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Once Upon a Country

A Palestinian Life

Sari Nusseibeh with Anthony David

Picador

A New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice

A teacher, a scholar, a philosopher, and an eyewitness to history, Sari Nusseibeh is one of our most urgent and articulate authorities on the conflict in the Middle East. From his time teaching side by side with Israelis at the Hebrew University through his appointment by Yasir Arafat to administer the Arab Jerusalem, he has held fast to the principles of freedom and equality for all, and his story dramatizes the consequences of war, partition, and terrorism as few other books have done. This autobiography brings rare depth and compassion to the story of his country.

BOOK EXCERPTS

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Chapter One

The Key

WHEN I WAS A CHILD it seemed that everywhere I went I came across traces of my family’s history in Jerusalem. My father once told me that we Nusseibehs came from a long line of thieves. All family dynasties, he explained with an expression between earnestness and jest, can trace their histories back to some act of brigandage. I think he said this because of the pride Arabs often take in their ancient roots. You have to live in the present, Father lectured to me over and over when I was a child. Whereas I never pinned down precisely who the thieves were,

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REVIEWS

Praise for Once Upon a Country

"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

Reviews from Goodreads

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

  • Sari Nusseibeh with Anthony David

  • 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.
  • Sari Nusseibeh Rina Castelnuovo
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Available Formats and Book Details

Once Upon a Country

A Palestinian Life

Sari Nusseibeh with Anthony David

  • Trade Paperback

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FROM THE PUBLISHER

Picador

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