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on 9 January 2016
A very well-researched and written account of this brief but pivotal episode in Middle Eastern recent history. The reason for the missing fifth star is probably quite unfair but is due to the lack of accounts from an Arab perspective. This is mainly due to the lack of available records from Egyptian and especially Syrian archives and the difficulty of interviewing surviving participants.
Mr Rabinovich does the best he can to remain balanced and objective throughout but the one-sidedness of the quantity of personal accounts inevitably leads to the book feeling like 'them and us', with the Israelis being 'us'. This is inevitable but means I can't award five stars.
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on 29 October 2013
This is a very detailed, but eminently readable and absorbing account of the Yom Kippur War. What is particularly interesting is the description of all the misconceptions, false analyses, intellectual arrogance, tunnel vision etc. on the part of most of the Israeli military and intelligence apparatus prior to the war's outbreak. The same goes for both sides' underlying strategies and objectives, with the Arab perspective, by the way, being outlined in a thoroughly neutral fashion.
Certainly on a par with Michael B. Oren's account of the Six Day War, "Six Days in June".
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on 16 October 2013
An excellent and largely balanced view of this key conflict, free from the hubris of both sides. It clearly covers both the military and political aspects, and deals well with the build-up, the initial Egyptian and Syrian successes and Israeli difficulties, and the eventual Israeli counters. Material is indeed largely Israeli sourced, however it is not used uncritically. If you only read one book on this conflict, which resulted in a lasting peace between Egypt and Israel, read this one.
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on 8 January 2014
Great and detailed history of this event. I put this down with a much greater understanding of how this important war progressed and I have to confess a much better understanding of human nature. Great book and well worth the read.
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on 8 November 2013
More than just a war book. It covers the top brass, political and military, fighting it out for their points of view. They say that in wars there are no winners, I definitely won by getting and reading and re-reading this book.
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on 15 January 2015
It's a good history of the war but due to the sources available and of course the authors viewpoint it's quite thin on the Arab side of the war. What I found most glaringly missing was how the book fails to go beyond the war to talk about broader implications which especially now cover the Middle East. It shatters some myths which are consistently parroted today ignoring lessons from 73;
Israel was never interested in peace until suffering losses from the war.
Religion has a remarkably low role to play in the conflict vs territory.
It's clear that the denial of Israel's existence was a negotiation tactic vs an actual blockade to peace
Israel was not as isolated as it seems nor the Arabs as monolithic. It really was a Syrian and Egyptian war with token symbolic Arab representation.
While Israel may have felt it's existence as threatened in actuality there is little factual basis for this. It was about territory full stop.
All of the above myths were shattered in the 73 war which then showed the way to a lasting land for peace deal that has held even through the trying times of the Arab spring and the current Syrian civil war. The implications of this for a new peace initiative beyond the rhetoric are tantalizing but never addressed and this leaves an empty taste when the book is said and done. Read it to get a good account of the Israeli side of the war, a superficial idea of the Arab side and use your own judgment to read between the lines to identify current myths about the Arab Israeli conflict and if they are based in theory or history. You cannot separate the political from the military in reviewing the conflict and what implications there are for a long term peace. The book fails to ever critically analyse the Israeli side even when the facts as reported in the book itself beg deeper questioning. It's why I rate it only 3 stars and despair at the missing opportunity and hope for a more comprehensive edition or rewrite.
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on 12 February 2014
Very informative. A must read for anybody who is remotely interested in the history of the middle east. Ten out of ten in my opinion!!!
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on 6 April 2014
A good read but for long passages there was so much detail that I used other reference sources to keep a sense of time and place throughout the narrative
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on 10 October 2015
Detailed account of a war that started disastrously, but was ultimately won; great analysis of strategic decisions.
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on 7 July 2015
Very full, detailed & overall balanced history of the 1973 Yom Kippur War.
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