In a move that would forever alter the map of the Middle East, Israel captured the West Bank, Golan Heights, Gaza Strip, and Sinai Peninsula in 1967's brief but pivotal Six Day War. Cursed Victory is the first complete history of the war's troubled aftermath - a military occupation of the Palestinian territories that is now well into its fifth decade.
Drawing on unprecedented access to high-level sources, top-secret memos, and never-before-published letters, the audiobook provides a gripping and unvarnished chronicle of how what Israel promised would be an "enlightened occupation" quickly turned sour and the anguished diplomatic attempts to bring it to an end. Bregman sheds fresh light on critical moments in the peace process, taking us behind the scenes as decisions about the fate of the territories were made and, more often, as crucial opportunities to resolve the conflict were missed.
As the narrative moves from Jerusalem to New York, Oslo to Beirut, and from the late 1960s to the present day, Cursed Victory provides vivid portraits of the key players in this unfolding drama, including Moshe Dayan, King Hussein of Jordan, Bill Clinton, and Yasser Arafat. Yet Bregman always reminds us how diplomatic and backroom negotiations affected the daily lives of millions of Arabs and how the Palestinian resistance, especially during the first and second intifadas, in turn shaped political developments. As Bregman concludes, the occupation has become a dark stain on Israel's history and an era when international opinion of the country shifted decisively.
Cursed Victory is essential listening for anyone who wants to understand the origins of the ongoing conflict in the region.
©2014 Ahron Bregman (P)2015 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
Engineer, sailor, and prolific reader of non-fiction
'Cursed Victory' is primarily centered around the diplomacy and negotiations between Israel, various Palestinian political entities, and Syria, from the time of the 19767 war, until the present day. Written by a former Israeli artillery officer, the book relates the long and convoluted history of attempts to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict through both official diplomatic efforts, as well as secret and unofficial attempts.
The book does a good job of describing the key players on both the Israeli and Palestinian sides, as well as providing much insight into efforts by American Presidents, including Ford, Carter, Clinton, and George W. Bush, to try to come up with a viable peace plan. In the narrative, we get only a glancing and incomplete view into the lives of the populace over whom the power brokers were negotiating, which is why I can only give this book three stars. Based on a great deal of reading of other sources, my feeling is that the conflict can only be poorly explained, without an understanding of the personal toll taken on the pawns in the conflict: the ordinary people.
Derek Perkins' narration is crisp, with a sophisticated British accent, but the net effect is to provide a rather dry delivery, devoid of the emotional impact that the events described in the book should convey.
Since most books on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict end up getting either 5 star or 1 star reviews, reflecting the polarization of thought on this topic, allow me to add that the book is NOT heavy-handed with one particular bias, as some reviewers suggest.
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