Author(s): Michael B. OrenDownload
Though it lasted for only six tense days in June, the 1967 Arab-Israeli war never really ended. Every crisis that has ripped through this region in the ensuing decades, from the Yom Kippur War of 1973 to the ongoing intifada, is a direct consequence of those six days of fighting. Michael B. Oren’s magnificent Six Days of War, an internationally acclaimed bestseller, is the first comprehensive account of this epoch-making event. Writing with a novelist’s command of narrative and a historian’s grasp of fact and motive, Oren reconstructs both the lightning-fast action on the battlefields and the political shocks that electrified the world. Extraordinary personalities—Moshe Dayan and Gamal Abdul Nasser, Lyndon Johnson and Alexei Kosygin—rose and toppled from power as a result of this war; borders were redrawn; daring strategies brilliantly succeeded or disastrously failed in a matter of hours. And the balance of power changed—in the Middle East and in the world. A towering work of history and an enthralling human narrative, Six Days of War is the most important book on the Middle East conflict to appear in a generation.
Some Reviews: 332 in Goodreads.com
Egyptian and Syrian military incompetence and the sense that Israel’s back was against the wall; these were my impressions of the war as it was acted out. Ambassador Oren’s narrative confirms those vague impressions, but he also provides the detail to flesh out the story. Nervous breakdown, fog of war, big-power politics and numerous other features are added to provide a clear picture of this uniquely short war that is still going on. With maps handy (I used MapQuest’s terrain and satellite maps) it is an easy read that provides a full background, gives just enough operational detail and connects the events of June,1967 to the ongoing Arab-Israeli contest. I recommend it.
Michael B. Oren’s Six Days of War is probably the most comprehensive book published on Israel’s 1967 conflict with the Arab world to date. Painstakingly researched and scrupulously fair, Oren’s strength is dealing with the causes and effects of the war. He discusses every diplomatic move and counter-move that the belligerent countries and their superpower allies (the U.S. and U. S. S. R.) made, and how those decisions impact Middle East policy to this day. Oren is noticeably weaker when discussing the actual tactics of the war, choosing to view the military units as pieces in a diplomatic chess game rather than giving the reader a sense of what the soldier on the ground was feeling, although he does do a fantastic job in describing the climactic battle for Jerusalem.
Six Days is absolutely essential reading for anyone who wants to understand the politics of the region.
This is a wonderfully concise, well-written history of the war between Israel and Egypt, Syria, and Jordan that lasted only six days in June 1967. The Arabs got pounded, and Israel seized the West Bank, Gaza, the Golan Heights, and the Sinai Peninsula. The war, though won by Israel, also brought that country decades of additional strife that continues to this day. It also made the Arab nations more determined to wipe out the Jewish state.
Oren has written a fair history, with all sides presented with no apparent bias or judgment. He gained access to previously undisclosed material, so he has records of internal meetings with all the political parties involved.
And there are lots of them. The Middle East doesn’t exist in a vacuum. Other nations have stuck their noses into the region. In this case, the Soviet Union sided with Egypt and Syria, but only to an extent, never daring to get involved in the actual fighting. The U.S. played a similar role with Israel, pledging undying support but no military involvement. So while outside actors did their best to shape events, the real fighting and dying were done by Israelis, Egyptians, Syrians, and Jordanians.
It’s true the Arab armies were routed, but they did fight hard, especially Jordan’s troops in the West Bank and Syrian soldiers on the Golan. The Israelis could have easily conquered Cairo, Damascus, and Amman, but such actions would have had brought the Jewish state solid international condemnation, including from the United States. It must be very frustrating for Israel – its enemies fight for its destruction, and it cannot retaliate in kind. And somehow, the Israelis are considered the bad guys by many people.
If you wish to gain a greater understanding of the Middle East, and find out why they still fight over there, reading this book would be a great start.
I had somewhat of a sketchy rememberance of the 6 Day War from 1967, but digging into the details was rather eye opening. I’d never heard of a professional army so completely breaking and running in the face of enemy. Politically appointed officers is always a red flag for combat forces, and stories are plentiful of the incompetence of political officers in the field, but in the example of the Egyptian Army, the senior officers broke and ran away immediately…and the rest of the army simply followed. Appalling. This was a very well researched and well written book.
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