A prominent Palestinian's searching, anguished, deeply affecting autobiography, in which his life story comes to be the story of the recent history of his country.
Sari Nusseibeh's autobiography is a remarkable book - one in which his dramatic life story and that of his embattled country converge in a work of great passion, depth, and emotional power. Nusseibeh was raised to represent his country. His family's roots in Palestine traced back to the Middle Ages, and his father was the governor of Jerusalem. Educated at Oxford, he was trained to build upon his father's support for coexistence and a negotiated solution to the problems of the region.
But the wars of 1967 and 1973 spelled the beginning of the end for the vision of a unified Palestine and Nusseibeh's response to these events, and to those that followed, gives us the recent history from a Palestinian point of view as no book has done. From his time teaching side by side with Israelis at Hebrew University through his appointment by Yassir Arafat to administer Arab Jerusalem, he holds fast to a two-state solution, even as the powers around him insist that it is impossible.
As Palestine is torn apart by settlements and barricades, corruption and violence, Nusseibeh remains true to the ideals of his youth, determined to keep hold of some faint hope for the life of his country.
Once Upon a Country is a book with the scope and vitality of an old-fashioned novel - one whose ending is still uncertain.