Adam LeBor

Divided City

Crossing Mandelbaum Gate: Coming of Age Between the Arabs and Israelis, 1956–78


Simon & Schuster 425pp £17.99 order from our bookshop

All borders are arbitrary, but those carving up the fractious nations of the Middle East seem the most capricious of all. Consider, for example, the shape of Jordan. The country is composed of a long stretch of territory, the western side of which runs alongside the river Jordan; to the east, a long chunk of land lurches upwards, towards Iraq, while another points down towards Saudi Arabia. The story goes that Winston Churchill delineated the new state’s territories after a long and rather liquid lunch and hiccuped as he drew the necessary lines on the map. In fact, strategic considerations were important: the long stretch of land reaching to Iraq helped ensure British control over the vital air corridor to India.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • Whom did Picasso label a 'bristly pig'? Read Rosalind P Blakesley's review of The Collector by Natalya Semenova to… ,
    • Alexandra Gajda on Anna Beer's new biography, Patriot or Traitor: The Life and Death of Sir Walter Ralegh ,
    • Mark Lawson reviews @jonathancoe's Middle England - The Rotters' Club for our Brexit age. ,
    • 'Behind every book that is published lies ... a haunted landscape, populated by the ghosts of things written and ex… ,
    • 'We once more live in a great age of dragon invention' Here's Tom Shippey on Martin Arnold's The Dragon ,
    • RT : Man at the q&a part of the book panel: Don't say it Don't say it Don't say it Don't say it Don't say it Don't s… ,
    • Here's @epkaufm's Whiteshift, reviewed in this month's magazine by ,