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Editorial Reviews

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.

Publisher's Summary

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:

  • Menachem Begin's decision to bomb Saddam Hussein's nuclear reactor
  • Yitzhak Rabin's handling of the Entebbe rescue mission
  • The Egypt-Israel peace process
  • The shelling of the Irgun arms ship, the Altalena Deir Yessin

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.

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Great and fascinating book, wrong narrator.

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)

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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  • Ed
  • 08-28-14

Reader should learn the dialect and pronunciation

Would you consider the audio edition of The Prime Ministers to be better than the print version?

have not read the print version, so do not know.

What did you like best about this story?

content and history

Would you be willing to try another one of Derek Perkins’s performances?

NO!!!

If you could give The Prime Ministers a new subtitle, what would it be?

?

Any additional comments?

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.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Hard to Stop Listening - Gripping History

Would you listen to The Prime Ministers again? Why?

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.

What does Derek Perkins bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Excellent pronunciation and tone. He is British but when he recounts something uttered by an American his accent is quite convincing.

Any additional comments?

One of the best audiobooks I have had the pleasure to hear.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

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Superb

Wonderful "fly on the wall" selections from Israel's modern history. Even if you are well versed in the history, the inside accounts are priceless. Irritating pronunciation of Hebrew words, but otherwise the reader was very engaging

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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A must listen

The history was brought to life in this book. Thank you to the author for a great education

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Exceptional

You'll love it! Moving story of a diplomat's travails with the leaders of Israel and the world. It is highly recommended.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Breathtaking

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.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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A fascinating look at Israeli government

Would you listen to The Prime Ministers again? Why?

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,

What was the most compelling aspect of this narrative?

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.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Horrible narration

Great book on the history and characters of Modern Israel. But the narrator fails in pronouncing the frequent Hebrew terms and expression. Yisrael, a common Jewish name assumed by Menachem Begin early in the book, is pronounced YIZRA-ILL. "Lchaim!", the standard Jewish toast (salut!) is mispronounced too. It's annoying and wrong.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Annoying that....

Narrator does not know how to pronounce many common Hebrew and Yiddish words. Very annoying.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful