KCRW and Writers Bloc Present Lawrence Wright with Madeleine Brand
At the Writers Guild Theater. 135 S. Doheny Drive, Beverly Hills.
Hosted with KCRW. Lawrence Wright and Madeleine Brand: Thirteen Days in September: Carter, Begin and Sadat at Camp David
As the Middle East blazes in conflicts, it seems as if progress is impossible in attaining peace. But Lawrence Wright, journalist and frequent contributor to The New Yorker, takes us back to 1978, when President Jimmy Carter hosted Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin and Egyptian President Anwar Sadat. The surprising result was a peace accord, and 36 years later, it still holds. Peace between Israel and Egypt seemed remote at best. But after thirteen days, hunkered down at Camp David, the cultural conflicts, wounds suffered and grievances sliced open yet again, an unprecedented peace emerged. How did this happen? How did these three men and their aides manage to scrape together something that Israel and Egypt would embrace? Lawrence Wright tells the story better than anyone could. An expert in Arab policy and culture, Wright takes us through the thirteen days in September, each day rife with awkwardness, potential for abandonment, but each day full of personal and unmovable goals. But what they also possessed was commitment to an agreement, stubbornly shepherded by President Carter.
This book reminds the reader of the struggle to form the state of Israel during the British Mandate, and what was behind itthe "freedom fighters" of the Haganah, the Irgun and the Stern Gang committing what could now be called terrorist acts on British soldiers and property in Palestine. Israel's early leaders proudly sprung from these independence groupsBegin from the Irgun. Wright explores the layered deceptions in the complex politics of the Middle East, compounded by the aspect of the ancient, almost tribal grudges throughout the regiondeception that would lead to Egypt's astonishingly rapid and humiliating defeat in the six day war. And Jimmy Carter, living through a difficult and unpopular presidency, was a devout Christian schooled in Bible stories the tale of David and Goliath a longtime favorite. We attach a few sentences from Wright's preface, which tells you why you must read this book to help in your understanding of today's most complicated Middle East:
"Three men, representing three religions, met for thirteen days at the presidential retreat of Camp David in the autumn of 1978 in order to solve a dispute that religion itself had largely caused. Beliefs built on ancient texts and legends conspired to create one of the most obdurate conflicts of modern times, one that has drowned the Middle East in a timeless blood feud, brought the superpowers of the time to the brink of nuclear war, flooded the region with refugees, and spawned terrorist movements that have created mayhem and heartbreak all over the world. This book is an account of how these three flawed men, strengthened but also encumbered by their faiths, managed to forge a partial and incomplete peace, an achievement that nonetheless stands as one of the great diplomatic triumphs of the twentieth century and one that has yet to be repeated." If we had more space, the temptation can barely be resisted to reprint chapters four and five in their entirety.
Madeleine Brand is the host of KCRW's popular noon-time show, Press Play. She covers politics, pop culture and everything in between. Madeleine is a most thorough and brilliant interviewer, who seems to effortlessly lead us to the heart of the matter in moments.
The Writers Guild Theater (View)
135 South Doheny Drive
Beverly Hills, CA 90211
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