La Guardia, Anton 1961–
La Guardia, Anton 1961–
PERSONAL: Born October 4, 1961, in Rome, Italy; son of Luciano and Carmen (Tuason) La Guardia; married Jane Ksenia Logan, June 18, 1994; children: Gemma Ksenia. Education: University of Bristol, B.Sc., 1983.
ADDRESSES: Office—Daily Telegraph, 1 Canada Sq., Canary Wharf, London E14 5DT, England.
CAREER: South London Press, London, England, reporter, 1984–85; Daily Telegraph, London, journalist, 1986–87, correspondent in Belfast, Ireland, 1987–88, foreign correspondent in Belfast, 1988–91, Middle-East correspondent, 1991–98, diplomatic editor, 1998–.
War without End: Israelis, Palestinians, and the Struggle for a Promised Land, Thomas Dunne Books (New York, NY), 2002.
SIDELIGHTS: A longtime correspondent for the London Daily Telegraph, Anton La Guardia spent eight years in the Middle East as a foreign correspondent. His extensive experience with and knowledge of the region has led him to write two highly praised book about the continuing conflict between Israelis and Palestinians: Holy Land, Unholy War: Israelis and Palestinians and War without End: Israelis, Palestinians, and the Struggle for a Promised Land. Both works seek to explain the reasons why the Palestinians and Israelis are locked in a deadly struggle that appears to have no resolution in the near future. The books have been lauded by critics for offering a balanced view that reveals the strengths and flaws of both sides' arguments.
In Holy Land, Unholy War La Guardia explains the history of the land of Zion and why it is important to the Jews, who sought to return to the Holy Land after the horrors of the Holocaust. The author sympathizes with their plight but also comments that the Israelis have a schizophrenic policy toward other nations: they have argued that they are victims of racial hatred but often play the part of aggressor against their Arab neighbors. Charles Foster, writing in Contemporary Review, called La Guardia's account "one of the finest, most complete books about this heartbreak homeland full of the homeless." The critic further noted, "To have the talent and humility simply to sit, describe, and pity indiscriminately are great things. Anton La Guardia has them; he has produced a magnificent portrait of the land which will become a true classic."
In War without End La Guardia "irreverently describes the jarring contrasts of mythology and reality and the bitter political, sectarian and ethnic strife in the city" of Jerusalem, according to Philip C. Wilcox, Jr. in Middle East Policy. The author explains how both sides—Israelis and Palestinians—are dooming themselves to eternal conflict because they steadfastly refuse to understand the people they are fighting. La Guardia discusses the sad history of the conflict in detail, including five distinct wars separated by lulls, but never cessation, of fighting. Occasionally, hope has arisen, such as with the Oslo accords and the 2002 Camp David summit, in which the international community has tried to intervene. Unfortunately, all these efforts failed, one after another. In the case of Oslo, La Guardia blames the failure of the peace efforts on vague language in the signed document, which made it overly vulnerable to interpretation by extremists. The author blames leaders on all sides, including the United States, for the failure of the Camp David summit. In addition to relatively recent events, he covers Zionist history; explains the traditions of the Muslims, Jews, and Christians who have inhabited the area; and clarifies how the region's ethnically and religiously diverse population presents challenges when finding solutions with which all parties will be satisfied. La Guardia proposes that the only possible answer is for the international community to press for the passage of U.N. recommendations that would create two states sharing the capital of Jerusalem.
Many reviewers had positive comments for War without End. Although Wilcox found some areas of detail lacking, writing that "the Palestinians' evolution from armed struggle to political pragmatism is treated in less detail" than are the changes in Israel, he called La Guardia's work a "fair, compassionate" book that is also "a brilliant work of reporting." Similarly, a Publishers Weekly contributor praised it as "an informed and objective history," and Booklist contributor Jay Freeman concluded, "This is an absorbing but heartbreaking examination of a seemingly endless tragedy."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, May 15, 2002, Jay Freeman, review of War without End: Israelis, Palestinians, and the Struggle for a Promised Land, p. 1572.
Contemporary Review, September, 2002, Charles Foster, "Israelis and Palestinians—One Land, Two Peoples," review of Holy Land, Unholy War: Israelis and Palestinians, p. 179.
Kirkus Reviews, April 15, 2002, review of War without End, p. 546.
Middle East, January, 2002, Fred Rhodes, review of Holy Land, Unholy War, p. 40.
Middle East Policy, summer, 2003, Philip C. Wilcox, Jr., review of War without End, p. 135.
Publishers Weekly, June 24, 2002, review of War without End, p. 53.
Middle East Policy Council Web site, http://www.mepc.org/ (November 27, 2005), review of War without End.