I’m hoping to read three books with students who will be participating in the trip to Israel/Palestine in May 2012.
The first I’ve already decided on, and it is A Hitchhiker’s Guide to Jesus: Reading the Gospels on the Ground by Bruce Fisk. I’m also using it as a textbook in my historical Jesus class. Its focus on the historical Jesus in connection with actual sites in the Holy Land makes it seem an ideal choice to cover the historical Jesus aspect of the visit.
I would like to have two other books which focus more on the Jewish/Israeli and Arab/Palestinian histories and perspectives on the current situation. On the one hand, there are so many histories of Israel and of the Palestinians that I feel spoiled for choice. On the other hand, there are volumes that look promising but which may somewhere within them have contents that would be unhelpful for mediating reliable information as well as the perspectives of constituents in the region to undergraduate students traveling there for the first time.
Since there are lots of readers of this blog whose reading and travel experience is relevant to this, I thought I’d put the question to you. Do you have any books you can recommend that would be good for this sort of audience, preparing for a short-term study abroad experience, to help them understand the history of the people they will meet on the trip and get the most out of their time there?