Prospect review (UK)

By Ben Judah June 16, 2016 The Hebrew of the Israeli Defence Force (IDF) is very different from the kind I was taught at synagogue. Wounded soldiers are “flowers.” Dead soldiers are “oleanders,” “their dicks were broken.” “Lebanon,” for the Israeli writer Matti Friedman’s generation, means not just...

Globe and Mail review

By Matt Lennox May 20, 2016 The term “asymmetric warfare” refers to any conflict where there is a large disparity between belligerents. This disparity may be reflected in size, organization, equipment, tactics, strategic objectives and even philosophical beliefs. To put it a little more crudely, asymmetric warfare...

Mother Jones interview

By Max J. Rosenthal May 21, 2016 In 1999, a Canadian-Israeli teenager named Matti Friedman went to war as an Israeli soldier. He manned a small hilltop outpost called the Pumpkin, one of a string of Israeli bases that stretched across southern Lebanon and served as both...

Christian Science Monitor review

By David Holahan May 4, 2014 Matti Friedman, author of Pumpkinflowers: A Soldier’s Story, was there at the beginning, in 1998, fighting for Israel in the non-war against the non-state fighters of Hezbollah in ungoverned south Lebanon. It was, in his telling, the beginning of much of what...

Haaretz review

By Ilene Prusher May 23, 2016 A good war memoir never makes war look glamorous. Rather, it puts you in the shoes of the soldier or civilian at those incredible moments when life hangs by a thread, unpacks a few of the conflicting political forces at play...

Israel’s Prophetic War (Wall Street Journal review)

By Bret Stephens May 6, 2016 From 1985 to 2000, the Israeli military occupied an 11-mile-deep “security zone” in southern Lebanon, in an effort to prevent the area from becoming a staging ground for attacks by Hezbollah into Israel itself. Some 250 Israeli soldiers were killed fighting...

The Peculiar Language of Soldiers (The Atlantic, May 4, 2016)

JERUSALEM—“We have two flowers and one oleander. We need a thistle.” Listening to the Israeli military frequencies when I was an infantryman nearly two decades ago, it was (and still is) possible to hear sentences like these, the bewildering cousins of sentences familiar to anyone...

New York Times review, April 24, 2016

Review: In ‘Pumpkinflowers,’ a New Style of Middle East Combat By Jennifer Senior, Books of the Times During the 1990s, Matti Friedman and his fellow Israeli soldiers fought in a string of conflicts that never collectively earned a name. These battles existed in historical parentheses, wedged between...

Upcoming events in May 2016

A bunch of events coming up in the U.S. and Canada following the publication of Pumpkinflowers on May 3: May 3, New York, 7pm: A discussion with the great journalist and editor David Samuels at the Manhattan JCC. Details here. May 4, New York, 6pm: A discussion...