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Operation Thunderbolt

Flight 139 and the Raid on Entebbe Airport, the Most Audacious Hostage Rescue Mission in History
Narrated by: Peter Ganim
Length: 14 hrs and 49 mins
Categories: History, Military
4.5 out of 5 stars (310 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

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

Critic Reviews

"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)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

A story of true courage and political resolve

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!

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Very entertaining

Any additional comments?

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.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Jeff G
  • Pflugerville, TX USA
  • 04-17-18

Entrancing Story

The overall story is well written and the narrator did an excellent job in bringing the story to life. Anyone interested in history should enjoy this book. The only annoying part were the footnotes, and there were only a very few.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Blake
  • Annapolis, MD, United States
  • 04-09-18

Reads Like a History Textbook

If you’re a reader who wants to know every little detail about a historical event, this book gets five stars. It is meticulously researched and detailed by author Saul David. If knowing the birthdate and career/childhood of anyone involved in the raid on Entebbe you will be thrilled with this work. However, if you're looking for an entertaining read about a historical event and want to enjoy the 14 hours and 50 minutes you'll invest in the story, this book isn't for you. It reads like a dry classroom history textbook, and sadly is read by narrator Peter Ganim like one. When people say they don't like reading history it's books like this they're talking about.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Kudos to author not to narrator

Extraordinary amount of research, journalistic verisimilitude. Kept us on edge throughout. Narrator mispronounced Hebrew badly

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Important book marred by irrelevant detail

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.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Clear crisp

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!


1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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great true story

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.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Can't put it down

Excellent in every possible way.
A must read in today's terrorism climate.
Engrossing and so well narrated.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Over all a good read.

Packed full of info. Sometimes a bit to much. Some spots were a bit slow, over all it was enjoyable.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful