by Linda Dittmar
A raw and courageous memoir of the 1948 war and its aftermath and searing personal journey to uncover the suppressed traumas, facts, and myths that undergird the so-called Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
When author Linda Dittmar stumbles upon the ruins of an abandoned Palestinian village, she is faced with a past that sits uneasily with her Israeli childhood memories--and the history she was raised never to question.
Tracing Homelands is an intimate, beautifully written account that uncovers inconvenient truths about an embattled Israeli-Palestinian history that is often buried in silence. Its eloquently personal voice charts a reluctant eyewitness' journey to uncover the ruins of Palestinian villages destroyed in the 1948 war, while weaving flashbacks to the author's Israeli youth and Zionist upbringing. A braided narrative told with empathy and unflinching honesty, it reflects on the Palestinian and Jewish lives entwined in this searing history.
As Dittmar revisits the sites and sights of her childhood, her intimate understanding of the 1948 war and its aftermath opens up an inquiry into the language and silence, the seeing and willed not-seeing, that have been obscuring the Nakba and holding peace hostage. Spanning six decades of this history (1942-2008), this story of war and dispossession rests on deep attachment to a land that is claimed by both people. Here the land itself speaks its own truths: a tale told in rocks and mud, pine forests and parched summer grass, and vibrant modernity amid derelict sentinels of its past.
"The memoir Tracing Homelands vividly conveys the unstable psychological ground under the feet of settlers of the 'Promised Land' — land that was — and continues to be — cruelly wrested from its original inhabitants... Readers are pulled along a winding and rocky path to and through the remains (or possible remains) of many destroyed villages - and bits and pieces of their history... The result is a highly original and engrossing exploration of many of the most gruesome events of the Nakba." — Mondoweiss
About the Author:
Linda Dittmar's early years (1939-1960) were marked by the turmoil of war and nation-building as Mandatory Palestine became Israel. Growing into Israeli adulthood, she witnessed the traumatic effects of both the Jews' Holocaust and the Palestinians' Nakba. In the U.S. since 1961, she received her Ph.D. from Stanford University, taught literature and film studies at the University of Massachusetts Boston, and had visiting lectureships in Tel Aviv, India, and elsewhere. Her publications include From Hanoi to Hollywood and Multiple Voices in Feminist Film Criticism. Her work has been recognized by several residencies and distinguished awards, including the Fulbright Foundation and the Massachusetts Cultural Council.