cover image Walking Israel: A Personal Search for the Soul of a Nation

Walking Israel: A Personal Search for the Soul of a Nation

Martin Fletcher. St. Martin's/Dunne, $24.95 (320p) ISBN 978-0-312-53481-3

In 2008 British journalist Fletcher (Breaking News: A Stunning and Memorable Account of Reporting from Some of the Most Dangerous Places in the World) took a two-week walk along the entire coastline of Israel intending to provide an honest and first-hand account of its people and coastal communities. To his journalistic credit, Fletcher gives a concise and relatively comprehensive history of the locale before divulging into his subjective experiences. He applies the same thorough research practices to his conversations with the people he meets, and demonstrates a willingness to ask difficult questions ("Will you die in peace?") that elicit telling and emotional responses: the elderly man of whom he asked that question, a former Jewish soldier, responded without words, walking away in tears. Fletcher is recalcitrant in sharing his own political views and instead chooses to focus on how his peripatetic time in Israel affected him, concluding, "I really do love this place," a fact that resonates through this thrilling and thoughtful memoir. (Oct.)