The Way to the Spring

Life and Death in Palestine

Ben Ehrenreich

Published: 30 March 2017
Paperback, B Format
129x198mm, 448 pages
ISBN: 9781783783113


Over the past three years, American writer Ben Ehrenreich has been travelling to and living in the West Bank, staying with Palestinian families in its largest cities and its smallest villages. He has witnessed the extremes to which they are pushed, the daily deprivation and oppression that they face, and the strategies they construct to survive it - stoicism, resignation, rebellion and stubborn defiance. In The Way to Spring, he describes the cruel mechanics of the Israeli occupation and the endless absurdities and tragedies it engenders: the complex and humiliating machinery of the checkpoints, walls, courts and prisons; the steady, strangling loss of land that has been passed down for generations; the constant ebb and flow of deadly violence.

Blending political and historical context with riveting personal stories, The Way to Spring is a testimony, a provocation, and an unflinching act of witnessing.

About the author

Image of Ben Ehrenreich

Ben Ehrenreich is the author of two novels, Ether and The Suitors. His writing has appeared in Harper's, the New York Times Magazine and the London Review of Books, among others. A recipient of the National Magazine Award, he lives in Los Angeles. More about the author


‘A chillingly beautiful, albeit heartbreaking, chronicle of Palestinian life in the West Bank. It's written with immense empathy, but is equally grounded, and urgently real’ Yasmine El Rashidi



‘An astonishing book. And that's shocking in itself: Ben Ehrenreich takes a detailed, up-close look at the lives of people whose ordeal, though relentless, remains, most of the time, just below the radar of our governments and mass media. We generally pride ourselves on our willingness to speak for the disadvantaged, but remain truculent and evasive in the case of Palestinians. There can be no more excuses, if The Way to the Spring is given the widespread attention it deserves, for such uncharacteristic moral cowardice’ Robert Wyatt

‘Ben Ehrenreich's rendition of the Palestinian experience is powerful, deep and heartbreaking, so much closer to the ground than the Middle East reporting we usually see. I wish there were more writers as brave’ Adam Hochschild, author

‘I loved The Way To The Spring. Ehrenreich is excellent on the nuances of suffering and survival. The book is to be read with acceptance, subtlety and an open mind - just as it was written’ Bidisha

‘Mr Ehrenreich did not set out to write an objective book; he does not even think it is possible. This is simply a description, details [...] of what the facts on the ground look like if you are one of a particular group of Palestinians in the West Bank. It should be read by friends and foes of Israel alike’

‘Powerful... Palestinian lives matter to Ehrenreich, and he writes about them from the bottom-up, with hard-boiled lyricism, novelistic intimacy and a revolutionary's sense of urgency. [This] is more than a work of journalism. It is a freedom song, burning with humanity... Heartbreaking and joyful’ Adam Shatz

‘So much has been written about the occupation of the Palestinian territories by Israel but rarely with such vividness, eloquence and success in illuminating complex historical and political realities. The Way to the Spring is a superbly intelligent, informative and critical book about one of the fundamental issues of our time’ Raja Shehadeh

‘The myriad ordeals suffered by the Palestinian people during the last eighty years are minutely reported here. It's a chronicle of their daily lives. Read it! It recognises and respects hope’ John Berger

‘Written with fire in the belly and a hawk's eye for the telling fact. The Way to the Spring is an unforgettable read but not an easy one, full of uncomfortable and inconvenient truths. Ehrenreich's great talent is for testimony; the individual human stories that disrupt gross injustice by asking questions about morality, legality and the actual historical record. Ehrenreich's non-fiction debut is a powerful and unwavering pursuit of the through-lines of freedom’ Rachel Holmes

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