Press & Praise


Co-authors Sami Al Jundi and Jen Marlowe standing outside the mosque in Sami’s native village, Zakariyya
Co-authors Sami Al Jundi and Jen Marlowe standing outside the mosque in Sami’s native village, Zakariyya


A Palestinian’s Peacemaker’s Story
By Ronit Avni, Tikkun, September 23, 2011

Hearing Palestinian Voices
By Emily Hauser, The Jewish Forward, May 31, 2011

Book Review: The Hour of Sunlight
By Pamela Olson, Mondoweiss, March 9, 2011

Kirkus: The Hour of Sunlight
Kirkus Reviews, Dec. 15, 2010

Advanced Reviews:

In this remarkable story of life under Israeli occupation, coauthors al Jundi, cofounder of the Seeds of Peace Center for Coexistence in Jerusalem, and Marlowe (Darfur Diaries) intertwine the personal and the political as they trace al Jundi's evolution from Palestinian

militant to peacemaker. As teenagers, al Jundi and two friends joined the PLO, but when a bomb exploded as they were building it, one boy was killed, and the other two badly injured—and on the receiving end of Israeli interrogations and torture. Sentenced to a decade in prison, al Jundi dedicates himself to an extensive education program maintained by the prisoners themselves, ultimately committing himself to nonviolence and to bridging the Israeli-Palestinian divide. The authors successfully convey al Jundi's joys and sorrows, the triumph of his endurance, the complexity of the conflict, and the necessity of dialogue.
“Publishers Weekly”, Starred Review

A Palestinian kid seething under the occupation, Al Jundi was sentenced at age 18 to 10 years in jail after the bomb he was making went off in his bedroom, killing one friend and injuring another. In prison, he was thrilled to be around other activists; he read the classics, from Dostoevsky to Gandhi and King, the New Testament, the Torah and the Koran; he became close friends with a few Jewish Israeli political prisoners and peaceniks; and, eventually, he changed his politics. Then, on his release, in 1999, he established the Seeds of Peace Center for Coexistence in Jerusalem, aimed at bringing Israeli and Palestinian teens together with respect, tolerance, and dialogue. Stark and immediate, with no glib messages, Al Jundi’s memoir, written with journalist Marlowe, brings today’s headlines very close; he is hopeful about friends, candid about enemies, betrayal, and corruption on all sides. Rooted in the experience of one fighter-peacemaker, this is sure to spark intense debate.”
Hazel Rochman, “Book List”


“This moving memoir vividly portrays aspects of Palestinian life rarely encountered by the English reader: Childhood under occupation in Jerusalem’s Muslim Quarter, the hidden world of Arab security prisoners in Israeli jails, and the stories of Palestinians struggling to transform their oppressive reality through dialogue, nonviolence and cultivation of a shared vision of the future with Israeli Jews. Sami Al Jundi’s story, with its triumphs and tragedy, should be required reading for those who ask, ‘Where are the Palestinian peace activists?’”
- Mohammed Abu-Nimer, Professor of International Peace and Conflict Resolution at American University and Director of The Peacebuilding and Development Institute

“This book is the most authentic account of Palestinian refugees' painful ordeal that I have ever read. It is essential reading for anyone interested in a deep understanding of the Palestinian- Israeli conflict, as well as the fabric of Palestinian and Israeli societies.”
- Akiva Eldar, chief political columnist, Ha’aretz, and author of Lords of the Land

“Both nuanced and realistic, its soaring prose is to be savored by everyone who wonders whether enduring peace can be built. This is a true story, missed by the media.”
- Mary Elizabeth King, author of A Quiet Revolution

“In fiercely compelling prose, Marlowe gives voice to a Sami Al Jundi’s harrowing and redemptive story, cutting through dense thickets of propaganda and historical silence to bring us into a clearing that might very well be The Hour of Sunlight. The clarity achieved here is a gift to statesmen, diplomats, soldiers and militants, peacemakers, teachers and clerics of all faiths, Israelis and Palestinians and all men and women of goodwill.   The writing here is masterly, the story riveting, the achievement profound.”
- Carolyn Forché, author of The Country Between Us, The Angel of History, and Blue Hour.  Professor, Georgetown University

“I expected this book to be illuminating, but I didn’t know it would be so enthralling. Co-authors Sami Al Jundi and Jen Marlowe offer a beautifully-written, insightful account of Al Jundi’s childhood as a Palestinian in Jerusalem, his teenage radicalization, his years in Israeli prisons and his later embrace of nonviolence. The Hour of Sunlight is a refreshingly frank and utterly gripping chronicle of Al Jundi's personal journey that also grapples with the broader social and political developments that make his story so vital.”
- Joanne Mariner, Director of Human Rights Watch's Terrorism and Counterterrorism Program

“This is a fascinating, beautiful, unforgettable memoir. After the romance of insurrection and the school of long years in prison, Sami Al Jundi embarked on perhaps the most revolutionary path of all: a courageous confrontation with the deepest prejudices of both his own Palestinian society and that of Israel, challenging both peoples to recognize the equal humanity of the other. In so doing, he shows us the path to a resolution of this seemingly endless conflict.”
- Roane Carey, Editor, The New Intifada and The Other Israel

The Hour of Sunlight fills an important void in our understanding of entrenched international conflicts by detailing the rare process whereby an extraordinary person develops deep empathy and compassion for an enemy, and then goes one step further to work on the ground to advance peace. The book demonstrates the thinking and leadership qualities that are necessary to resolve the Arab-Israeli conflict.”
- Peter Weinberger, United States Institute of Peace

“This biography is a fascinating story of an ordinary East Jerusalem man. This book personifies the realities of living under Israeli occupation. The continuity of Palestinian suffering comes to live, as this story's generational continuity extends from the Nakba, to occupation, to post-Oslo peace times, to an eventual dead end of despair. For Sami Al-Jundi, the dilemmas of becoming politically-active are more about necessities than choices."
- Dr. Karam Dana, Dubai Initiative Research Fellow, The John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University

Click HERE to purchase The Hour of Sunlight!