Children of the Stone: The Power of Music in a Hard Land

Sandy Tolan. Bloomsbury, $28 (480p) ISBN 978-1-60819-813-9
In 1988, a photograph of an eight-year-old Palestinian boy poised to throw a stone became a widely reproduced symbol of the first Palestinian intifada. This eye-opening book from Tolan (The Lemon Tree) follows that boy, Ramzi Hussein Aburedwan, through his dramatic young adulthood. As Tolan reports, Aburedwan eventually left the Ramallah refugee camp where he grew up to study the viola, attending a New Hampshire summer camp on scholarship in 1997. Later, he was invited by Daniel Barenboim, an Israeli pianist and conductor, to join the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra. Barenboim, in partnership with close friend Edward Said, founded the orchestra as a step toward peaceful coexistence, with Israelis and Arabs playing music together. Aburedwan, however, became frustrated with the orchestra’s neutral stance during Israel’s 2006 war with Lebanon and left to pursue his own dreams, opening a music school, Al Kamandjati, in Ramallah. Tolan’s exhaustive research and journalistic attention to detail shine through every page of this sweeping chronicle. While the narrative could have been tightened at some points, there’s no denying that Aburedwan’s story forces readers to be thoughtful. Agent: David Black, David Black Agency. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 01/05/2015
Release date: 04/21/2015
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 480 pages - 978-1-63286-341-6
MP3 CD - 978-1-5226-5886-3
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