Books to read prior to going to Israel

I just finished reading Power, Faith, & Fantasy, America in the Middle East from 1776- Present by Michael B. Oren. Excellent for a good review of America's long involvement in the Middle East. Another one that cause me to change my views regarding Israel and the Palestinians is: My Promised Land, Triumph and Tragedy in Israel by Ari Shavit. This is a MUST READ.


  • Israel is Real. Author:Rich Cohen.

  • Could someone please also offer suggestions on reading material for Egypt and the pyramids? Thank you.

  • edited March 2020

    It depends on what you are looking for. If you want a book with a lot of history, dynasties, pharaohs, temples, pyramids, etc. etc. and bajillion fabulous color photos and drawings get the Encyclopedia of Ancient Egypt edited by Helen Strudwick. Read more about it in my December 2019 post which is a few posts down on Page 1 of the thread at this link:

  • Thanks, AlanS!

  • Exlandlubber - if you email [email protected], we can email you the reading list we have compiled for our Egypt tours.

    Tauck Kristen

  • I re-read two historical novels, "The Source" by James Mitchner and "Exodus" by Leon Uris (both of which I had read 30+ years ago) before my recent trip. I was glad that I had done so.

  • I just finished reading, "Israel: A simple guide to the most misunderstood country on Earth," by Noa Tishby.

    It's an excellent book and easy reading.

    One interesting tie to the Israel/Jordan tour: The author talks about her grandmother's journey from Russia to pre-Israel in the early 1900s, eventually winding up living her life on Israel's first kibbutz. We visited that kibbutz (Degania) on the tour!

  • My book is on its way!

  • I just ordered a copy as well.

  • I, too, enjoyed Tishby's book. I can also recommend "The Lemon Tree" by Sandy Tolan for a better understanding of the Israeli-Palentinian problem and "Apeirogon" by Colum McCann, which he describes as a novel, but most of it is the true story of how two fathers reacted to the deaths of their daughters at the hands of "the other side." There are YouTube interviews with McCann about the book, and one of them includes interviews with the two fathers. I have to warn you that "Apeirogon" is the most unusual book I have ever read, and you may love it (as I do) or hate it. I would understand either reaction. (I read all 3 of these books after having returned home from Israel & Jordan in March 2020.)

  • MCD, Would you recommend reading these books before or after the tour?
    I sometimes appreciate a book after I have experienced the destination first

  • British, I would say "both." Because of Covid, we didn't make it into the West Bank, which is part of the Israel & Jordan tour, but I hope to get there this coming March. I will say that when I read "Apeirogon," I remembered having walked (on my own time; not part of the Tauck tour) on the street in Jerusalem where Smadar Elhanen had been killed. It was pretty powerful in hindsight, and I imagine it would have been powerful to have walked that street after having read the book.

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