Monday, September 24, 2012

Six Days of War June 1967 and the Making of the Modern Middle East

Michael Oren has written probably the definitive history of the Six Day War.  Although it is history, it reads like a thriller.  There are two features that I think are worth sharing about the book: Yitzchak Rabin's relationship to Moshe Dayan and the prime minister at the time of the war, Levi Eshkol.

In recounting the events that led up to the war, the reader gets a profound sense of the prudence and wisdom of Levi Eshkol.  His wit, dry Yiddish humor come across in a very compelling way.  His desire to gain consensus shows leadership and prudence often necessary when such profound decisions need to be made.

Throughout the book, one gets the feeling that Yitzchak Rabin was constantly under the thumb of Moshe Dayan.   Dayan comes off as the supreme egoist at the expense of Rabin.  Dayan seems to have taken all the credit by which Rabin was responsible.  The reader learns of the mental breakdown suffered by Rabin and his relative quick recovery during the war.

The book is a fascinating critical study of the real theater of war on the one hand along with a critical historian's eye for the miraculous events that accompanied the prosecution of that war.  This is an excellent critical history.

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