THE BLOOD OF ISRAEL: The Story of the Massacre of the Israeli Athletes, The Olympics, 1972 by Serge Groussard

THE BLOOD OF ISRAEL: The Story of the Massacre of the Israeli Athletes, The Olympics, 1972

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A solid reportorial job Which triumphs over its own occasional lapses into the maudlin. Groussard, a French journalist and novelist, makes the most of the dramatic ironies of Munich. His narrative is a moment-by-moment chronology of the crisis, from the terrorists' entry into the Israeli quarters to the final shootout at Fuerstenfeldbruck airport. An awful lot of background information has to be crowded into odd (and sometimes unsuitable) comers, but the cumulative effect is one of excruciating suspense. Groussard severely criticizes the German handling of the whole affair for delay and indecision--at least partly the result of Byzantine complexities in the relationships of the Federal government, the Bavarian state authorities, and the Munich police. The Munich forces are charged with virtual incompetence for not trying to rescue the hostages in Olympic Village while their captors were leading them to the helicopters and for the utterly inadequate deployment of men and equipment at the airport. He presents the denouement as a tragedy of errors whose keynote was sounded when, in a frantic phone call between Olympic Village and the airport as the helicopters took off, an aide to the Bavarian Minister of the Interior hung up on the vice-commissioner of the Munich police before he could ask how many terrorists were en route to Fuerstenfeldbruck. (The police had prepared--none too adequately--for five; there were eight.) Groussard's reaction to the Arabs is one of controlled rage--an attitude which dominates not only his account of the actual terrorism but most of the historical and political background information. Luckily the book's power doesn't depend on scholarly detachment about world issues, but on a sustained emotional fervor which the Munich events more than justify.

Pub Date: June 16th, 1975
Publisher: Morrow