I’d been curious to read this for a short while. I considered buying a copy to read on the flight when I went to Vermont last week, but picked the book about the Iran hostage crisis instead. Then, at my grandmother’s house as I got ready for bed, what should I see on the shelf?
The next day I asked her about it. She said she had loved it. When I asked if I could borrow and read it, she recommended it enthusiastically.
I’m not obsessed with royalty as some are. I consider royals at best to be a quaint throwback of the past. But I am sensitive to the virtues of leadership, even for those whose opportunity to lead seems arbitrary or undeserved. While the «Cinderella story» aspect didn’t do much for me, her reporting of world affairs from her perspective did.
I’m taking her version with a grain of salt, of course. Especially regarding Israel and the Palestinians. Even the things I’ll believe I’ll probably never repeat because if I cite her as a source the fact that she is an Arabist partisan will automatically disqualify anything she wrote to someone with another version of events.
Nonetheless, it was refreshing to read the version of events that goes completely ignored in the U.S. Even Israeli journalists give more voice to debate about the Arab-Israeli conflicts than American journalists do. How many more times do I have to hear about Arafat turning down «the best offer ever proposed»? The Reagan Plan was far more favorable to the Palestinians than anything Clinton’s team dreamed up (try getting that fact past liberals or conservatives in this countryno one wants to hear it). Arafat was a thug and not particularly smart, but not the totally irrational demon he’s made out to be.
Noor eloquently spelled out the frustrations she and most of the rest of the world have with the U.S. without ever pointing the finger of blame or disparaging the U.S. In today’s «with us or against us» climate, articulate, calm opposition is sadly underrepresented.
At times Noor’s accounts are self-indulgent, but hey, what part of memoirs aren’t? I also had the impression she was acutely aware of her readers and took pains to spin events to avoid criticism. Even so, I found it to be a good read and would recommend it.