Stirring voices from a nation determined to be reckoned with.



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.

Pub Date: May 6, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-59523-091-1

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Sentinel

Review Posted Online: March 12, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2014

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...


Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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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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