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ISBN: 978-1-61620-458-7

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On sale date: 04-18-2017

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“A book about young men transformed by war, written by a veteran whose dazzling literary gifts gripped my attention from the first page to the last.”The Wall Street Journal

“Friedman’s sober and striking new memoir . . . [is] on a par with Tim O’Brien’s The Things They Carried — its Israeli analog.”The New York Times Book Review

It was just one small hilltop in a small, unnamed war in the late 1990s, but it would send out ripples that are still felt worldwide today. The hill, in Lebanon, was called the Pumpkin; flowers was the military code word for “casualties.” Award-winning writer Matti Friedman re-creates the harrowing experience of a band of young Israeli soldiers charged with holding this remote outpost, a task that would change them forever, wound the country in ways large and small, and foreshadow the unwinnable conflicts the United States would soon confront in Afghanistan, Iraq, and elsewhere.

Pumpkinflowers is a reckoning by one of those young soldiers now grown into a remarkable writer. Part memoir, part reportage, part history, Friedman’s powerful narrative captures the birth of today’s chaotic Middle East and the rise of a twenty-first-century type of war in which there is never a clear victor and media images can be as important as the battle itself.Raw and beautifully rendered, Pumpkinflowers will take its place among classic war narratives by George Orwell, Philip Caputo, and Tim O’Brien. It is an unflinching look at the way we conduct war today.

Praise

“In Pumpkinflowers: A Soldier’s Story Mr. Friedman has written a top-notch account of this under-analyzed war, persuasively arguing that it heralded a new style of combat in the Middle East, though no one knew it at the time.” —Jennifer Senior, The New York Times

“This superb book is partly a history of the war, partly a personal memoir, and partly a work of political analysis. But mainly it is an effort to tell the story of the young men who fought to defend something “the size of a basketball court”—not all of whom survived. Pumpkinflowers is rich enough to allow different readers to draw their own political conclusions, if they choose to draw them at all. Above all, it is a book about young men transformed by war, written by a veteran whose dazzling literary gifts gripped my attention from the first page to the last.” —Bret Stephens, The Wall Street Journal

“Sober and striking…on par with Tim O’Brien’s “The Things They Carried” – its Israeli analog.” The New York Times Book Review

“…phenomenal…extremely moving…” —Bari Weiss, The Wall Street Journal

"...Compelling..." —Parade.com

Meet The Author

Matti Friedman has been reporting from Israel since 1997, and has written from Lebanon, Morocco, Cairo, Moscow, Washington, D.C., and the former Soviet republic of Georgia. He grew up in Toronto and lives in Jerusalem.

The Aleppo Codex, his first book, was published in 2012 by Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill. It won the 2014 Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish literature, was selected as one of Booklist’s top ten religion books of the year, was awarded the American Library Association’s Sophie Brody Medal and the Canadian Jewish Book Award for history, and was a finalist in the Religion Newswriters Association’s award for best book of the year. Editions have been published or are pending in Israel, Australia, Holland, France, Germany, the Czech Republic, Russia, and South Korea.

Two essays he wrote for Tablet Magazine and The Atlantic about press coverage of Israel in 2014 sparked intense debate, were covered by NPR, CNN, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and dozens of other publications, and have been shared on Facebook more than 100,000 times.