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A very mediocre account of the 1973 Yom Kippur War from an implicitly pro-Israeli--and vociferously anti-Soviet--point of view. To the extent that the Yom Kippur War will go down in history as 1) a surprise and a shock to the Israelis (throwing all their plans into disarray), 2) a psychological coup for the Arabs (chiefly, on account of the Egyptian crossing of the Suez Canal), and 3) a watershed in international relations (because of the Arab oil embargo), the book is no place to begin. Allen does eventually get around to the first point--obliquely, midway through; the second point comes up only in passing (after we have heard and heard about the sheer massiveness of both the Syrian and Egyptian onslaught); the third point simply doesn't figure. As to the battle-action, we get a quite detailed description of the murderous Syrian-Israeli tank warfare on the Golan Heights, a less than cogent explanation of Egyptian and Israeli strategy on the preeminent Suez/Sinai front, and one narrative sequence with some drama: the Israeli crossing of the Canal. (I.e., ""The children of Israel had recrossed the waters."") Allen has few military ideas to put forth apart from the efficacy of Russian-supplied Arab missile-systems against the Israeli Air Force; his only interesting military detail is on the means the Israelis considered and devised to quickly get across the Canal. Approaching the cease-fire, his rote references to ""the Soviet Union and its Arab client states"" turn into concentration on the US-Soviet crisis--to the neglect of the cease-fire jockeying itself. With banal writing (""He knew no fear and inspired the men he led"") as well: quite expendable.

Pub Date: June 1st, 1982
Publisher: Scribners