Teveth is a prominent semi-official Israeli journalist; this biography, amended in unspecified ways for the English edition,...

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MOSHE DAYAN: The Soldier, the Man, the Legend

Teveth is a prominent semi-official Israeli journalist; this biography, amended in unspecified ways for the English edition, is not a puff job but a straightforward narrative, whose biases fall on the side of general patriotic distortion rather than flattery of Dayan. The account of his youth is perfectly fascinating. The individualism and political intrigues of his father were regarded by his fellow pioneer kibbutzniks as selfish and insincere; his strong-willed mother became a martyr. Dayan's schoolmates disliked him as a bad loser, a bully, a supercompetitive and sometimes dishonest character, and a defector from agrarian ideas. Beginning his military career in the British suppression of '30's Arab uprisings -- a very blandly told inset here -- Dayan married a member of ""the English-speaking elite"" and made his mark in the 1948 war and negotiations. Then, boosted by Ben-Gurion, he reached a high army post and made a vexed entry into politics. Teveth is candid about Dayan's unconventional personal behavior, about Ben-Gurion's use of Young Turks against the Old Guard, and about Israeli preparations for ""offensive war"" in the early '50's. As for the June War of 1967, Teveth puts Dayan on record as viewing it as an expression of Israel's hunger for new territory, without a nod to the official ""struggle for survival"" line. Dayan's ""caution and sensitivity"" during that war are stressed. The discussion of his administration of the acquired regions is dismissibly shallow. But as a whole the book offers an informative and disarming biography.

Pub Date: Feb. 20, 1972

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1972