Memoires often hold our fascination because they take readers through the details of a different era. They are especially thought-provoking when they focus on revolutionary personas like Shafiq Al-Hout, who played a great role in the Arab-Israeli struggle by founding the Palestinian Liberation Organisation.

For nearly half a century, the PLO aimed at building a democratic state for the Palestinian citizens, helping in formulating armed resistance guidelines against Israel, and, most of all, fighting for Palestinians' rights to return to their home country. From its start to gaining recognition from the UN and beyond, the PLO developed greatly and changed the lives of Al-Hout and his companions.

In My Life in the PLO, major events during that time are documented, more so than personal memories. We learn of Al-Hout's life in details from his childhood up to his attempts to quit smoking in his final years. He also interprets history and social surroundings as well as a chronological account of his life up until he resigned from the PLO in 1993 after the signing of the Oslo agreement.

The autobiography takes us into the undisclosed process of decision-making, offering insight that does not shy away from criticizing Arab leaders, including Yasser Arafat. From disappointments following the Lebanese civil war and violent Israeli raids, to the author’s hope of reawakening with the Hezbollah party, the book recounts the events as if they happened yesterday with the rationale and justifications of a true political expert.

Al-Hout’s dedication to the Palestinian cause shows in every single word that he wrote. Anyone familiar with the Arab world will empathise with the author’s sense of longing for the country of his early childhood to be free of wars and bloodshed. It’s a cause that he devoted his life to, but one that eluded him.