Freedom and Despair

Notes from the South Hebron Hills

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Pub Date Oct 04 2018 | Archive Date Nov 01 2018

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Description

Lately, it seems as if we wake up to a new atrocity each day. Every morning is now a ritual of scrolling through our Twitter feeds or scanning our newspapers for the latest updates on fresh horrors around the globe. Despite the countless protests we attend, the phone calls we make, or the streets we march, it sometimes feels like no matter how hard we fight, the relentless crush of injustice will never abate.
 
David Shulman knows intimately what it takes to live your beliefs, to return, day after day, to the struggle, despite knowing you are often more likely to lose than win. Interweaving powerful stories and deep meditations, Freedom and Despair offers vivid firsthand reports from the occupied West Bank in Palestine as seen through the eyes of an experienced Israeli peace activist who has seen the Israeli occupation close up as it impacts on the lives of all Palestinian civilians.
 
Alongside a handful of beautifully written and often shocking tales from the field, Shulman meditates deeply on how to understand the evils around him, what it means to persevere as an activist decade after decade, and what it truly means to be free. The violent realities of the occupation are on full display. We get to know and understand the Palestinian shepherds and farmers and Israeli volunteers who face this situation head-on with nonviolent resistance. Shulman does not hold back on acknowledging the daily struggles that often leave him and his fellow activists full of despair. Inspired by these committed individuals who are not prepared to be silent or passive, Shulman suggests a model for ordinary people everywhere. Anyone prepared to take a risk and fight their oppressive political systems, he argues, can make a difference—if they strive to act with compassion and to keep hope alive.
 
This is the moving story of a man who continues to fight for good in the midst of despair. An indispensable book in our era of reactionary politics and refugee crises, political violence and ecological devastation, Freedom and Despair is a gripping memoir of struggle, activism, and hope for peace.
 

Lately, it seems as if we wake up to a new atrocity each day. Every morning is now a ritual of scrolling through our Twitter feeds or scanning our newspapers for the latest updates on fresh horrors...


A Note From the Publisher

**UNCORRECTED PROOFS—ADVANCED READERS COPY**

**UNCORRECTED PROOFS—ADVANCED READERS COPY**


Advance Praise

“With the skills of a novelist, Shulman moves effortlessly in time and thought, shifting from vivid thumbnail sketches of individual people to beautifully rendered depictions of the stark landscape to a relentless form of self-interrogation. The combined force of the immediacy of Shulman’s dispatches, on the one hand, the deep reflectiveness of his essays on the other, and the elegance and economy of the book’s construction combine to make Freedom and Despair a book that will appeal not only to students of the Middle East, but also readers in moral philosophy, critical inquiry, education, the social sciences, and the long line of literature of civil disobedience. And for all Americans in the new Trump era who are asking themselves, “What can I do and how do I deal with my despair?”—Freedom and Despair is essential.”—Gabriel Levin, author of The Maltese Dreambook

“With the skills of a novelist, Shulman moves effortlessly in time and thought, shifting from vivid thumbnail sketches of individual people to beautifully rendered depictions of the stark...


Available Editions

EDITION Other Format
ISBN 9780226566658
PRICE $18.00 (USD)
PAGES 224

Average rating from 8 members


Featured Reviews

4 stars

“Freedom and Despair offers vivid firsthand reports from the occupied West Bank in Palestine as seen through the eyes of an experienced Israeli peace activist who has seen the Israeli occupation close up as it impacts on the lives of all Palestinian civilians”.

The stories within this memoir are utterly heartbreaking. Freedom and Despair is actually quite hard to read because of the pain within the story. The treatment of Palestinian people is maddening and yet there is so much beauty within the pain. I was so deeply affected by the utter unfairness and hate. Yet, the snatches of kindness and decency from both sides of the conflict was also deftly shown within some of the stories. The author has done a very good job showing the pain, the hurt, the unjustified and the tragedy that lay within the borders of these citizens lives. I am so utterly astonished at the unbelievable courage and fortitude of these people.

I recommend this book to anyone who is interested in the lives and the stories behind the news headlines.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from University of Chicago Press through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own. #FreedomandDespair #NetGalley

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