Writing with fierce honesty, Jennifer Miller has created an extraordinary synthesis of history, reportage and coming-of-age memoir in Inheriting the Holy Land. Her groundbreaking perspective on the conflict is presented through interviews with young Israelis and Palestinians and conversations with some of the most influential officials involved in the Middle East, including Shimon Peres, Yasir Arafat, James Baker, Benjamin Netanyahu, Colin Powell, Ehud Barak and Mahmoud Abbas. This book will open eyes, open hearts and open minds.
Miller’s latest book, The Year of the Gadfly, chosen as a 2012 Best Book by Kirkus Reviews and Self Magazine, is an exhilarating journey of double-crosses, deeply buried secrets and the lifelong reverberations of losing someone you love. Following in the tradition of classic school novels such as A Separate Peace, Prep and The Secret History, it reminds us how these years haunt our lives forever. This is truly an intricately woven narrative that will keep you reading late into the night.
Miller grew up in an affluent suburb of Washington, D.C., surrounded by the chaotic politics of the Middle East. Her father was a U.S. State Department negotiator at the Oslo and Camp David peace summits, and dinnertime conversation in the Miller household often included discussions of the Middle Eastern conflict. When Miller joined Seeds of Peace, a program that brings Middle Eastern kids to Maine for intensive sessions of conflict resolution, her real experience with the Middle East began. As she befriended young Palestinians, Israelis, Egyptians, and Jordanians, she came to realize that their views were missing from the ongoing debate over the Holy Land.
Miller, however, learned fast that it was one thing to hang out at the idyllic Seeds for Peace camp in Maine and quite another to confront young people in the alleys of East Jerusalem, behind the armed gates of West Bank settlements, in the refugee camps of Gaza. Friendships that blossomed in the U.S. withered in the aftermath of yet another suicide bombing. Big-hearted teens on both sides of the conflict shocked Miller with the ferocity of their illusions and the twisted logic of their misconceptions. But she also found hope in places where others had reported only despair–surprising open-mindedness among the ultra-religious, common ground shared by those who had lost loved ones to violence, a yearning for peace amid the rubble of refugee camps and shards of bombed cities.
A deft writer, she interweaves her startlingly candid interviews into her speeches with the vibrant realities of life in the streets. Just as Jennifer Miller was forced to confront her biases as an American, a Jew, a woman and a journalist, in Inheriting the Holy Land, she similarly challenges readers to reexamine their own cherished prejudices and assumptions.
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