Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO)
By tracing the colonial impact on Palestine from the Balfour declaration through to the current Israeli government policies, and interweaving that story with his own family history, Rashid Khalidi has written a remarkable book. It is at once a personal/family memoir and a skilled historical analysis. Rather than distracting from the bigger picture, the personal anecdotes add flavour and analytical depth to the historical narrative. The Khalidi family is an influential Palestinian family and their presence in the story is therefore warranted, whether it is the tale of his father who passed on the message to Jordan's King Abdullah I that the Palestinians did not want to be under his tutelage; the story of how the young Rashid Khalidi was present in Beirut during the Israeli bombardment in 1982; or the details from the Madrid negotiations where the author participated. All of these are momentous events in Palestinian history and the reader is brought into the room, as it were, via the personal stories. As an overarching narrative The Hundred Years' War is convincing. The selection of episodes of war – 1948, 1967, 1982 etc. – with a focus on the colonial continuity between these wars, highlights how the Palestinians have not merely suffered from a series of singular defeats; rather, there has been a continuous policy which has disadvantaged them. Khalidi does not shy away from discussing Palestinian errors along the way. Instead, he discusses them with a deep sincerity, while emphasizing how the cards have been greatly stacked to their disadvantage. I can recommend this book to newcomers and seasoned experts alike.