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An insider’s view of a volatile and violent history.

A former prime minister reveals divisive conflict within and beyond Israel’s borders.

Growing up on a kibbutz, Barak was 6 years old when the state of Israel was proclaimed on May 14, 1948. Immediately, Arab armies invaded, the first of many wars that the author chronicles in his vividly detailed, often chillingly tense memoir of Israel’s—and his own—fraught history. Israel won the 1948 war, gaining about a third more land than the U.N. partition plan proposed, but at the cost of thousands of lives and hundreds of thousands of Palestinian refugees. Nevertheless, for the young Barak, the consequences were inevitable: For Israel to exist, “we had to win and the Arabs had to lose.” The Six-Day War in 1967 underscored that idea: Israel prevailed militarily and tripled the territory it controlled. Suddenly, “we had a sense that we could breathe.” Although he knew then that Israel’s Arab neighbors had not turned into friends, he believed that “having come face-to-face with our overwhelming military supremacy Arab states would, over time, grant Israel simple acceptance,” and possibly, in the future, peace. By 1967, Barak was a soldier; considering a career as a physicist, he opted instead for the army and rose through the ranks to become a general. Among his close friends in the military was Benjamin Netanyahu, “smart, tough, and self-confident,” who later became his political opponent. Barak recounts crisis after crisis—hijacked planes, outright wars, the assassinations of Yitzhak Rabin and Anwar Sadat, Intifadas—as Arabs grew increasingly combative, terrorist organizations coalesced, and Israeli right-wing factions gained power, determined to seize land and oppose a Palestinian state. The author entered politics when he joined Rabin’s government, served as defense minister under his successor, Shimon Peres, and went on to lead the Labor Party and become a one-term prime minister. He describes in detail his frustrating role in pursuing peace agreements with the recalcitrant Arafat, and he volleys sharp criticism at Netanyahu’s current militant leadership.

An insider’s view of a volatile and violent history.

Pub Date: May 8, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-250-07936-7

Page Count: 480

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: March 18, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2018

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A wonderful page-turner written with humility, immediacy, and great style. Nothing came cheap and easy to McCandless, nor...

The excruciating story of a young man on a quest for knowledge and experience, a search that eventually cooked his goose, told with the flair of a seasoned investigative reporter by Outside magazine contributing editor Krakauer (Eiger Dreams, 1990). 

Chris McCandless loved the road, the unadorned life, the Tolstoyan call to asceticism. After graduating college, he took off on another of his long destinationless journeys, this time cutting all contact with his family and changing his name to Alex Supertramp. He was a gent of strong opinions, and he shared them with those he met: "You must lose your inclination for monotonous security and adopt a helter-skelter style of life''; "be nomadic.'' Ultimately, in 1992, his terms got him into mortal trouble when he ran up against something—the Alaskan wild—that didn't give a hoot about Supertramp's worldview; his decomposed corpse was found 16 weeks after he entered the bush. Many people felt McCandless was just a hubris-laden jerk with a death wish (he had discarded his map before going into the wild and brought no food but a bag of rice). Krakauer thought not. Admitting an interest that bordered on obsession, he dug deep into McCandless's life. He found a willful, reckless, moody boyhood; an ugly little secret that sundered the relationship between father and son; a moral absolutism that agitated the young man's soul and drove him to extremes; but he was no more a nutcase than other pilgrims. Writing in supple, electric prose, Krakauer tries to make sense of McCandless (while scrupulously avoiding off-the-rack psychoanalysis): his risky behavior and the rites associated with it, his asceticism, his love of wide open spaces, the flights of his soul.

A wonderful page-turner written with humility, immediacy, and great style. Nothing came cheap and easy to McCandless, nor will it to readers of Krakauer's narrative. (4 maps) (First printing of 35,000; author tour)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 1996

ISBN: 0-679-42850-X

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Villard

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 1995

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Well-told and admonitory.

Young-rags-to-mature-riches memoir by broker and motivational speaker Gardner.

Born and raised in the Milwaukee ghetto, the author pulled himself up from considerable disadvantage. He was fatherless, and his adored mother wasn’t always around; once, as a child, he spied her at a family funeral accompanied by a prison guard. When beautiful, evanescent Moms was there, Chris also had to deal with Freddie “I ain’t your goddamn daddy!” Triplett, one of the meanest stepfathers in recent literature. Chris did “the dozens” with the homies, boosted a bit and in the course of youthful adventure was raped. His heroes were Miles Davis, James Brown and Muhammad Ali. Meanwhile, at the behest of Moms, he developed a fondness for reading. He joined the Navy and became a medic (preparing badass Marines for proctology), and a proficient lab technician. Moving up in San Francisco, married and then divorced, he sold medical supplies. He was recruited as a trainee at Dean Witter just around the time he became a homeless single father. All his belongings in a shopping cart, Gardner sometimes slept with his young son at the office (apparently undiscovered by the night cleaning crew). The two also frequently bedded down in a public restroom. After Gardner’s talents were finally appreciated by the firm of Bear Stearns, his American Dream became real. He got the cool duds, hot car and fine ladies so coveted from afar back in the day. He even had a meeting with Nelson Mandela. Through it all, he remained a prideful parent. His own no-daddy blues are gone now.

Well-told and admonitory.

Pub Date: June 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-06-074486-3

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Amistad/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2006

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