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Freedom and Despair


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About the Author

David Shulman is professor emeritus at the Hebrew University. He is a long-time activist in Ta'ayush, an Israeli peace group working in the occupied Palestinian territories. He is the author of Tamil: A Biography, More Than Real: A History of the Imagination in South India, and Dark Hope: Working for Peace in Israel and Palestine, the last published by the University of Chicago Press. He is a regular contributor to the New York Review of Books.


"With the skills of a novelist, Shulman effortlessly shifts from vivid thumbnail sketches of individuals to beautifully rendered depictions of the stark landscape to relentless self-interrogation. For all Americans in the new Trump era who are asking themselves, 'What can I do and how do I deal with my despair?'--Freedom and Despair is essential."--Gabriel Levin, author of The Maltese Dreambook
"Beautifully written and emphatic . . . . essential reading for anyone who wants--or hopes, however darkly--to grasp the lay of this punished land."--The Nation

"From 2002 to 2006, Shulman did some of the harder work of his country's peace movement: clashing with police and settlers to deliver food and medical supplies to Palestinian villages. In his excellent record of these years, Dark Hope, Shulman vividly describes the small bands of Palestinians who live in caves in the Hebron Hills."--Slate--Praise for Dark Hope
"Shulman's spell-binding narrative offers a captivating introduction to philosophical ideas extracted from the least likely of places--the remote and rugged hills of southern Hebron. Freedom and Despair is a meticulous soul-searching effort to articulate meanings that have captured the attention of philosophers throughout history: evil, distress, freedom, conscience, truth, and the mysterious state of being acquired by daring to say no to injustice."--Sari Nusseibeh, professor of philosophy and former president, Al-Quds University, Jerusalem
"[Shulman] sees injustice perpetuated by his neighbors, he sees his government defend the indefensible, and he knows that he must act, speak, and fight for better. His righteous sensibilities carry throughout Freedom and Despair, a persuasive, moving, and crucially needed account of resistance in these contentious times."--Foreword
"For fifteen years, David Shulman, a renowned scholar of South Asian languages and religion has been involved with Ta'ayush, whose name is the Arabic word for coexistence. The group has been protesting in the South Hebron Hills, in Area C of the West Bank, where some 300,000 Palestinians, most of them farmers and shepherds, live, in about thirty villages. . . Freedom and Despair is an account of his experiences there and an attempt to understand the deep antipathy that drives the violence and destruction in the region."--New York Review of Books

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