They had battled and bloodied one another, they had kept secrets, broken hearts, lied, betrayed, exiled, they had walked away, said goodbye and sworn it was forever, and somehow, every time, they had mended, they had forgiven, they had survived. Some mistakes could never be fixed - some, but not all. Some people can't be driven away, no matter how hard you try. Some friendships won't break.
It is essential that Christians understand this: Every Jew - secular, religious, assimilated, left-wing, right-wing - fears being killed because he is Jewish. This is the best-kept secret about Jews, who are widely perceived as inordinately secure and powerful. But it is the only universally held sentiment among Jews.
It's one of the worst-kept secrets of family life that all parents have a preferred son or daughter, and the rules for acknowledging it are the same everywhere: The favored kids recognize their status and keep quiet about it - the better to preserve the good thing they've got going and to keep their siblings off their back.
My three favorite travel writers of all time are Robert Louis Stevenson, Graham Greene, and Chuck Thompson. Smile When You're Lying not only tells the truth about the travel-writing racket, it gets to the heart of some of the travel industry's best-kept secrets.