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Six Days: How the 1967 War Shaped the Middle East [Paperback]

Jeremy Bowen
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
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Book Description

2 Aug 2004
The Six-Day War was an extraordinary human drama. It swept up a generation of Israelis and Arabs whose children still cannot live peacefully in the world the war created. Today, Israel is the superpower of the region. It has nuclear weapons but has never been able to digest the land it swallowed in 1967. However big its army, it will never be at peace or feel secure until the future of this land is settled. Thirty-six years after the end of the six days of fighting, after thousands more deaths and the failure of years of negotiation to try to reach a political settlement, Israelis and Palestinians are fighting once again on the streets in the West Bank and Gaza. It is still a low-level conflict, but if another full-blown Middle East war breaks out, its roots will lie in those six days in June 1967. Drawing on his experiences as the BBC's former Middle East correspondent, and building on extensive original research and interviews with some of the key participants, Jeremy Bowen uses his vast array of contacts to weave together a completely convincing and compelling account, hour by hour, of the 1967 war between Israel and Egypt, Jordan and Syria. As insightful as the best modern history writing and as gripping as fiction, this is a major debut by an author with superb media contacts.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Pocket Books; New edition edition (2 Aug 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 074344969X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743449694
  • Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 20 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 226,268 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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'Impeccably accurate [and] vitally captured . . . Piece by piece, and hour by hour, Bowen follows the events . . . Meticulous' -- Guardian

'[A] fast-paced history . . . surely the most gripping military tale since the fall of France in the Second World War' -- Daily Telegraph --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Inside Flap

Suicide attacks on Israelis, bombings and assassinations, and bloodshed in Jerusalem, Gaza and the West Bank dominate the news from the Middle East. It is the most troubled region on earth. At its heart is the conflict between Palestinians and Israelis -- and the legacy of six days of war in 1967.

Arabs and Jews have been fighting over the Holy Land for a century. After the state of Israel emerged from war in 1948, both sides knew more battles were coming. In June 1967 years of slow-burning tension exploded. In six extraordinary days, Israel destroyed the armed forces of Egypt, Jordan and Syria. But far from bringing peace, as many Israelis hoped, their stunning victory turned into a curse.

The Six-Day War created today’s battlefield. Israel still occupies land it seized in 1967 in Jerusalem, Gaza, the West Bank and the Golan Heights. Israeli soldiers whose grandfathers led men into battle in 1967 enforce an occupation that creates controversy and headlines around the world; Palestinians who grew up surrounded by the occupation’s violence strap explosives to their bodies to kill Israelis. Peace now depends on unravelling the consequences of what happened during that momentous week almost four decades ago.

From the initial battle order issued to the Israeli air force on Monday, 5 June 1967, to the final ceasefire on the evening of Saturday 10th, the Six-Day War was a riveting human drama. Building on his first-hand experience of the region after his five years as the BBC’s Middle East Correspondent, as well as extensive original research, Jeremy Bowen now presents a brilliantly compelling new history of the conflict. SIX DAYS re-creates day by day, hour by hour, the bullying and brinkmanship that led four nations to war, interweaving testimonies of combatants from all sides in a seamless narrative.

A rigorous and original piece of modern history that is as vivid as fiction, SIX DAYS not only sheds new light on one of the key conflicts of the twentieth century, it explains much about the Middle East and the problems the region still faces today. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very Good Honest History 7 Sep 2011
By J. Awad
Very good account of a war that "shaped the middle east", it has given more realistic account of what happened. My problem with it is the fact that it's full of Israeli sources and quotes and little from the Arab side, that is understandable because of the totalitarian Arab regimes that still rules, and many of them don't want the truth to get out.

In the book, there are many personal accounts of the war from different soldiers and commanders rather than a more general picture. That makes it easy to read for the easily distractable reader, but makes it loose the historical aspect and gives more of a biography one.

Over all, this is the best it will get in the history of the Six Days war, and it's much less biased than the ones written by Israelis or their sympathizers.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Quite a balanced view 15 Jan 2013
By P. Abbs
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I think Mr Bowen has tried and succeeded in giving a quite balanced view on this very complicated subject. The ramifications of which continue to this day and will continue for at least several generations yet.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars well written 25 Jan 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
i did not know that much about the six day war and the events leading up to it but this gives you everything you need to fully understand what went on. a very interesting book written by someone who knows what they are writing about.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars I was there 1 Feb 2013
By Laird
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I read the book with interest as I participated in the war, serving in a tank batallion (Centurions) in an armoured brigade. I was in the central division that crossed the 'impassable' dunes to Bir Lachfan, and continued to Bir El Hasene and eventually to Bir Tmadeh. I also passed through the Gaza Strip a couple of days after it was captured. The book was fairly accurate as a historical record, but I cannot accept the accounts of the widespread murder and killing which the author describes. The Israeli army at that time prided itself on morality and ethics. I saw plenty of Egyptian prisoners rounded up who were well treated. I did witness one incident where Egyptians who were scattered in the desert behind the lines and were without water or food, ambushed the vehicle in front of mine. They killed the driver and an officer. At that moment a more senior officer arrived on the scene accompanied by two armoured personnel carriers. They quickly rounded up the group of about a dozen Egyptians who had carried out the ambush and killing, and they were summarily shot at the roadside. I expect other incidents did take place, but generally what I saw was good acceptable treatment of prisoners. I think perhaps the author had been fed 'incident' stories which were unverifiable and he has over stated what actually took place.
Altogether the book is very readable and recommended.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Very good 26 Jan 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I thought this was a very well written book. Very informative. Could have concentrated more on the actual battles rather than the refugees but I suppose that is a consequence of war.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Balanced, neutral and well-researched 18 May 2010
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book and learnt more about the Arab fiasco in this war which Israel was well prepared to engage in and win whilst the Arabs were only hot air and no real action. Indeed the Arabs were dreaming about throwing the Jews in the sea but Nasser and the other Arab leaders hoped that a scenario similar to 1956 with UN or superpower intervention will be repeated giving them political victory although they knew very well that Israel was destined to crush the Arab armies combined.

The war was a propaganda war on the Arab side and a blitz to establish secure borders and a land grab on the Israeli side. I was 9 years old at the time and I do remember listening on the first day (5 June 1967) to Ahmed Said's continuous lies on the radio from Cairo about downing hundreds of Israeli planes. The war was a master strike for the Israeli military and political leadership. It was the culmination of many years of preparation. It was a win of the defiant Sabra determination against the European Jew in a ghetto mentality. It was the anti-climax of the Holocaust.

Israel deserved to win and rightly so as it used the belligerent illegal closure by a pompous Nasser of the Aqaba straits to carry out its pre-emptive surgical strike. The war created a political nightmare in the long term. Had it not been for 1967 there would not have been a 1973. Israel learnt the hard way that a military victory does not bring peace. The same mistakes were repeated in Lebanon. A political solution did the trick with Egypt which has endured for 30 years.

Jeremy was very successful in analysing what he described as the Syrian syndrome. He was very balanced in arguing the case for peace in his concluding chapter. The aftermath of the 1967 war is with us today. Unless an acceptable solution is found, Israel will not enjoy security or peace. The same is even more true for the Arabs.

Highly recommended.
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24 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Six Days 7 April 2005
By Oli
I have for some time been trying to appreciate the mess (that's how I see it) that Israel and Palestine are currently embroiled in. This book, expertly written and very well researched, goes a long way to explaining current events in the Middle East. Despite the title, the book goes further than just the war of 1967, but explains how the state of Israel has developed from 1948 through to 2003. It also covers events in Syria, Jordan, Egypt and the United States, not just Israel. Thoroughly recommended for those interested in current affairs, and essential for those interested in the Middle East.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars A reasonable introduction.
Overall this is a good introduction to the Six Day War, which helps set current issues in context. Unfortunately, it is a far from impartial account; the author shows an... Read more
Published 8 months ago by M. Sandiford
5.0 out of 5 stars A History which must be read
A must for any one trying to understand the conflict in the Middle East. The views and actions from all sides and their belief in their actions and the impact on global peace is... Read more
Published 9 months ago by mr b french
5.0 out of 5 stars Today's Middle East problems put into perspective
As a teenager during The Six Day War, I was in awe of the speed, audacity and determination of the Israeli forces - a David against Goliath....... But this was not the case. Read more
Published 10 months ago by Mr. Simon Bromage
5.0 out of 5 stars A real incite into the Arab Israeli conflicts
The authors really knows his subject so well, he has and uses his in depth knowledge to tell the complex story and fill in all the details for the reader. Read more
Published 12 months ago by johnmac109
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb insight
Yet again Jeremy Bowen has produced an account of a piece of recent history which has taken its place in the jigsaw of Middle East conflict. Read more
Published 12 months ago by Tony Roberts
5.0 out of 5 stars Recommended
In an area where polarised views abound this stikes me as a credible, engaging and thought provoking account of the June 1967 (6 Day) war.
Published 15 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating
Incredible mastery of background details and well written, fascinating reading especially if you have some knowledge or familiarity with the countries involved.
Published 15 months ago by H.C.H. Doeg
3.0 out of 5 stars Good book but...
I really enjoyed the book. All the part about the war is very objective and accurate. Also, it's very easy to read, almost like reading a novel. Read more
Published on 21 Mar 2011 by MxJersey
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