My Brother, My Land: A Story from Palestine

Redwood: Stanford Univ. Feb. 2024. 304p. ISBN 9781503628397. $28. HIST
This is a deeply moving history of one Palestinian family. Hermez (anthropology, Northwestern Univ. in Qatar; War Is Coming) worked with cowriter Sireen Sawalha, now a U.S. resident, to capture her stories and complex family history. Beginning around the 1967 Arab-Israeli war, the book takes readers through the various intifadas and resistance to Israeli settlement and occupation. Their book engages readers with tales of Sawalha’s upbringing in a large family under Israeli occupation, as her mother farms land in Kufr Ra’i, a small village in the Northern West Bank. The author’s descriptions of what life under occupation looks like and as the children in the family grow into adulthood are poignant. One of Sawalha’s brothers, Iyad, early on, challenges the authority that rules over the West Bank. He takes on a larger role in fighting Israeli occupation, serves time in an Israeli jail, and later joins the Palestinian Islamic Jihad. A deep love of the land and family is uppermost in the stories that illuminate this innovative book.
VERDICT A timely, powerful book from a Palestinian perspective. For readers who want to gain a deep understanding of the current conflict in Palestine, particularly about life in Gaza and the West Bank.
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