OVERRIDE

Once Upon a Country

A Palestinian Life

Sari Nusseibeh with Anthony David

Picador

A Washington Post Best Book of the Year
A San Francisco Chronicle Notable Book of the Year
A Christian Science Monitor Best Book of the Year
 
In Sari Nusseibeh’s autobiography, his dramatic life story and that of his embattled country converge in a work of great passion, depth, and emotional power.
 
Nusseibeh was raised to represent his country. His family’s roots in Palestine traced back to the Middle Ages, and his father was the governor of Jerusalem. Educated at Oxford, he was trained to build upon his father’s support for coexistence and a negotiated solution to the problems of the region.

But the wars of 1967 and 1973 spelled the beginning of the end for the vision of a unified Palestine—and Nusseibeh’s response to these events, and to those that followed, gives us the recent history from a Palestinian point of view. From his time teaching side by side with Israelis at Hebrew University through his appointment by Yassir Arafat to administer Arab Jerusalem, he holds fast to a two-state solution, even as the powers around him insist that it is impossible. As Palestine is torn apart by settlements and barricades, corruption and violence, Nusseibeh remains true to the ideals of his youth, determined to keep hold of some faint hope for the life 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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    Once Upon a Country

    A Palestinian Life

    Sari Nusseibeh with Anthony David

    • Trade Paperback

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    Picador

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