ON EAGLES' WINGS by Ezer Weizman


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The personal story of the top commander of the Israeli Air Force has a chipper, embattled ""they-are-the-best-fighters-in-the-world"" tone, despite Israel's dreadful reverses in October 1973. After the jubilant victory of the Six Day War, attrition set in; air strategy became shortsighted in dealing with enemy anti-aircraft missile systems, and overconfidence bred lip-service to the ""quality of the Israeli soldier"" without regard to technological limitations. Weizman, a nephew of the first president of Israel, fought with the RAF in World War II and was among the first five pilots of the Haganah underground air force in 1946; some of his best passages are about the loneliness of fighter pilots in battle. By sheer optimism and by helping his people create a fighter squadron and acquire planes, he rose to squadrom commander, then base commander, and at last to commander of the air force. His greatest difficulty came when he was promoted to head the General Staff Division of the Israel Defense Forces and had to sublimate his great love for the air force into the larger defense program. Now retired, he's still a lviely if wiser storyteller--but his is a story of limited appeal, sort of a ""Paul Newman version"" of the Middle Eastern wars.

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 1976
Publisher: Macmillan