It's Easier to Reach Heaven Than the End of the Street


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About the Author

Emma Williams studied history at Oxford and medicine at London University. She has worked as a doctor in Britain, Pakistan, Afghanistan, New York, South Africa and Jerusalem. She wrote for several newspapers and magazines about Palestinian-Israeli affairs and was a correspondent for the Spectator from 2000-2003.


A reader only vaguely aware of the reality behind the headlines will find much that is observant and saddening in her vivid portrait of this tribal dispute.

In 2000, Williams journeys with her children to Jerusalem to join her husband, and she soon realizes the magnitude of Middle Eastern unrest. A month after they arrive, the Palestinian Intifada intensifies, and Williams documents the tumultuous effects which the uprisings have on herself and those around her. Her perspective, as one who lived and worked with both Palestinians and Israelis, is portrayed anecdotally, through stories related by friends and coworkers. She addresses the humanity and the hostility while incorporating her own experiences into her narrative.

This book must be one of the most honest accounts of those terrible years. It's proportionate, subtle and comprehensive... biased towards nobody but the voices of moderation and hope.

This intelligent, incisive account... and Williams' cool analysis of the humanity and hypocrisy at the heart of the Israeli/Palestinian fighting is striking

Williams's deeply moving memoir relates the three years her family spent in a Palestinian neighborhood in Jerusalem. Tragically, shortly after the family's arrival in 2000, the second intifada (uprising) erupted, and life in Israel and the occupied territories was shaken by suicide bombings, vicious reprisals, and constant fear. The personal experiences of the author's family are contrasted with the daily violence committed by both Palestinians and Israelis, both sides driven by a sense of victimhood and vulnerability. Williams laments that Israeli dominance and the devastation of the Palestinian economy and community can never provide security; she blames the U.S. media and government for not presenting an honest picture of or a responsible policy for the cruelty and futility of Israeli actions. She frames her memoir with a tourist's perspective on her family's explorations of the countryside, visits to historic sites, and friendships with interesting and compassionate Israelis, Palestinians, and expatriates. VERDICT A beautifully written report of the human costs of the ongoing struggle between two peoples unable to live in peace in the land they both love, focusing on the experiences of fear and suffering, violence and compassion. Highly recommended.

...notable for the depth of observation and insight and for the vividness of the descriptions of particular events and people... a moving and beautifully written book... It will certainly help outsiders to better understand both sides and their struggle.--Brian Urquhart, New York Review of Books

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