provide the young state with a robust deterrent power. He was crucial to launching Israel’s nuclear energy program and to the creation of its high-tech “Start-up Nation” revolution. His refusal to surrender to conventional wisdom and political norms helped save the Israeli economy and prompted some of the most daring military operations in history, among them the legendary Operation Entebbe. And yet, as important as his role in creating and deploying Israel’s armed forces was, his stunning transition from hawk to dove—with its accompanying unwavering commitment to peace—made him one of the globe’s most recognized, honored, and admired statesmen.
In this, his final work, finished only weeks before his passing, Peres offers a long-awaited examination of the crucial turning points in Israeli history through the prism of having been a decision maker and eyewitness. Told with the frankness of someone aware this would likely be his final statement, No Room for Small Dreams spans decades and events, but as much as it is about what happened, it is about why it happened. Examining pivotal moments in Israel’s rise, Peres explores what makes for a great leader, how to make hard choices in a climate of uncertainty and distress, the challenges of balancing principles with policies, and the liberating nature of imagination and unpredicted innovation.
In doing so, he not only charts a better path forward for his beloved country but provides deep and universal wisdom for younger generations who seek to lead—be it in politics, business, or the broader service of making our planet a safer, more peaceful, and just place.
The first definitive history of the Mossad, Shin Bet, and the IDF’s targeted killing programs, hailed by The New York Times as “an exceptional work, a humane book about an incendiary subject.”
The Talmud says: “If someone comes to kill you, rise up and kill him first.” This instinct to take every measure, even the most aggressive, to defend the Jewish people is hardwired into Israel’s DNA. From the very beginning of its statehood in 1948, protecting the nation from harm has been the responsibility of its intelligence community and armed services, and there is one weapon in their vast arsenal that they have relied upon to thwart the most serious threats: Targeted assassinations have been used countless times, on enemies large and small, sometimes in response to attacks against the Israeli people and sometimes preemptively.
In this page-turning, eye-opening book, journalist and military analyst Ronen Bergman—praised by David Remnick as “arguably [Israel’s] best investigative reporter”—offers a riveting inside account of the targeted killing programs: their successes, their failures, and the moral and political price exacted on the men and women who approved and carried out the missions.
Bergman has gained the exceedingly rare cooperation of many current and former members of the Israeli government, including Prime Ministers Shimon Peres, Ehud Barak, Ariel Sharon, and Benjamin Netanyahu, as well as high-level figures in the country’s military and intelligence services: the IDF (Israel Defense Forces), the Mossad (the world’s most feared intelligence agency), Caesarea (a “Mossad within the Mossad” that carries out attacks on the highest-value targets), and the Shin Bet (an internal security service that implemented the largest targeted assassination campaign ever, in order to stop what had once appeared to be unstoppable: suicide terrorism).
Including never-before-reported, behind-the-curtain accounts of key operations, and based on hundreds of on-the-record interviews and thousands of files to which Bergman has gotten exclusive access over his decades of reporting, Rise and Kill First brings us deep into the heart of Israel’s most secret activities. Bergman traces, from statehood to the present, the gripping events and thorny ethical questions underlying Israel’s targeted killing campaign, which has shaped the Israeli nation, the Middle East, and the entire world.
Night after night, he guided the U.S. Navy SEALs through Iraq's most dangerous regions. A translator operating under the code name "Johnny Walker," he risked his life on more than a thousand missions and became a legend in the U.S. special-ops community. But in the eyes of Iraq's terrorists and insurgents, he and his family were marked for death because he worked with the Americans. Fearing for Johnny's safety, the SEALs heroically took it upon themselves to bring him and his family to the United States. With inside details on SEAL operations and a deeply personal understanding of the tragic price paid by ordinary Iraqis, Code Name: Johnny Walker is a gripping and unforgettable true story that reveals a side of the war that has never been told before. Includes a new afterword on the rise of ISIS
David Ben-Gurion cast a great shadow during his lifetime, and his legacy continues to be sharply debated to this day. There have been many books written about the life and accomplishments of the Zionist icon and founder of modern Israel, but this new biography by eminent Israeli historian Anita Shapira strives to get to the core of the complex man who would become the face of the new Jewish nation.
Shapira tells the Ben-Gurion story anew, focusing especially on the period after 1948, during the first years of statehood. As a result of her extensive research and singular access to Ben-Gurion’s personal archives, the author provides fascinating and original insights into his personal qualities and those that defined his political leadership. As Shapira writes, “Ben-Gurion liked to argue that history is made by the masses, not individuals. But just as Lenin brought the Bolshevik Revolution into the world and Churchill delivered a fighting Britain, so with Ben-Gurion and the Jewish state. He knew how to create and exploit the circumstances that made its birth possible.”
Shapira’s portrait reveals the flesh-and-blood man who more than anyone else realized the Israeli state.
Now a major motion picture directed by Clint Eastwood.
From 1999 to 2009, U.S. Navy SEAL Chris Kyle recorded the most career sniper kills in United States military history. His fellow American warriors, whom he protected with deadly precision from rooftops and stealth positions during the Iraq War, called him "The Legend"; meanwhile, the enemy feared him so much they named him al-Shaitan ("the devil") and placed a bounty on his head.
Kyle, who was tragically killed in 2013, writes honestly about the pain of war—including the deaths of two close SEAL teammates—and in moving first-person passages throughout, his wife, Taya, speaks openly about the strains of war on their family, as well as on Chris. Gripping and unforgettable, Kyle's masterful account of his extraordinary battlefield experiences ranks as one of the great war memoirs of all time.
Includes new material by Taya Kyle about the making of the American Sniper film.
From the former editor in chief of "Haaretz", comes the first in-depth, comprehensive biography of Ariel Sharon, the most dramatic and imposing Israeli political and military leader of the last forty years.
The life of Ariel Sharon spans much of modern Israel's history. A commander in the Israeli Army from its inception in 1948, Sharon participated in the 1948 War of Independence, played decisive roles in the 1956 Suez War and the Six-Day War of 1967, and is credited here with the shift in the outcome of the Yom Kippur War of 1973.
After leaving the professional army, Sharon became a political leader and served in numerous governments, most prominently as the defense minister during the 1982 Lebanon War in which he bore "personal responsibility," according to the state's commission of inquiry, for massacres of Palestinian civilians by Lebanese militia. As a general and as a politician, he championed the construction of Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank and Gaza. But as prime minister, he performed a dramatic reversal: orchestrating Israel's unilateral disengagement from the Gaza Strip.
Landau brilliantly chronicles Sharon's surprising about-face, combining the immediacy of firsthand reportage with the analysis and independent insight of a historian's perspective. Sharon suffered a stroke in January 2006 and remains in a persistent vegetative state. This biography recounts the life of the man who is considered by many to be Israel's greatest military leader and political statesman, illustrating how Sharon's leadership transformed Israel, and how his views were shaped by the changing nature of Israeli society.
The deadliest animal of all time meets the world's most legendary hunter in a classic battle between man and wild. But this pulse-pounding narrative is also a nuanced story of how colonialism and environmental destruction upset the natural order, placing man, tiger and nature on a collision course. In Champawat, India, circa 1900, a Bengal tigress was wounded by a poacher in the forests of the Himalayan foothills. Unable to hunt her usual prey, the tiger began stalking and eating an easier food source: human beings. Between 1900 and 1907, the Champawat Man-Eater, as she became known, emerged as the most prolific serial killer of human beings the world has ever known, claiming an astonishing 436 lives. Desperate for help, authorities appealed to renowned local hunter Jim Corbett, an Indian-born Brit of Irish descent, who was intimately familiar with the Champawat forest. Corbett, who would later earn fame and devote the latter part of his life to saving the Bengal tiger and its habitat, sprang into action. Like a detective on the tail of a serial killer, he tracked the tiger's movements, as the tiger began to hunt him in return. This was the beginning of Corbett's life-long love of tigers, though his first encounter with the Champawat Tiger would be her last.
**FROM THE AUTHOR OF THE BESTSELLING PHILOMENA, MADE INTO THE AWARD-WINNING FILM STARRING STEVE COOGAN AND JUDI DENCH** Ayesha's Gift is the true story of a young woman, born in Pakistan, living in Britain, whose life is thrown into desperate turmoil by the violent death of her father. The Pakistani authorities talk of suicide, but why would Ayesha's happy, gentle father kill himself? Ayesha's quest to find the truth takes her away from her safe English existence and into Pakistan, where she is met with threats, violence and smiling perjurers. She is warned that her life is in danger; powerful, ruthless men have reasons to want her silenced. But there are things she needs to know, that compel her to press on with her search for the truth. Was her father an innocent victim? Can she continue to revere the image of him she grew up with, that of a good, loving parent? Or will she be forced to accept that her father was not the person she thought he was? As the two countries she had considered home reveal themselves as foreign and inimical, Ayesha is forced to confront the tormented issues of identity and belonging. When she travels to Pakistan, Martin Sixsmith goes with her. A shared tragedy and an unlikely friendship lead them both to question the things that give meaning to their lives, and ultimately find solace in the common human values of kindness and respect. `Written at thriller pace.' Telegraph `Wonderful ... What I find so striking about Ayesha's Gift is that it's a book in which the writer is changed by the writing of the book.' Andrew Marr
Is there an inevitable global violent clash unfolding between the world's largest religions: Islam and Christianity? Do religions cause violent conflicts, or are there other factors at play? How can we make sense of increasing reports of violence between Christian and Muslim ethnic communities across the world? By seeking to answer such questions about the relationship between religion and violence in today's world, Ziya Meral challenges popular theories and offers an alternative explanation, grounded on insights inferred from real cases of ethno-religious violence in Africa and the Middle East.
The relationship between religion and violence runs deep and both are intrinsic to the human story. Violence leads to and shapes religion, while religion acts to enable violence as well as providing responses that contain and prevent it. However, with religious violence being one of the most serious challenges facing the modern world, Meral shows that we need to de-globalise our analysis and focus on individual conflicts, instead of attempting to provide single answers to complex questions.
In 1916, in the middle of the First World War, two men secretly agreed to divide the Middle East between them. Sir Mark Sykes was a visionary politician; Francois Georges-Picot a diplomat with a grudge. The deal they struck, which was designed to relieve tensions that threatened to engulf the Entente Cordiale, drew a line in the sand from the Mediterranean to the Persian frontier. Territory north of that stark line would go to France; land south of it, to Britain. Against the odds their pact survived the war to form the basis for the post-war division of the region into five new countries Britain and France would rule. The creation of Britain's 'mandates' of Palestine, Transjordan and Iraq, and France's in Lebanon and Syria, made the two powers uneasy neighbours for the following thirty years. Through a stellar cast of politicians, diplomats, spies and soldiers, including T. E. Lawrence, Winston Churchill and Charles de Gaulle, A Line in the Sand vividly tells the story of the short but crucial era when Britain and France ruled the Middle East. It explains exactly how the old antagonism between these two powers inflamed the more familiar modern rivalry between the Arabs and the Jews, and ultimately led to war between the British and the French in 1941 and between the Arabs and the Jews in 1948. In 1946, after many years of intrigue and espionage, Britain finally succeeded in ousting France from Lebanon and Syria, and hoped that, having done so, it would be able to cling on to Palestine. Using newly declassified papers from the British and French archives, James Barr brings this overlooked clandestine struggle back to life, and reveals, for the first time, the stunning way in which the French finally got their revenge.
The explosive narrative of the life, captivity, and trial of Bowe Bergdahl, the soldier who was abducted by the Taliban and whose story has served as a symbol for America's foundering war in Afghanistan 'A riveting journalistic account of Bowe Bergdahl's disastrous - and weirdly poignant - choice to walk off his military base in Afghanistan ... A spectacularly good book about an incredibly painful and important topic' Sebastian Junger, author of Tribe and War Private First Class Bowe Bergdahl left his platoon's base in eastern Afghanistan in the early hours of June 30, 2009. Since that day, easy answers to the many questions surrounding his case--why did he leave his post? What kinds of efforts were made to recover him from the Taliban? And why, facing a court martial, did he plead guilty to the serious charges against him?--have proved elusive. Based on years of exclusive reporting drawing on dozens of sources throughout the military, government, and Bergdahl's family, friends, and fellow soldiers, American Cipher is at once a meticulous investigation of government dysfunction and political posturing, a blistering commentary on America's presence in Afghanistan, and a heartbreaking story of a naive young man who thought he could fix the world and wound up the tool of forces far beyond his understanding.
Vietnam became the Western world’s most divisive modern conflict, precipitating a battlefield humiliation for France in 1954, then a vastly greater one for the United States in 1975. Max Hastings has spent the past three years interviewing scores of participants on both sides, as well as researching a multitude of American and Vietnamese documents and memoirs, to create an epic narrative of an epic struggle. He portrays the set pieces of Dienbienphu, the Tet offensive, the air blitz of North Vietnam, and less familiar battles such as the bloodbath at Daido, where a US Marine battalion was almost wiped out, together with extraordinary recollections of Ho Chi Minh’s warriors. Here are the vivid realities of strife amid jungle and paddies that killed 2 million people.
Many writers treat the war as a US tragedy, yet Hastings sees it as overwhelmingly that of the Vietnamese people, of whom forty died for every American. US blunders and atrocities were matched by those committed by their enemies. While all the world has seen the image of a screaming, naked girl seared by napalm, it forgets countless eviscerations, beheadings and murders carried out by the communists. The people of both former Vietnams paid a bitter price for the Northerners’ victory in privation and oppression. Here is testimony from Vietcong guerrillas, Southern paratroopers, Saigon bargirls and Hanoi students alongside that of infantrymen from South Dakota, Marines from North Carolina, Huey pilots from Arkansas.
No past volume has blended a political and military narrative of the entire conflict with heart-stopping personal experiences, in the fashion that Max Hastings’ readers know so well. The author suggests that neither side deserved to win this struggle with so many lessons for the 21st century about the misuse of military might to confront intractable political and cultural challenges. He marshals testimony from warlords and peasants, statesmen and soldiers, to create an extraordinary record.
The Middle East: The Cradle of Civilization synthesizes the latest research and information from a range of disciplines to tell the compelling story, from the Neolithic period through to the Arab conquest, of how a group of linguistically disparate, nomadic tribes responded to specific social, economic and environmental factors to form the world's first complex societies. This is an authoritative, detailed and accessible story, divided into six easily navigable parts arranged chronologically, and then into chapters exploring the history, religion, political and social organization, art, science and architecture of the peoples of the region. The text is illustrated with more than 500 superb full colour images - artifacts, artworks, statues, reliefs, buildings and landscapes - as well as six detailed maps, which bring the region's dramatic past vividly to life.
Asian empires led the world economically, scientifically and culturally for hundreds of years, and posed a constant challenge to the countries of Europe. How and why did those empires gain such power, and lose it? What legacies did they leave?
This major book brings together a team of distinguished historians and 200 illustrations to survey seven great Asian empires that rose and fell between 800 CE and the mid-20th century: the Mongol Empire, Ming Dynasty of China, Khmer Empire, Ottoman Empire, Safavid Empire of Persia, Mughal Empire of India and the Meiji Restoration in Japan. Splendidly illustrated and compellingly written, The Great Empires of Asia shows how those seven empires played a key role in forming todays global civilization and how, with the renewed ascendancy of Asia, their legacies will help shape the continents future.
The first major book on ISIS to be published since the group exploded on the international stage in summer 2014. Drawing on their unusual access to intelligence sources and material, law enforcement, and groundbreaking research into open source intelligence, Stern and Berger outline the origins of ISIS as the formidable terrorist group it has quickly become. `State of Terror' delves into the `ghoulish pornography' of pro-jihadi videos, the seductive appeal of `jihadi chic' and the startling effectiveness of the Islamic State's use of social media as a means of luring and recruiting citizens from countries such as the United States, Great Britain, and France-using recent examples such as Douglas McCain, the American citizen from Minnesota who joined ISIS and died in combat fighting on the side of the Islamic State. Although the picture Stern and Berger paint is bleak, `State of Terror' also offers well-informed thoughts on potential government responses to ISIS - most importantly, emphasizing that we must alter our present conceptions of terrorism and react to the rapidly changing jihadi landscape, both online and off, as quickly as the terrorists do. `State of Terror: Jihad in the 21st Century' is not only a compelling account of the evolution of a terrorist organization, but also a necessary book that attempts to answer the question of what our next move - as a country, as a government, as the world - should be.
The International Bestseller 'Barney White-Spunner's book stands out for its judicious and unsparing look at events from a British perspective.' Dominic Sandbrook, Sunday Times Review'This book is at its most powerful in its month-by-month narrative of how Partition tore apart northern and eastern India, with the new state of Pakistan carved out of communities who had lived together for the past millennium.' Zareer Masani BBC History Magazine 'A highly readable account . . .' Times Literary Review Between January and August 1947 the conflicting political, religious and social tensions in India culminated in independence from Britain and the creation of Pakistan. Those months saw the end of ninety years of the British Raj, and the effective power of the Maharajahs, as the Congress Party established itself commanding a democratic government in Delhi. They also witnessed the rushed creation of Pakistan as a country in two halves whose capitals were two thousand kilometers apart. From September to December 1947 the euphoria surrounding the realization of the dream of independence dissipated into shame and incrimination; nearly 1 million people died and countless more lost their homes and their livelihoods as partition was realized. The events of those months would dictate the history of South Asia for the next seventy years, leading to three wars, countless acts of terrorism, polarization around the Cold War powers and to two nations with millions living in poverty spending disproportionate amounts on their military. The roots of much of the violence in the region today, and worldwide, are in the decisions taken that year. Not only were those decisions controversial but the people who made them were themselves to become some of the most enduring characters of the twentieth century. Gandhi and Nehru enjoyed almost saint like status in India, and still do, whilst Jinnah is lionized in Pakistan. The British cast, from Churchill to Attlee and Mountbatten, find their contribution praised and damned in equal measure. Yet it is not only the national players whose stories fascinate. Many of those ordinary people who witnessed the events of that year are still alive. Although most were, predictably, only children, there are still some in their late eighties and nineties who have a clear recollection of the excitement and the horror. Illustrating the story of 1947 with their experiences and what independence and partition meant to the farmers of the Punjab, those living in Lahore and Calcutta, or what it felt like to be a soldier in a divided and largely passive army, makes the story real. Partition will bring to life this terrible era for the Indian Sub Continent.
In the aftermath of popular uprisings that unleashed the quest for freedom, Arab governments scrambled to limit sectarian divisions, though much of these efforts came to naught. Regrettably, weak governments fell into carefully laid traps, aimed to divide and rule. Protracted wars further destroyed Arab wealth and cohesiveness, and Sunni communities saw their power bases marginalised. On cue, and predicted by some commentators, extremist movements like the so-called Islamic State emerged, targeting Sunnis with extreme violence. In 2014 Nabil Khalife, an established Lebanese thinker, published a widely praised thesis that identified the root causes of renewed sectarian tensions at a time when confrontations polarised awakened Arab societies. Based on an extensive discussion of the 1979 Iranian Revolution that toppled the Shah, Khalife advanced the notion that the revolution was not Islamic but an Iranian-Shiah rebellion that ended the Pahlavi military monarchy, and that the post-2011 SunniShiah struggle was planned by leading Western powers, including Russia, to preserve Israel and impose the latters acceptance in the Middle East as a natural element. In this translation of Istihdaf Ahl al-Sunna [Targeting Sunnis], Joseph A Kechichian analyses the fundamental questions raised by the author to better place the current sectarian collision in a geo-strategic global perspective. Based on the books avowals of how the worlds three monotheistic religions perceive each other and Political Sunnism, Kechichian assesses Henry Kissingers famous appellation of the Middle World that houses significant and indispensable oil resources, and why that allegedly makes it -- Political Sunnism -- dangerous. In a comprehensive introduction to the translation, he describes various initiatives that led global powers to check the undeniable force of Political Sunnism.
THE SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER `His masterpiece' Antony Beevor, Spectator `A masterful performance' Sunday Times `By far the best book on the Vietnam War' Gerald Degroot, The Times, Book of the Year Vietnam became the Western world's most divisive modern conflict, precipitating a battlefield humiliation for France in 1954, then a vastly greater one for the United States in 1975. Max Hastings has spent the past three years interviewing scores of participants on both sides, as well as researching a multitude of American and Vietnamese documents and memoirs, to create an epic narrative of an epic struggle. He portrays the set pieces of Dienbienphu, the Tet offensive, the air blitz of North Vietnam, and less familiar battles such as the bloodbath at Daido, where a US Marine battalion was almost wiped out, together with extraordinary recollections of Ho Chi Minh's warriors. Here are the vivid realities of strife amid jungle and paddies that killed 2 million people. Many writers treat the war as a US tragedy, yet Hastings sees it as overwhelmingly that of the Vietnamese people, of whom forty died for every American. US blunders and atrocities were matched by those committed by their enemies. While all the world has seen the image of a screaming, naked girl seared by napalm, it forgets countless eviscerations, beheadings and murders carried out by the communists. The people of both former Vietnams paid a bitter price for the Northerners' victory in privation and oppression. Here is testimony from Vietcong guerrillas, Southern paratroopers, Saigon bargirls and Hanoi students alongside that of infantrymen from South Dakota, Marines from North Carolina, Huey pilots from Arkansas. No past volume has blended a political and military narrative of the entire conflict with heart-stopping personal experiences, in the fashion that Max Hastings' readers know so well. The author suggests that neither side deserved to win this struggle with so many lessons for the 21st century about the misuse of military might to confront intractable political and cultural challenges. He marshals testimony from warlords and peasants, statesmen and soldiers, to create an extraordinary record.
Anthony Swofford's grandfather fought in WWII; his father fought in Vietnam; and he - a directionless, testosterone-battered teenager - became a scout/sniper in the marines and fought in the Gulf War. His account of that time is also part of a lineage - after Wilfred Owen, Norman Mailer, Michael Herr and Tim O'Brien, it brings the raw and searing tradition of soldiers' stories up to date. A harrowing yet inspiring portrait of a tormented consciousness struggling for reconciliation and peace, JARHEAD is authentic, revelatory and brilliantly crafted.
Alistair Urquhart was a soldier in the Gordon Highlanders, captured by the Japanese in Singapore. Forced into manual labor as a POW, he survived 750 days in the jungle working as a slave on the notorious "Death Railway" and building the Bridge on the River Kwai. Subsequently, he moved to work on a Japanese "hellship," his ship was torpedoed, and nearly everyone on board the ship died. Not Urquhart. After five days adrift on a raft in the South China Sea, he was rescued by a Japanese whaling ship. His luck would only get worse as he was taken to Japan and forced to work in a mine near Nagasaki. Two months later, he was just ten miles from ground zero when an atomic bomb was dropped on Nagasaki. In late August 1945, he was freed by the American Navy--a living skeleton--and had his first wash in three and a half years. This is the extraordinary story of a young man, conscripted at nineteen, who survived not just one, but three encounters with death, any of which should have probably killed him. Silent for over fifty years, this is Urquhart's inspirational tale in his own words. It is as moving as any memoir and as exciting as any great war movie.
The town of Bethlehem carries so many layers of meaning--some ancient, some mythical, some religious--that it feels like an unreal city, even to the people who call it home. Today, the city is hemmed in by a wall and surrounded by forty-one Israeli settlements and hostile settlers and soldiers. The population is undergoing such enormous strains it is close to falling apart. Any town with an eleven-thousand-year history has to be robust, but Bethlehem may soon go the way of Salonica or Constantinople: the physical site might survive, but the long thread winding back to the ancient past will have snapped, and the city risks losing everything that makes it unique. Still, for many, Bethlehem remains the "little town" of the Christmas song. Nicholas Blincoe will tell the history of the famous little town, through the visceral experience of living there, taking readers through its stone streets and desert wadis, its monasteries, aqueducts and orchards, showing the city from every angle and era. Inevitably, a portrait of Bethlehem will shed light on one of the world's most intractable political problems. Bethlehem is a much-loved Palestinian city, a source of pride and wealth but also a beacon of co-existence in a region where hopelessness, poverty and violence has become the norm. Bethlehem could light the way to a better future, but if the city is lost then the chances of an end to the Israel-Palestine conflict will be lost with it.
During South Vietnam's brief life as a nation, it exhibited glimmers of democracy through citizen activism and a dynamic press. South Vietnamese activists, intellectuals, students, and professionals had multiple visions for Vietnam's future as an independent nation. Some were anticommunists, while others supported the National Liberation Front and Hanoi. In the midst of war, South Vietnam represented the hope and chaos of decolonization and nation building during the Cold War. U.S. Embassy officers, State Department observers, and military advisers sought to cultivate a base of support for the Saigon government among local intellectuals and youth, but government arrests and imprisonment of political dissidents, along with continued war, made it difficult for some South Vietnamese activists to trust the Saigon regime. Meanwhile, South Vietnamese diplomats, including anticommunist students and young people who defected from North Vietnam, travelled throughout the world in efforts to drum up international support for South Vietnam. Drawing largely on Vietnamese language sources, Heather Stur demonstrates that the conflict in Vietnam was really three wars: the political war in Saigon, the military war, and the war for international public opinion.
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