It's Easier to Reach Heaven than the End of the Street: A Jerusalem Memoir by Emma Williams, Olive Branch Press, Northampton, MA, 2010 (Bloomsbury Publishing, London, 2006); 384 pages, ISBN 978-1566567893, paperback $16.00.
This illuminating memoir gives great insight into the human dimension of the Israeli/Palestinian situation, providing information and insight on what actually goes on in people's lives day to day, and year after year, that is virtually absent from the US and much of the rest of Western media. When the author's husband is assigned by the UN from New York to Israel, the British family of five moves to Jerusalem, into a largely Arab semirural neighborhood in the Forest of Peace. Almost immediately the second Intifada begins and escalated violence and repression become a fact of life, particularly in Arab neighborhoods and cities. A medical doctor, the author soon takes a public health position at a Palestinian hospital in the West Bank, and also works off and on as a journalist. As an Englishwoman she can participate in both the Palestinian and Israeli worlds, making many friends in each, and her book communicates the hopes, fears, and daily realities of both groups. Few books reveal more poignantly and pointedly the urgent need for brotherhood in today's world. I highly recommend it. – Sarah Belle Dougherty