ELUSIVE VICTORY: The Arab-Israeli Wars, 1947-1974 by Trevor N. Dupuy
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ELUSIVE VICTORY: The Arab-Israeli Wars, 1947-1974

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More than a straightforward narrative, this military history combines intermittent injections of political analysis and illuminating personality sketches with quantitative assessments of the protagonists' personnel, arms, strategies, and maneuvers in the Middle East conflict. Dupuy, author of numerous military histories, draws on the conventional printed sources, embellishing and correcting inconsistencies through personal interviews with Arabs, Israelis, and UN officers to provide a descriptive account of the Arab-Israeli Wars of 1947-49, 1956 (Suez), 1967, 1967-70 (the War of Attrition), and 1973. Although adding little to the 1947-49 period, in emphasizing the wars from 1967 on--a third of the volume is devoted to the October War--and comparing 1967 and 1973, Dupuy provides an informed comparison of tactics, objectives, victories, and failures in the two conflicts. He dispels a number of myths: Arab soldiers fought well in many battles in the Sinai during the 1967 war but were precipitously ordered to withdraw by Egyptian Field Marshall Amer, thus inadvertently assisting the speedy Israeli advance to the Canal; Syrian and Egyptian commands did unite to plan and execute the formidable surprise attack of 1973 without any Russian assistance; and, although the Arabs far outnumber the Israelis, the relative strengths of operational armies in each of the wars has been less than two-to-one. In the last analysis, it was not the Arab soldier but--until the October War--political military appointees, bad judgment, internecine quarreling, and poor military training pitted against an increasing Israeli combat effectiveness which created a situation of 30 years armed truce in the area. Aimed at the general reader, Dupuy's absorbing description and factual compendium provide a useful resource for the student of the Middle East as well.

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1978
Publisher: Harper & Row