Review: Son of Hamas by Mosab Hassan Yousef

September 24, 2012 in Books · 0 comments

Yousef, Mosab Hassan. (2010). Son of Hamas: A Gripping Account of Terror, Betrayal, Political Intrigue, and Unthinkable Choices. Carol Stream: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.

An absolutely amazing story conveyed in an absolutely mediocre manner. Mosab Hassan Yousef, the son of one of the founders of Hamas, a key operative in that organization, an Israeli spy and finally a professing Christian living in America, has lived an extraordinary life, witnessing events first-hand that most people only see on the evening news.

His experiences put him in a unique position to comment on the ongoing Arab-Israel conflict. Unfortunately Son of Hamas provides only a glimmer of insight — it lacks substance, depth and any sort of meaningful struggle with the issues at hand. Perhaps this is due to Yousef’s language abilities (he was “assisted” by an American writer) — the book abounds with typos, awkward phrases and poor writing. But more than that, it never connects at an emotional level. Even while describing horrific events in the ongoing conflict, I felt left at a distance and never truly drawn in to the story.

I also felt as if something was missing. Obviously he left out the details of many events for security reasons, but I’m referring to something deeper — motivations and feelings were left murky and vague. Why did he really do what he did? What were the real motivations behind his actions? At times Mosab tells us, but it is simply that: telling, and not showing. I was left wondering not only about what he left out and why, but also about the sincerity and truth of what he decided to include. Yousef’s story confirmed something I already knew: there is plenty of blame to go around on all sides of the Arab-Israel conflict. But rather than probe the true roots and potential solutions to that extraordinarily complex conflict, this book offers a superficial account of a situation that continues to defy superficial solutions.

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