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on 22 October 2017
So interesting and exciting to hear about these guys, inspiring.
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on 30 January 2014
I've read Yossi Klein Halevi's previous books, and found them well written and convincing. They were informed by personal experience and provided astute counter balancing perspectives from an individual in transition, as all good writers are constantly. And if you hear a BUT coming, here it is: perhaps the author has taken on too big a task, but his writing in this book is not as consummate as his previous works, leaving the feeling with this reader that he was in a hurry to make his point.
And what is that point? That the kibbutz movement had run its course but its ideological drives and it's pragmatic methodologies could be and were inspirations for the political antithesis of that founding movement, the settler movement. So, for as much as the author really tries to find a balance between these two movements, in the end it is clear where his money is. And it comes from the way he writes almost lyrically about the settlers, replete with biblical references and quotes. And it comes from how and via whom he chooses to conclude the book, a religious settler.
Well you might say, he had to make a choice and this was it.
Well no, if you set out to be a writer looking at two sides of as complex a coin as this one, it's better that you leave the reader with something to choose for herself/himself. Here the complexity of the real message is somewhat obscured by using the paratroopers stories as the platform. But what you're left with is the feeling that that is really incidental, and not the essential thrust of the book at all.
Having read many other works that look at the history that this book seeks to cover, particularly the Six Days War and the founding of the settler movement, I found the versions of those events covered here were missing authentic detail, again because the author was in a hurry to progress. Further, there is a sense of idolizing some of the settler leaders, and when you do that you are no longer impartial. The individual that comes to mind is the late Hanan Porat. We get an almost glowing image of this man, but it is minus the insensitivity bordering on inhumanity that Porat publicly expressed on the afternoon of the massacre by the settler doctor Baruch Goldstein, an immigrant from the USA. It was Purim, a 'liberation festival'. Goldstein had chosen that day purposely for his foul deed, and there was Porat entering Kiryat Arba, asked on live TV about what he thought of what had just happened in the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron, to Muslim men and boys at prayer. With ill concealed exultation Porat declared " well it's Purim today,we're happy."
So I have only one question. If the author is so clearly identified with the settler movement, spiritually and ideologically, why didn't he come clean and say so at the outset?
It's as if he's saying 'Here's a story about paratroopers and different ideologies, but, well yes this didn't go quite the way we expected, but here we are with the settlements, this is the established fact and please stop banging on about how they are a block to peace, they aren't because there's no peace to be had, and no one's going to evacuate them. Amen.' And that's not just sad, but it spells doom for the future of Israel, the Palestinians and the surrounding neighborhood.
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on 29 December 2013
For any one ignorant about how the State of Israel developed from those heady days in June '67, this is the book to read. Two parallel ideologies are examined; the declining Kibbutz movement and the rising settler movement. Beautifully told through the eyes of the men of the 55th Paratroop Brigade who not only liberated Jerusalem but also were the first to cross back into Egypt in 73. Everything is laid bare, a fascinating book about seven men who played such a pivotal part in 40 years of Israel's history by sheer dint of fate and force of character.
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on 9 March 2014
A gripping book that offers true historical and personal accounts of real individuals who were a part of modern Israeli history and who shaped Israel as we know it today.
This book is for people who want to understand the history, the emotions and the influences upon Israeli soldiers, their families and their beliefs.
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on 21 August 2015
There is very little truth in the glory portrayed in this book.Trained Paratroopers against pretty well defenceless arabs.. Israeli. Paratroopers should read Pussy cats.
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on 5 June 2015
Just finished the book. I must say,a Great read!!!! Not your typical war/military book. You follow a group of young Israeli paratroopers of the 55th,who as situations worked out was the unit that fought and re-captured Jerusalem in 1967 and then in 1973 was the unit in the west who helped the western front of the Yom Kippur War flip to Israels side when they crossed the Suez Canal,taking Israel on the offense instead of the defense.
The book follows these men as they directly and indirectly changed Israel from 1967 to 2004. Everything that could have happened in that short history of Israel these men were connected to from 1967 to even now.The Singing Paratrooper,Ariel; the hard charger Arik,.
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on 2 February 2017
I enjoyed this book very much but it left me feeling as though Israel is a tragedy constantly unfolding. It is written like poetry the author is highly skilled I would have liked to have heard his voice a little more in the book but still it was really a wonderful if sad read.
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on 4 March 2015
Too small print and faint.
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on 30 December 2015
Such a moving book. Great to get some facts which are often distorted by the media bias
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on 30 March 2015
A very nice exploration of the Israeli psyche. Well-written, easy and fun to read.
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