Primarily of scholarly interest, though readers with an interest in Middle Eastern geopolitics will find much of value.



A penetrating study of a conflict that, although brief, helped establish a Middle Eastern template that is operational today.

According to Laron (International Affairs/Hebrew Univ. of Jerusalem; Origins of the Suez Crisis: Postwar Development Diplomacy and the Struggle over Third World Industrialization, 1945-1956, 2013), the Six-Day War of June 1967 was fairly well settled within hours of its onset. The Israeli air force wiped out the entire air fleet of Egypt, Jordan, Syria, and Iraq within the first few hours and then, over less than a week, Israel’s army pushed the nation’s borders further out. The war had massive repercussions, shifting power away from Egypt to Palestine and Jordan, and it quickened the rise of Islamist and Baathist forces alike, to say nothing of many local sectarian militias. On the Arab side, the Baathist military wanted border conflicts, if not outright war, with Israel primarily to “wrongfoot Nasser,” as Laron writes of the Egyptian dictator. Internationally, both the United States and the Soviet Union took great interest in a war that by some respects was between them by proxy. The author looks beyond Cold War maneuvering to examine the conflict in other lights, including the economic: none of the nations of the region was doing well, and indeed, as he notes, in January 1967, Egypt had defaulted on loans from the International Monetary Fund. In Israel, too, there was internal tension among factions led by David Ben-Gurion and his rivals, the former of whom had considered the earlier borders as “unbearable” but perhaps was not entirely prepared for the vastly expanded territory. Though readers are left to read between some of the lines, Laron connects many of those events to current trends and developments, including Israel’s “cult of the offensive,” by which Israeli forces strike hard and decisively—and often first, even as the Israeli military “remains the most powerful institution in Israeli society.”

Primarily of scholarly interest, though readers with an interest in Middle Eastern geopolitics will find much of value.

Pub Date: Feb. 21, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-300-22270-8

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Yale Univ.

Review Posted Online: Feb. 22, 2017

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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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Buffs of the Old West will enjoy Clavin’s careful research and vivid writing.



Rootin’-tootin’ history of the dry-gulchers, horn-swogglers, and outright killers who populated the Wild West’s wildest city in the late 19th century.

The stories of Wyatt Earp and company, the shootout at the O.K. Corral, and Geronimo and the Apache Wars are all well known. Clavin, who has written books on Dodge City and Wild Bill Hickok, delivers a solid narrative that usefully links significant events—making allies of white enemies, for instance, in facing down the Apache threat, rustling from Mexico, and other ethnically charged circumstances. The author is a touch revisionist, in the modern fashion, in noting that the Earps and Clantons weren’t as bloodthirsty as popular culture has made them out to be. For example, Wyatt and Bat Masterson “took the ‘peace’ in peace officer literally and knew that the way to tame the notorious town was not to outkill the bad guys but to intimidate them, sometimes with the help of a gun barrel to the skull.” Indeed, while some of the Clantons and some of the Earps died violently, most—Wyatt, Bat, Doc Holliday—died of cancer and other ailments, if only a few of old age. Clavin complicates the story by reminding readers that the Earps weren’t really the law in Tombstone and sometimes fell on the other side of the line and that the ordinary citizens of Tombstone and other famed Western venues valued order and peace and weren’t particularly keen on gunfighters and their mischief. Still, updating the old notion that the Earp myth is the American Iliad, the author is at his best when he delineates those fraught spasms of violence. “It is never a good sign for law-abiding citizens,” he writes at one high point, “to see Johnny Ringo rush into town, both him and his horse all in a lather.” Indeed not, even if Ringo wound up killing himself and law-abiding Tombstone faded into obscurity when the silver played out.

Buffs of the Old West will enjoy Clavin’s careful research and vivid writing.

Pub Date: April 21, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-21458-4

Page Count: 400

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: Jan. 20, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

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