cover image The Rise and Fall of a Palestinian Dynasty: The Husaynis, 1700-1948

The Rise and Fall of a Palestinian Dynasty: The Husaynis, 1700-1948

Ilan Pappé, Univ. of California, $29.95 (400p) ISBN 978-0-520-26839-5

Pappé (A History of Modern Palestine) chronicles over two centuries of Palestinian history through the lens of a prominent clan who figured in all aspects of Palestinian life, from the early 1700s through the declaration of the state of Israel. Pappé's depiction of major historical events "through the eyes of the family and not just from an ‘objective' historical perspective" creates an absorbing narrative that retains its integrity as an accurate scholarly account: he wisely resists imagining dialogue and other fiction techniques, instead presenting a straightforward account based on meticulous research. The ubiquitous presence of the Husaynis in Palestinian politics and communities is impressive, from Abd al-Latif, who "controlled every aspect of life in Jerusalem" in the mid-18th century; to Tahir al-Husayni II, a senior religious official who recognized Jewish immigration as a "threat" as early as 1897, when few were immigrating; to Abd al-Qadir, revered for his heroism during the 1948 massacres that cost him his life. With his fourth book on the region and his third about Palestine, Pappé has created a unique and enlightening chronicle of an influential family and the people whose lives they profoundly affected. (Jan.)