Carl Medearis is the founder and president of International Initiatives, LLC, an organization that promotes cultural, educational, and commercial exchange between the East and the West. He is an advisor on Arab affairs to the members of the U.S. Congress and leaders in international business.
It's taken me a bit of time to figure out if I like or dislike this book. It was a good read. There were things I liked about the book.
I enjoyed reading the transcripts from the interviews (more on that later).
I found the story of Nicole, the daughter of a Palestinian refugee, which weaves through the narrative, fascinating!
I found the history shared intriguing.
I was bothered by Ted's commentary. I wanted to read the interviews and form my own conclusions. I didn't appreciate comments that sought to instruct me on true Christianity and true Islam. I didn't appreciate phrases such as, "so called war on terror"....why? I can form my own opinion on these issues, that wasn't the purpose of THIS book. I was impatient to reach the insightful interviews and answers of leaders in the Muslim world. By the first interview, I was tired of hearing about the danger of this trip. This slowed the pace of the book and left me bored. I began to feel his repeated emphasis on the danger he was in was silly and whiny. He did not HAVE to make this trip if he believed it to be so dangerous. He was making the trip to write a book and earn money. Fine; don't expect a lot of sympathy from me or kudos for bravery on this front. Many of the world's military are going to that part of the country, facing much more danger and talking much less about the danger. It didn't sit well.
The interviews, as I said, were interesting. I felt, however, they often fell short of delving into the heart of the question, "Is it possible to love your enemies?" Most of the interview was filled with things like, "What makes you laugh," "What is your favorite joke"? I understand the technique, but I WANTED to hear insightful answers. Finally, usually near the end of the interview, Ted would lob his question. Often a soft ball answer was given, and Ted didn't follow up. I didn't see questions that led to wrestling with the question, or insightful sharing. I felt the book fell short of really answering the question, "Is it possible to love your enemies?"
To state it plainly….the parts of this book I loved; I loved. Between the interviews, historical snippets and Nicole cameos, I found myself bored.
I would recommend this book if you are looking for an interesting travelogue, are curious about the interviews with Muslim leaders (some were good and thought provoking - I cry each time I pray to God), or want to know more about the history of this part of the world. If you expect to have the question in the title answered you may be disappointed.
Disclaimer: This book was provided for review by the WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group. I receive no payment, other than the book, for posting this review. If you'd like more information, click the link in the sidebar.
Living all of life before the face of God...