reviewed by Cy Wyss
House Divided is a story of home-grown terrorism. Someone is recruiting American college students to carry bombs to Jewish organizations. The main suspects have to do with a pro-Palestine protest group which claims its methods are purely peaceful. This larger plot is brought down to earth in the Robbins family, where Leonard (a former CIA agent) is recruited to head a task force to investigate the bombings while his daughter Courtney actually belongs to the pro-Palestine group under suspicion.
A weakness of the book is that most of the action takes place at arm’s length, seen through the workings of the taskforce Leonard Robbins is heading. This means there are many briefings, phone calls, and reports for the reader to sift through, as opposed to directly thrilling action. At about 80% we finally get into the direct action as a sub-plot involving the daughter comes to a (predictable) head. I would also say that there are too many starched shirts around, as only a couple of the task force members aside from Leonard are memorable. Yet, in spite of these weaknesses, this book warrants an overall good grade. The writing is smooth with very few errors. The philosophical discussions of the Palestine/Israel conflict alone are worth the read, and as someone not highly versed in the conflict, I appreciated Pollak’s balanced and nuanced views. Overall four stars, a book I recommend reading for its (considerable) strengths.