More Excerpts from Letters

“The Lemon Tree” is my favorite book, it has a profound effect upon me when I sit down and read a couple chapters. I like reading  just a chapter or two and then reflecting upon the events that they covered.  The lives of both Dalia Eshkenazi and Bashir Khairi, their families, the relationships between them along with the events of the ongoing Palestinian-Israeli conflict are so compelling they can’t help but touch the readers’ very souls.  

- John S. Hancock, Concord, New Hampshire


After reading Sandy Tolan’s well written book, The Lemon Tree, lemons will never taste the same to me. The story of the lemon tree helped me see history in a new light. I saw pain, tragedy and hope of two peoples, sharing same home, same land, and same destiny. Newspapers, politics, history books, told me one side of the story. I grew up as a Jew in Israel learning the story of our peoples from history books. The sixty years of history I believed in were shattered after reading the book. The other, the “enemy,” suffers as much as we, the Jews, did. In fact, there are no winners or losers, no victories or defeats. There are only individual human beings who suffer. The book is written both as a novel and a historical document. Two people, an Arab and a Jew, tell personal narratives that center on the lemon tree, creating an authentic historical portrayal of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. In this book, sour lemons have the potential of bringing people together, when both sides can see the human part in the “other” and perhaps sweeten the flavor of the fruit.

- Rivka Ben Daniel, Los Angeles


I rarely write to authors about my opinion, but after reading The Lemon Tree I am compelled to do so. My wife and I are supporters of Israel however your book was one of the most disturbing experiences we have both had. We were never blinded to some historical omissions and knew much about the acquisition of land in Israel-Tom Segev did an excellent job in some of his works. But by your putting it on a personal level of the two families involved made the situation much more comprehensible. It was impossible to not have compassion and understanding for the other side of the issue…  I do compliment you on your meticulous work which sticks to historic facts and avoids finger pointing in either direction.  

- Peter Dunner, M.D. Potomac, Maryland


…your book vivified and humanized the Palestinian – Israeli situation as none has. It informed and fascinated me. Many, many thanks. Please write another.

- Helen Flaherty, Dublin, CA


I picked up The Lemon Tree at DC’s Politics and Prose and couldn’t put it down…Even though I was raised Jewish, I really didn’t have a good grasp of many of the issues that have been fueling the conflict in the Middle East, and you did a terrific job of providing that background, along with the personal stories of the two families that really gave it poignancy. I didn’t know about so many of the Bulgarian Jews escaping the Holocaust either. Your book left me wanting to know more…Keep up the great work…

- Dorie Hightower,  Silver Spring, Maryland


…I loved reading The Lemon Tree. You talked about how you were raised with an appreciation for the Jewish story but without similar Arab sensitivities. Conversely, I grew up in a country which… censored movies and magazines to eliminate any words, actors, politicians, or historical figures who/which were Jewish …Being a progressive liberal thinker I have tried to leave my learned biases behind. But I have never had the historical framework … to develop the understanding necessary… Reading The Lemon Tree left me finally without blame for either side and with sympathy and pride in both people’s plights.

- Lori Madany Lowes, Michigan


The narrative flows beautifully, simultaneously gripping both the heart and mind. Your descriptions of place and encounters are so rich that I could see the landscape, smell the lemon tree, and feel almost as if I were listening in to the different conversations.

- Sarah Anne Minkin - Berkeley, CA


The Lemon Tree is an agent of change. It is the stimulus to provide Americans with a better understanding of what both sides are trying to protect and why.

- John Bukowsky – Seattle, WA


Today, my neighborhood book club discussed the book. We all agreed that you presented information none of us had known before – such as the Bulgarians saving “their” Jews…. I thank you from my heart for this perspective … thank you, Sandy Tolan, for one of the BEST BOOKS I have ever read in my life. I am a 65-yr-old reader with a degree in English who never watches TV& reads a lot!

- Mary Helen Ellet – Smyrna, GA


…fabulous insight on the Arab-Israeli issue…a fair and balanced touch on that sensitive matter…and unbiased reading to the facts.

- Ashraf Abdoun – Sydney, Australia


…non-fiction at its best. A well-written, objective historical review of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict leads to a story of how an Israeli woman and a Palestinian man become life long friends. ..While reading Dahlia’s letter, I felt as if I had written parts of it myself; her words expressed my own thoughts. …Thank you for The Lemon Tree.

- M. Zivin – Skokie, IL


A group of U.S. women in Cairo, Egypt just finished discussing your book….Thank you for a wonderful book that led our discussion of the present situation both in Israel and the entire region. It is nice to know that small steps between people of goodness can make a difference.

- Carol Wichman – Cairo, Egypt


…perhaps… the only possible way that there can be change….is to continually affirm for ourselves the humanity of the Other. My 15 year old daughter and I have been talking about this…that it must be a conscious choice, and that it must require extraordinary personal resources like courage, honesty, determined compassion, thoughtfulness … It is important to know about individuals who have made this choice. Thank you!

- Kristi Adler – Bellevue, WA


… very informative and at the same time filled with emotions with the just right balance not to be overly sentimental. And still, it made me cry and made me smile. A wonderful reading journey during a very unfortunate time when once again the tanks are on the move and skies of Lebanon and Northern Israel are filled with jets and rockets and thousands are forced to leave their homes and their trees. Your book has given me and reinforced the hope that one day peace finally prevails in this troubled region and people of all nationalities, religions, and races would embrace each other in love and harmony. I thank you very much for that.

- Farzad H., Irvine, CA


… a remarkable book. I couldn’t put it down. It left my heart aching. I cannot look at Israel in the same way as I did before your book.

- JW – Oregon