Top critical review
Balanced and intriguing but misses a few big things and fails to stay relevant today by not building on the myths it destroys
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.