The definitive account of one of the greatest Special Forces missions ever, the Raid of Entebbe, by acclaimed military historian Saul David.
On June 27, 1976, an Air France flight from Tel Aviv to Paris was hijacked by a group of Arab and German terrorists who demanded the release of 53 terrorists. The plane was forced to divert to Entebbe in Uganda - ruled by the murderous despot Idi Amin, who had no interest in intervening.
Days later, Israeli commandos disguised as Ugandan soldiers assaulted the airport terminal, killed all the terrorists, and rescued all the hostages but three who were killed in the crossfire. The assault force suffered just one fatality: its commander, Yoni Netanyahu (brother of Israel's current prime minister.) Three of the country's greatest leaders - Ehud Barak, Shimon Peres, and Yitzhak Rabin - planned and pulled off one of the most astonishing military operations in history.
©2015 Saul David (P)2015 Hachette Audio
"This book is an enthralling, minute-by-minute retelling of the hijack and the dramatic rescue using new sources and material." (Max Hastings, author of Inferno)
"Totally thrilling, totally poignant. Bringing the greatest special forces operation of modern times blazingly to life, David's book, full of new revelations, written with the excitement of an action movie, the authority of a historian, is great drama, superb storytelling - and yet tells us much about the Middle East today." (Simon Sebag Montefiore, author of Jerusalem)
The Israeli rescue of the hostages in Uganda is a nearly mythical story which this book does a remarkable job telling. I was enthralled with the hour by hour description of the hijacking as well as the events leading up to the rescue. I was completely captivated during the actual rescue and couldn't stop listening until it was done.
I was also impressed with the way the politicians both within and across parties came together to support such a dangerous and high risk strategy.
It was disappointing (though unfortunately not surprising) to hear that many in the UN tried to condemn Israel for rescuing its civilian hostages and yet remained silent in their condemnation of the terrorists as well as their Ugandian coconspirators.
Overall, it was a quick and enjoyable listen and one which I highly recommend!
This was a really enjoyable audiobook. My wife commented in the background: "The only thing I remember about the raid on Entebbe is the movie about the raid on Entebbe"! Well, this certainly fills in the detail in an electric story that doesn't slow down, and doesn't get dry in imparting detail. The narrator was a perfect for engaging the listener, without any over-excitement. The was a great audiobook, and a terrific story.
I liked the meticulous detail about the hijacking and raid. I learned that the hostages were a mixed bag in terms of rising to nobility in the face of evil. Fascinating to hear of some (non-Israeli primarily) cheering idi Amin. The pilot does not come off well. Yoni Netanyahu also comes off in a mixed way.
The one thing that I didn't understand is how the paratrooper shot in the spinal cord was found and rescued. Spoiler alert: I loved the PostScript about Haddad's chocolate... Karma.
Overall this is a great exposition of a watershed moment.
The author did extensive research for this book and appears unwilling to leave any of it out, so the first 2/3 of the book are very slow and give us such details as the name of a dog a solider forgot to say farewell to, which foods in Uganda likely caused the hostages' diarrhea, and so forth. The last third of the book, however, is first-rate, and exposes as lies some of the popular conception regarding the raid. The most important of which was that it was Israeli skill at arms that saved the hostages. In fact, the decision of the the leader of the raid to shoot a sentry contrary to their plan eliminated the element of surprise early and gave the hijackers an opportunity to kill the hostages, which for reasons we will never know they did not take. Indeed, the only hostage to die during the raid was mistakenly shot by the IDF because he was young and swarthy and made the mistake of standing up. The author also does a fine job of demonstrating the historical importance of the raid, which led to other countries following suit.
This book is far more than a narrative of the actual operation.
In clear prose and excellently narrated the book casts the hijacking of the Air France flight into its full context. The events are seen through many prisms: the psychological tension effecting all the participants, passengers, flight crew, and terrorists;
the political process within the Israeli cabinet, the geopolitical setting in which this played out and the interaction of the nations involved; the murderous buffoonery of Idi Amin is seen;
and of course the military.
The course from having no military option to the consideration of various potential schemes, to the final plan with its precise timing all the while the terrorists' deadline approaching itself is shown.
The psychological state and personality of its leader Yonitham Netanyahu is examined.
The abrupt onset of the "fog of war" is experienced in the first minutes as a result of a tactical mistake by the very obsessively exact leader. Irony.
The emotion of relief and PRIDE when the Israeli hostages first understood that it is "our men, our Israeli men!" that have appeared in the terminal. The horror is not neglected in favor of glory. The two hostages mistakenly killed by IDF and the loss and the maiming of young brave Israeli soldiers are given proper attention.
Finally the effects the raid had upon terrorism and the moral uplift experienced by all and especially Israel are discussed.
Excellent all around!
The author definitely did his research. I have read other books or stories on the raid, but none discuss the political build up or aftermath like this one. The reader is a bit monotone for my taste, but did an over all good job.
A well deserved, adequately researched and well written account of the Entebbe rescue is marred by the mediocre, tendentious and reflexively anti-Israel, Israel-is-to-blame-for-everything conclusion. Additionally, the narrator either didn't care to learn or couldn't pronounce basic Hebrew vowels and the 'kh' guttural.
If you're going to read an audiobook, please, PLEASE, know how to pronounce what you're reading. Every time I heard the reader repeatedly mispronounce the Jewish/Israeli content, it was like listening to nails on a chalkboard. I can't believe he wasn't given some sort guidance. If he wasn't, that completely explains the ignorance.
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