Scott Anderson and Ari Shavit compare the hundred year old vision and current reality of the Mideast
With an introduction by legendary Miami trial lawyer Alan Kluger, American novelist, journalist, and a veteran war correspondent, Scott Anderson, took the stage at the 2013 Miami Book Fair International along with Israeli reporter and columnist for Haaretz, National Book Award-winning author, and descendant of one of the early Zionist visionairies dating back to 1897, Ari Shavit, to survey the Middle East landscape from 1897 to the present, comparing the early vision to the current reality. Shavit began with a presentation of his award-winning, widely acclaimed, New York Times bestselling history of Israel, My Promised Land (Spiegel & Grau; November, 2013), beginning with his grandfather's visionary quest in 1897 to save the Jewish people, and then walking in his grandfather's footsteps, reflecting on the triumphs and tragedies of Israel in search of new approaches to resolving the conflicts afflicting the Middle East region of the world. Next, Anderson took the stage to offer the backstory of his new bestselling biography of T.E. Lawrence titled Lawrence in Arabia, which was recently released in trade paperback (Anchor/Random House; June, 2014),detailing the role of the diminutive 28-year old Oxford scholar who led a rebel Muslim army against the Turks in World War I, leading to the Paris Peace Conference and the Balfour Resolution of 1917 that has shaped the Middle East for nearly a century. Anderson wrapped the presentation by drawing a line in the sand between T.E. Lawrence's vision of a United Arab Nation and today's agonizing reality. Shavit and Anderson then took questions from the audience on anti-semitism and the road to peace; the internal divisions between ultra-orthodox and liberal democratic Israeli values; the Middle East landscape of Syria, Iran and Israel from the Paris Peace Conference to today and its unintended outcomes; Middle East peace processes and prospects; and two revealing T.E. Lawrence anecdotes concerning Lawrence's refusal to be knighted by the King of England, and how he became a 2nd Lieutenant in the British Army without any military training.
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