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A groundbreaking portrait of contemporary Israel, revealing the polyphonic diversity of this extraordinary yet volatile nation by weaving together personal histories of ordinary citizens from all walks of life.

Twelve Tribes Front Book Cover

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“These illuminating conversations with a wide variety of ordinary people — ultra-Orthodox Jews, Holocaust survivors, aging kibbutzniks, Ethiopian and Russian immigrants, Arab citizens of Israel, Jewish settlers and Palestinians in the West Bank — fill the pages of this richly descriptive book. Michaeli allows his subjects to speak for themselves and largely eschews editorializing. … It is refreshing, therefore, to read a book about the lives of actual Israelis, which brings their cacophonous voices, rather than the author’s opinions, to the fore.”
– Dov Waxman, New York Times Book Review

“In Twelve Tribes, Ethan Michaeli proves he is a master portraitist – of lives, places, and cultures."

— EVAN OSNOS, New York Times bestselling author of Age of Ambitionwinner of the National Book Award

Ethan Michaeli portrait

Ethan Michaeli is an award-winning author, journalist and university lecturer.


His first book, "The Defender: How the Legendary Black Newspaper Changed America" (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2016), was praised by The New York Times as “a towering achievement that will not be soon forgotten.” That same year, "The Defender" was named as a Notable Book by The New York Times, the Washington Post and Amazon, won the Best Nonfiction prizes from the Chicago Writers Association as well as the Midland Authors Association, and was placed on the short list of the Mark Lynton Prize.

Giving voice to the voiceless, the Chicago Defender condemned Jim Crow, catalyzed the Great Migration, and focused the electoral power of Black America.

The Defender front book cover

the defender

Official Website of Award-Winning Author
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