An able contribution to the history of the modern Middle East.




A study of the brief 1973 war that yielded a pyrrhic victory, of sorts, for both Israel and its Arab foes.

Israeli journalist Rabinovich, who covered the war for the Jerusalem Post, suggests that the combined attack of Egypt and Syria (and, later, Jordan and Iraq) on Israel was the result of failed diplomacy on the part of both sides: Israel would not budge from the territories it had conquered in the 1967 Six-Day War, and a shamed Egypt would not entertain the thought that Israel might have a point in wanting buffer zones between its national borders and Anwar Sadat’s Soviet-equipped armies. Although signs of the impending attack were abundant, and although an enigmatic Egyptian spy had revealed plans for the assault to Israeli intelligence agents, the war still caught Israel by surprise; heads would roll in the aftermath, even if Israeli intelligence chief Eli Zeira, “whose misreading of enemy intentions was the most palpable failure of the war, had a highly rewarding career after his forced retirement from the army as an intelligence consultant to foreign governments.” Rabinovich does a fine job of describing the war as it unfolded on the ground, moving from firefight to firefight and crediting both Israeli and Arab soldiers for great acts of bravery under fire; if his account is rather less dramatic than Howard Blum’s Eve of Destruction (p. 1053), which covers much the same ground, it will be particularly useful for those interested in battlefield strategy and tactics. Though Israel eventually broke the combined offensive and even had a chance at staging a counterinvasion, writes Rabinovich, the victory was extraordinarily costly: as he notes, the war, which lasted just short of three weeks, cost Israel three times as many soldiers per capita as the US lost in ten years in Vietnam.

An able contribution to the history of the modern Middle East.

Pub Date: Jan. 20, 2004

ISBN: 0-8052-4176-0

Page Count: 576

Publisher: Schocken

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2003

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...


Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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For Howard Zinn, long-time civil rights and anti-war activist, history and ideology have a lot in common. Since he thinks that everything is in someone's interest, the historian—Zinn posits—has to figure out whose interests he or she is defining/defending/reconstructing (hence one of his previous books, The Politics of History). Zinn has no doubts about where he stands in this "people's history": "it is a history disrespectful of governments and respectful of people's movements of resistance." So what we get here, instead of the usual survey of wars, presidents, and institutions, is a survey of the usual rebellions, strikes, and protest movements. Zinn starts out by depicting the arrival of Columbus in North America from the standpoint of the Indians (which amounts to their standpoint as constructed from the observations of the Europeans); and, after easily establishing the cultural disharmony that ensued, he goes on to the importation of slaves into the colonies. Add the laborers and indentured servants that followed, plus women and later immigrants, and you have Zinn's amorphous constituency. To hear Zinn tell it, all anyone did in America at any time was to oppress or be oppressed; and so he obscures as much as his hated mainstream historical foes do—only in Zinn's case there is that absurd presumption that virtually everything that came to pass was the work of ruling-class planning: this amounts to one great indictment for conspiracy. Despite surface similarities, this is not a social history, since we get no sense of the fabric of life. Instead of negating the one-sided histories he detests, Zinn has merely reversed the image; the distortion remains.

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 1979

ISBN: 0061965588

Page Count: 772

Publisher: Harper & Row

Review Posted Online: May 26, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 1979

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