“Perhaps the best book I can think of for thoughtful people to read about Israel and Palestine.”
— Prof. Laura Levitt: author, American Jewish Loss after the Holocaust
“This compelling and compassionate book offers fresh insight into how these divergent histories reverberate in Israel today.”
— Mubarak Awad: founder, Palestinian Center for the Study of Nonviolence
SECOND PLACE: DAYTON LITERARY PEACE PRIZE (NON-FICTION) 2014
FINALIST: US NATIONAL JEWISH BOOK AWARDS 2013
“Jo Roberts’ theories on social suffering and memory narrative resonate across history and culture. Readers from every region in the world will find parallels to their own and gain understanding. As I read, I was applying her analysis to situations with which I am intimately familiar, from post-colonial Africa to recent events in American inner cities. Just as we might be tempted to think there is nothing new to learn about modern Israel and the Palestinian conflict … comes this lyrical and balanced book advocating a path towards reconciliation based on the notion that a fractured relationship can only heal when both parties open themselves to regard the pain of the other.”
— Faith Adiele: 2014 Dayton Literary Peace Prize finalist judge
“I couldn’t put it down… I was utterly absorbed. Jo is a beautiful writer, and this is a book with great heart, written by a journalist whose empathy for humanity is evident on every page. It is her patience and her curiosity that compel this book, and as a reader you simply can’t stop turning the pages.”
— Gilbert King: Pulitzer-Prize-winning author of The Devil in the Grove
Contested Land, Contested Memory opens in Palestine, in 1948: As Jewish refugees, survivors of the Holocaust, struggle towards the new State of Israel, Arab refugees are fleeing, many under duress. Sixty years later, the memory of trauma has shaped both peoples’ collective understanding of who they are.
After a war, the victors write history. How was the story of the exiled Palestinians erased — from textbooks, maps, even the land? How do Jewish and Palestinian Israelis now engage with the histories of the Palestinian Nakba (“Catastrophe”) and the Holocaust, and how do these echo through the political and physical landscapes of their country?
Vividly narrated, with extensive original interview material, Contested Land, Contested Memory examines how these tangled histories of suffering inform Jewish- and Palestinian-Israeli lives today, and frame Israel’s possibilities for peace.