Michael B. Oren spotlights all the participants: Arab, Israeli, Soviet, and American, as well as all the world leaders involved in this earth-shaking clash that transformed the world.
©2002 Michael B. Oren; (P)2003 Blackstone Audiobooks
"Oren is not only a lucid, compelling writer, but reader Robert Whitfield is a master at narrative drive through intonation alone. The listener cannot put this book down. A triumph." (AudioFile)
Michael Oren has done a superb job with this overview of one of the most important wars of the second half of the 20th century. Oren breathes life into the arcane political machinations of all the players; the US, Israel, the Arab States, the UN, and the USSR. It is fascinating to see in such vivid detail how each party viewed the others and their own actions. I sat on the edge of my car seat waiting to find out if Israel would attack Egypt or Egypt invade the Negev, even though what happened is so well known. The consumate skill of the narrator only added to joy of listening.
Overall this book is a refreshingly honest look at a conflict that is so often characterized by cliches and hyperbole. You will come away with a greater understanding of the Israeli-Arab conflict and a greater appreciation for the nuances and ambiguities that dominate the region's politics.
This is a story about Israel's existence that can only be explained by divine intervention. The military screw ups and scenes by the Arab opposing forces are similar to scenes in the Bible where God fought the battles for ancient Israel, i.e., large enemy forces fleeing out of unexplained fear, confusion among Arab forces, the leaving behind of large amounts of weapons & war supplies, hot food left on the tables of Arab homes in a suddenly-vacated city, etc. Although author Michael Oren does not credit God with any of these incredible happenings, a student of the Bible will begin to see the Hand of God. One thing, however, is for certain: The Arab order of battle, initial Arab air superiority, the vast numbers of Arab armies and war supplies against the world's 100th smallest nation, Israel, can only leave the secular reader with one conclusion: Israel shouldn't have been able to win this war. But they did, and it was against all odds!
No. Each has its advantages. For example, maps in the printed version.
Moshe Dayan - Minister of Defence, Israel. His complex and perplexing character and ability to make sudden changes in regard to the war in the West bank, the capture of Jerusalem and the Golan Heights.
Excellent narrator. Pronounces Arab and Israeli names and places flawlessly
The book is a detailed political as well as military history of the events surrounding the Six Day War. It tries to present information from both the Arab and Israeli viewpoints,. It clearly demonstrates the divisions among the Arab nations and the resulting problems in carrying out coordinated military and political actions against a determined foe.
I believe this is a very comprehensive book of the 1967 events and before. It is detailed and very well designed. Also, the book moves at a very high speed with no repititions; something that makes the hearing experience entertaining as well
A balanced history of the war telling the story from both sides. It was fascinating to get a feel and understanding for the world politics going on at the time.
Important book by the author who is now an ambassador to the United Nations.
I would like to comment on the narrator. He reads crisply and does a fine job, with one glaring exception. He pronounces many people's names incorrectly. There are so many wrong pronunciations that it gets to be a bit humorous (if you don't laugh, you might give up on this fine book in frustration). I don't understand why he didn't get a script that gave the correct way to say non-English names. Still, that would not keep me from renting this great book.
This is a terrific book. It gave me a ton of new insights into this war and the events leading up to it.
Audible obsessed lifelong learner.
The book does a good job of exploring the events that lead to the tensions of the Arab and Israel factions boiling over into full out conflict for six days in 1967. It paints the picture of world powers on the brink of WWIII as they stood behind their respective factions over the conflict. It certainly explains much of the tensions in the Middle East that plague the world today.
This book deals very well with both sides of the conflict simultaneously. Bias seems to be at a minimum, although possibly slanted toward the Israeli point of view. In addition to dealing with the Arab/Israeli conflict, the author also goes behind the scenes of the cold war, which is also quite revealing. One almost needs a map to keep up unless you are familiar with the towns of sinai and the west bank.
I have not fully understood (nor will I ever completely) the inner workings and politics surrounding conflicts between Israel and it's Arab neighbors, beginning after WWII, and culminating in the Six Day War. Actually, the war hasn't really ended and doesn't seem likely to in the foreseeable future.
It's not hard to see how the Arab world's hatred of the west, and the US in particular, spilled over from this brief and humiliating defeat, though there's no discussion of such issues. The book is quite simply an unbiased, detailed accounting of the facts. No opinions are offered by the author. More than half centers around actions by the key political players and the timing of events, often just by happenstance, that resulted in a an unpredicted outcome with world-wide ramifications.
There's a good accounting of the military actions, but this is not a "shoot-em-up" war story drama. It's much much more.
One can surmise how the seeds of present day Muslim extremism and acts of terror were sewn during the twenty years after WWII along with the creation of Israel. Utter failure and humiliation on the battlefield has led to a war of terrorism--just my opinion.
I would suggest another very good book on the birth and growth of the extremist/terror movement leading up to and including 9-11, "The Looming Tower".
"A fascinating acoount of the politics of a war"
This is an excellent account of how a crisis can degenerate into a war. I know the history of the Middle East quite well but learned a great deal from this book -- particularly the reminders about how worthless security guarantees from Europe and the US can be. My only criticism of the book itself is that the author sometimes takes memoirs at face value rather than putting them in the context of the motivations of the writer and the subject: for example, are a few of the Yiddish bon mots what the players wish they had said or were they really that quick witted? The narrator is good and the reading is never dull but his pronunciation of Hebrew and Arabic terms is careless and sometimes unitelligible if you don't know what he is trying to say
"Balanced and Informative"
I found the book to be slightly overwhelming at first, the amount of information being imparted was quite rapid in pace and a lot to take in initially. The book settled down when it began swirling around the political scene, but I felt key concepts and events had swept me by at times. I enjoyed the title, it really offered up a balanced and informative slice of the Middle East Conflict during the late 60's. There wasn't as much narrative on the ground as I like, but you get a good chunk of the political scene and the motivations and lack of aptitude around the whole conflict. The personalities shine through the commentary and you really feel the tug of war going on with the super-powers, plucking the strings behind the main issues.
It certainly gives you a better understanding of the Crisis in the Middle East, and gives you enough of the lead up to the Six Day War, and postulating about the events after the Six Day War. It made me appreciate just how complicated the situation is, and why it is still a hotbed of hostility to this day.
"Very biased, but worthwhile"
This book gives a good overview of the 6-day war if (and only if) you remember that this is a very one-sided account of things. Oren is an Israeli diplomat, and despite going to some trouble early in the book to claim impartiality, this account is very partial indeed.
Put simply - everything Israel did was, in Oren's view, entirely defensive, moral and justified.
He mentions with abhorrence the Arab Legion shelling civilian Jewish parts of Jerusalem, but expresses no such concern about Israeli bombing/shelling of Arab settlements. Nasser is portrayed as a vain madman who was hell-bent on destroying Israel. There are no mentions of why the Arab states were angry about the behaviour of Israel in the run up to the war, no mention of why Israel would not allow the UNEF to be re-positioned onto their side of the lines. Operation Dawn is discussed at length as a threat to Israel, and yet the Israeli plans to attack the Egyptians are explained as a morally just "response" to potential Egyptian aggression. The list of unbalance in this book is endless.
However, it is actually a good account as long as you remember it is just the Israeli version of events.The narration is excellent and it is well structured and easy to listen to and follow.
I would recommend it, but with the caveat that this is not a balanced account of what happened.
"Fascinating listen, just bring a map"
The book is as detailed and thorough as one could hope for. It builds and builds, creeping towards the war you know is going to break out. Oren wonderfully breaks down the conversations, contexts, and collective strain that preceded the conflict. By the time the first shots are fired you have come to know the protagonists well, and can feel the exhaustion they must have felt after months of build-up and stress. The war itself is told well, highlighting the challenges of individual battles in enough detail to give you a sense of their danger and difficulty, but not too much as to overwhelm you with minute orders and commands.
Oren takes on the task of this assignment with as much neutrality and objectivity as is probably possible, but you end up getting a better feel for the Israeli side. This is not to say he takes a pro-Israel stance, just that the detail of the leadership decisions of the Israeli leadership is more than the other countries. He does an excellent job addressing the interests of each country, including the Russians and USA along with the entire Middle-East contingent, so this is not really a fault of the book, just an observation on my part. The other problem with the book, and I suspect this is related to the audio format, is that you really could benefit from a map. Yes, it is easy enough to envisage where Egypt and Israel sit on a map, but when he starts discussing different towns and passes, it would have been nice to have a map.
Overall, a wonderfully written and researched book that brings to light the hectic pace of negotiations and international diplomacy that tends to get overlooked when discussing this war.
"Balanced and engaging - a pivotal week in history."
The narration is clear and well paced and allowed the story to wash over me easily. Not necessarily better than reading a print version, it was certainly easier for me to access and meant I may have taken considerably longer to read otherwise.
The research behind this version of the 6 day war is drawn from more and more varied sources than previously available and as such it adds some clear and powerful validations of the facts as we historically have known them.
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