2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Well-written, interesting, unbiased but occasionally goes into too many small details,
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This review is from: The Iron Wall: Israel and the Arab World (Paperback)
This is a clear but precise, well-written, interesting and (as far as anyone can be) unbiased history of the entire Israeli-Palestinian and Israeli-Arab conflict from the first Zionist settlement in the British Mandate of Palestine to 1999.
In some chapters towards the middle of the book it goes into far too many small details though, which will probably make it much harder for other historians to criticise it, but made parts of the book very slow going for me.
Throughout most of the book Shlaim avoids any temptation to judge his own country's government on different standards from its opponents.
It only falls down (and only very slightly) in its coverage of the Labor government of Yitzakh Rabin and the election of the Barak government and becomes slightly distorted by the author's preference for the Labor party over Likud . However even here Shlaim presents the basic facts without fear or favour, only making his evaluation of Rabin's offer of Palestinian autonomy without real soveriegnty or a viable state more positive than it deserves to be.
Shlaim rightly condemns Peres' 'Operation Grapes of Wrath' as a moral, military and political failure (though a less ambiguous phrase would be 'war crime against civilians).
Despite these minor flaws i would recommend any book by Avi Shlaim to anyone wanting an interesting, well written and unbiased account of the Israel-Arab and Israeli-Palestinian conflicts.