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Once Upon a Country


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About the Author

SARI NUSSEIBEH is the president of and a professor of philosophy at Al-Quds University, the only Arab university in Jerusalem. As the Palestine Liberation Organization's chief representative in the city in 2001 and 2002, he advocated a two-state solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict. He lives in Jerusalem.


Philosophy professor and political leader Nusseibeh, as the Oxford and Harvard-educated descendant of an ancient and influential Jerusalem family, draws on deep roots in his account of a dramatically displaced life. That's one reason why, despite his relative privilege, his autobiography dovetails persuasively with the larger story of Palestinian dispossession and struggle in the 20th century. Nusseibeh, as a former PLO representative, also has the vantage of a political insider. Equally instructive are his differences from his fellow Palestinians, many of whom he encountered as his students in the classrooms and cafes at Birzeit University in the West Bank, and later as president of Al Quds University in Jerusalem. These interactions, among others, give shape to the story of this curious but reticent loner's immersion into national politics, which is overshadowed by the memory of his father (a fiercely independent former Jordanian minister and governor of Jerusalem). In relating the Palestinian perspective on the expulsions, expropriations and deprivations during and after the wars of 1948, 1967 and beyond, Nusseibeh convincingly interweaves personal experience and tectonic historical shifts, while charting his own political evolution and eventual and resolute insistence on a two-state solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict. (Apr.) Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.

From his unique perspective-his father was Jerusalem's mayor and he himself was appointed by Arafat to run the city's Arab sector-Nusseibeh makes his case for a two-state solution to the anguish in the Middle East. Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

"One of the best personal accounts of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict ever written . . . A fascinating and deeply intelligent memoir." --Ethan Bronner, The New York Times"There are villains and victims, patriots and fools, war and peace, betrayal and corruption, and an inevitable romance. . . . The book dramatizes recent history in Palestine as few others have done." --Amos Elon, The New York Review of Books"Terrific . . . highly recommended for those who want to appreciate the dilemma of the Palestinian democrat." --Christopher Hitchens, Slate"A deeply admirable book by a deeply admirable man." --Leon Wieseltier, The New York Times Book Review"Once Upon a Country is an often enthralling book, with a lucid unfolding of the issues and subtle analysis of the games played by both sides. . . . This complicated man--shrewd, idealist, pragmatic, dreamer, peaceful warrior---is very much worth knowing." --Charles Matthews, San Francisco Chronicle"Captivating . . . Once Upon a Country is a magnificent study of hope under siege." --Robert Malley, The Washington Post"A bighearted, admirable, and exceptionally interesting account of Nusseibeh's struggle for an equitable peace in a conflict in which compromise is often interpreted as treason. This is a rare book." --Jeffrey Goldberg, Los Angeles Times"Once Upon a Country is a subtle, sad, and humorous memoir that casts a fresh light on the Israeli-Palestinian tragedy and a vivid picture of Palestinian society as well." --Amos Oz, author of A Tale of Love and Darkness

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