A Small Door Set in Concrete: One Woman's Story of Challenging Borders in Israel/Palestine

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University of Chicago Press
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About the Author

Ilana Hammerman is an editor at Achuzat Bayit Publishing House in Israel and was editor-in-chief at Am Oved Publishing House. She writes a column for the Israeli newspaper Haaretz. Hammerman is the author of five books: Nazism as Reflected in Contemporary German Literature; Soldiers in the Land of Ishma'el: Stories and Documents; Cancer Zone of No Return; From Beirut to Jenin 1982/2002; and In Foreign Parts: Trafficking Women in Israel. She is also a prominent translator from French and German into Hebrew.


"Intense, heartbreaking, and filled with memories of shared laughter and tears, A Small Door Set in Concrete is the work of a sensitive, courageous soul. Its stories of injustice and oppression might be overwhelming were it not for Hammerman's example of facing it all with compassion and courage. Her text demands to know why nothing is being done and calls upon the world to effect change through the power of mass civil disobedience."-- "Foreword Reviews"
"This is a forceful and weighty book . . . written in a quiet, personal voice, and with humor. It is a documentary book, but it is written like literature in the full sense of the word. It produces in the reader--at least it did in this reader--empathy and emotion, and it reads like a powerful, consciousness-changing novel."--David Grossman, author of To the End of the Land "Praise for the Hebrew edition"
"At the heart of the book is a woman on her own, free, inquisitive, friendly, who drives children to the sea so that they can see it for the first time, and who meets families and friends and officials and speaks with them and observes them. A woman who is capable of 'ridiculing fears and prejudices, of crossing barriers of walls and fences with her body, her spirit, and her mind, and of defying limitations that reside in the soul--limitations of submission and obedience, and especially of fear--and vanquishing them.'"--Omri Herzog, Haaretz "Praise for the Hebrew edition"
"If you want a book whose words are clear and simple and which says things that come out of a wise heart, this is a book for you. . . . Hammerman is not boring for one moment: her book is vibrant, personal, and relevant, and its intensity is tangible under the surface. Sometimes the descriptions become fine literature by virtue of the narrative ease, with the anger neutralized. It is not the storyteller who is shouting, it is the story that cries out without raising its voice."--Talma Admon, Maariv "Praise for the Hebrew edition"
"I am torn while I read it. I weep. . . . The writing is so honest and so lovely. It is as if there is no other way to seduce the horror. But please, do read it."--Lea Aini, author of Bat ha-Makom "Praise for the Hebrew edition"