UNDERSTANDING THE HOLY LAND
In simple, straightforward language, making no assumptions about any prior knowledge, Frank tackles the task of sorting out the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He begins with a concise political history of the Jews and of the area's Arabs. He tries hard for objectivity, and usually reports feelings on both sides impartially. Occasionally he is less successful. At the outset, for example, he states that "Israelis have controlled all of the land [Israel sits on] for several decades, and Palestinians have fought them to try and take it." Adding the word "back" to the end of that succinct summary would change it radically, and its absence is significant. Nevertheless, the author usually succeeds in representing both sides' hopes and failures in this painful contest. He untangles the complexity by organizing his material effectively. His overall tactic is to use questions as section headings, so that the entire book is a kind of FAQ. Frank includes a helpful glossary (Yom Kippur is missing) and a two-page bibliography of adult books and newspaper and magazine articles. The black-and-white photos and simple maps are few but significant.