*Starred Review* Laqueur, a veteran historian and journalist, offers a fascinating look at Israel that is part memoir, part history, part commentary. As a 17-year-old in 1938, Laqueur fled Germany and found himself in Israel. Although he has lived elsewhere for much of his adult life, he has regularly traveled to Israel, sometimes spending a few weeks, sometimes working there for years. Perhaps because of this history of coming and going, he is able to look at Israel both objectively and intimately, as visitor and resident. He writes as if he's having a conversation with his reader, and the conversation is wide-ranging: the country's archaeological underpinnings, the evolution of kibbutz life, the lives of the ultraOrthodox, the influence of the Sephardic Jews. Because Laqueur talks with such familiarity on so many topics, readers get both facts and opinions. In the chapter on Jerusalem tourism, for example, Laqueur begins with what the first Baedeker guide (published in 1876) had to say about visiting the city (bring bribes) and goes on to write intriguingly about how tourism has evolved and how visitors react to the city's history, interweaving tensions between the locals and the tourists and examining the fervor that religiosity can evoke, including the Jerusalem syndrome, in which visitors imagine themselves to be people from the Bible. Readers interested in Israel and its history won't want to miss this one.