A “hybrid history” of the Six Day War made up of oral histories by numerous participants and stitched-together bits of biography from Israeli military leader Moshe Dayan (1915-1981).
Drawing on “techniques from a number of disciplines—from journalism and academic history, from conventional nonfiction and narrative nonfiction, and from New Journalism,” novelist Pressfield (The Profession, 2011, etc.) nimbly pulls together these accounts, starting with the waiting period in late May 1967 when the reserves were called up, leaving entire Israeli villages emptied of life. Other citizens were glued to their radios, alarmed by Cairo’s propaganda radio, the “Voice of Thunder.” The Israelis had been preparing for another war since the Sinai campaign of 1956, engineered brilliantly by then–army chief of staff Dayan, after which the international community compelled Israel to relinquish the peninsula to United Nations peacekeepers; and before that, when Jordan’s army had taken Jerusalem’s old city during the War of Independence of 1948. These are important events in the memories of the Israelis, who were nervous about President Nasser’s pan-Arabism, ties with the Soviet Union, and most important, the buildup of combat aircraft and closing of the Straits of Tiran. The voices that narrate events throughout these fraught few days include two brothers and highly decorated soldiers, “Cheetah” and Nechemiah Cohen, involved on the front line from the first day; Yael Dayan, Moshe’s daughter, who was posted with Gen. Ariel Sharon’s headquarters at the Egyptian border; numerous pilots who destroyed Arab airfields on that key first day of Operation Moked (“focus”); infantry soldiers who moved into the Sinai; and Dayan himself, appointed minister of defense at the eleventh hour to mastermind the take-back of Jerusalem with his commandment to “be strong.”
Stirring voices from a nation determined to be reckoned with.