... combines deft analysis with open inquiries in search of the emotional truth beneath the conflict ... Part travelogue, part cultural critique, and always challenging, Harris’s book has insights into a tangled and difficult region. It is dense work, in keeping with the layers of history and context it presents. Splashes of humor make it more approachable and understandable ... The families’ stories illuminate history, breaking it up into heartbreaking, real-life decisions and challenges, as when a mother decides not to let her children take the bus to school because of bus bombings. Such telling details move the Israeli-Palestinian conflict beyond talking points ... Written with a journalist’s candor, an anthropologist’s awareness, and a historian’s sweeping gaze, the beauty of the book comes from how it breaks open old assumptions about what Israel-Palestine means. There are no clear heroes or villains in this history, although there is plenty of heroism and tragedy for both sides to share ... In Jerusalem’s willingness to go beyond stereotypes makes it a worthy title to help those struggling to understand Jerusalem and its place in the world.
The combination of historical research and conversations with these women and their families creates a distinctive account that shows the ongoing effects of the conflict on generations. Readers interested in seeing beyond stereotypes and political posturing will appreciate.
Harris ably navigates between harsh criticism of the way Israel has treated the Palestinians and knee-jerk support ... Throughout the narrative, the author clearly portrays the enormous bitterness and fear on both sides ... Ultimately, while Harris does her best to represent the Israelis’ righteous struggle to succeed in the country, the stories of the Palestinians’ daily strife to eke out a paltry living are some of the most memorable in the book ... Fair, evenhanded stories of what life is really like in the riven state of Israel.