Yehuda Avner brings a fly-on-the-wall perspective to six decades of Israeli history. Part memoir, part multi-faceted biography, and part novelistic narrative, Avner takes listeners deep into the innermost worlds of four prime ministers, as only a former advisor can.
Derek Perkins, whose narrator rating on Audible is consistently near perfect, hails from the UK. His voice is both intimate and intellectual, immediate and poetically lofty. In short, attending his performance is a pleasure.
The audiobook opens with a helpful glossary, introducing the listener to the international cast of characters that will populate the dynamic history. If fans of The Prime Ministers still hunger for more at the end of this recording, they can check out the full-length documentary film inspired by the memoir.
The Prime Ministers is the first and only insider account of Israeli politics from the founding of the Jewish State to the near-present day. It reveals stunning details of life-and-death decision-making, top-secret military operations and high level peace negotiations. The Prime Ministers brings listeners into the orbits of world figures, including Menachem Begin, Yitzhak Rabin, Ronald Reagan, Jimmy Carter, Henry Kissinger, Yasser Arafat, Margaret Thatcher, Princess Diana and the Lubavitcher Rebbe.
Written in a captivating literary style by a political adviser, speechwriter and diplomat, The Prime Ministers is an enthralling political memoir, and a precisely crafted prism through which to view current Middle East affairs. The Prime Ministers presents first-hand accounts of major historical events, including:
It offers keen observations of key personalities, and unforgettable descriptions of political rivalries, diplomatic blunders, White House and Buckingham Palace banquets and more, to bring Israel's history to life in a way no book has done before.
©2010 Yehuda Avner (P)2013 Audible, Inc.
I started reading the dead tree version of the book and was completely hooked. I thought I knew the history well, but the author provides some fascinating insights and background color to some of the most monumental and historical events in the modern State of israel.
I don't know who decided to choose the narrator (who is actually a fine narrator - heard his other books) but he just can't do the hebrew and yiddish phrases peppered throughout the book. (After all this is a book about Israeli prime ministers, who were all natives of Eastern Europe -except one, Rabin). Even as a trilingual speaker, I had a hard time understanding his rendition or pronunciation of common hebrew and yiddish phrases, let alone the rich inflection necessary to convey the necessary nuance.
So overall, this is a fascinating and well written book that I would highly recommend. If the mispronunciation of the hebrew or yiddish will bother you, then think about the print version)
have not read the print version, so do not know.
content and history
The reader mispronounces hebrew and yiddish words, even people's names. Reader should check on correct pronunciation of unfamiliar word before embarking on this task. Might not be noticeable to some one unfamiliar with hebrew and yiddish, but makes it very difficult (almost, but not quite funny!) to listen to, for some who know the difference. AUDIBLE should get a new reader (Theodore Bikel?) and re-issue this book. Uncomfortable to listen to.
Absolutely. Ambassador Avner explains what it was like to be an insider in the Israeli government for over 20 years. He was very close to Menachim Begin who never wrote his memoirs. This may be as close as we can get to that.
Excellent pronunciation and tone. He is British but when he recounts something uttered by an American his accent is quite convincing.
One of the best audiobooks I have had the pleasure to hear.
At first I was hesitant to read this book, as a European who is from a newer era than these prime minsters, I thought it would be dull. I imagined a lot of biographical facts stacked on top of each other.
I couldn't have been more wrong. First of all, the narrator is simply the best narrator I have heard on an audio book. The book features countless dialogues, and he has a way of pulling you in to conversations by impersonating each person with great precision. He has a way of getting small character traits right, like Margret Thatcher's stubbornness, Ronald Reagan's smoothness and Menachem Begin's forceful delivery, without sounding like a parody of the person. I see some people complaining that he doesn't get the Hebrew and Yiddish right, but as someone who speaks neither of these languages it doesn't bother me.
As far as the content, it is more of a personal recollection than a regular biography. This style offers, because of Avner's position as ambassador to Great Britan and more, recountings of many memorable situations, such as a conversation between the authour, Margret Thatcher, princess Diana and either prime minister Begin or Rabin about the Jewish people (I forgot some of the details).
The only downside I can see is that mr. Avner was part of the Israeli leadership and that made him clearly biased. From my perspective, he had opinions that ranged from annoying (calling Jerusalem Israel's "eternal, undivided" capital) to downright disgusting (claiming that the Deir Yassin massacre is "misrepresented" and insinuating that the Arabs complain about it too much and claiming that Israel had no responsibility for the Sabra and Shatila massacre and that the casualties were in the hundreds when they were most likely in the thousands). Some of his opinions and lack of consideration for the Palestines made my blood boil slightly, but overall he is fairly balanced. Also, he could have written more about Rabin and Meir, but then again he did not work with them for as long as with Begin.
Overall I could not recommend this book more.
Book is very very informative-great book for those interested in an eye/ear witness account of happenings. The only issue is the reader and his mispronunciation of most Hebrew and Yiddish words. His non-command of "Jewish lingo" left me saddened and almost laughing in some places.
An absolutely fascinating narrative from the first to the last page. Free of embellishments which so often tarnish historical chronicles. A behind-the-scenes look at moments that defined contemporary history for thr whole of humanity and for the Jewish people in particular.
Yehuda Avner was a speech writer for four of Israel's Prime Ministers, from Levi Eshcol and Golda Meyer to Yitzach Rabin and Menachem Begin. He admired all of them and describes the inner workings of each of their administrations. You will hear some secrets that had never previously been told, as well as insights into the public and private personalities of these leaders.
Eshcol's cautious tenacity was instrumental in the 1967 Six Day War victory. Gold Meyer's personality and determination worked well with Kissinger and Nixon in the 1973 Yom Kippur War. Rabin's first tenure as Prime Minister was marked by his blunt organization that hid subtle strategic thinking.
It is for Menachem Begin that Avner reserves his highest praise, both diplomatically and personally. Many details of Begin's personal struggles, his unshakable focus on his country and his people, and his ultimate diplomatic triumph with Sadat are told in spellbinding detail.
The story itself is riveting and the narrator is up to the task, keeping the tension and interest exciting from start to finish.
This is an outstanding book of history and biography, superbly written, well told, and endlessly informative.
Certainly. I wouldnt recommend this book for anyone interested in learning about Israeli history. But if you are generally familiar with Israels origin and history through at least the Yom Kippur war then this narrative provides a fascinating look into the governments and personalities that shaped that history,
I find that the novelty of the authors life oddly mirrors the novelty of the life of the Israeli state, with all its ups and downs.
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