Suicide attacks on Israelis, bombings, assassinations, and bloodshed in Jerusalem, Gaza, and the West Bank dominate the news from the Middle East. It is the most troubled region on earth. At its heart is the conflict between Palestinians and Israelis - and the legacy of six days of war in 1967.
After the state of Israel emerged from war in 1948, both sides knew more battles were coming. In June 1967, years of slow-burning tension exploded. In six extraordinary days, Israel destroyed the armed forces of Egypt, Jordan, and Syria. But far from bringing peace, as many Israelis hoped, their stunning victory turned into a curse.
From the initial battle order issued to the Israeli air force on Monday June 5, 1967 to the final ceasefire on the evening of Saturday the 10th, the Six-Day War was a riveting human drama. Building on his first-hand experience of the region after his five years as the BBC's Middle East Correspondent, as well as extensive original research, Jeremy Bowen presents a compelling new history of the conflict. Six Days recreates day by day, hour by hour, the bullying and brinckmanship that led four nations to war, interweaving testimonies of combatants from all sides in a seamless narrative.
A rigorous and original piece of modern history is as vivid as fiction, Six Days not only sheds new light on one of the key conflicts of the twentieth century, it explains much about the Middle East and the problems the region still faces today.
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Jeremy Bowen became a foreign correspondent in 1987, covering major conflicts in the Middle East, El Salvador, Afghanistan, Bosnia, Croatia, Chechnya, Somalia, Rwanda, and Kosovo. From 1995 to 2000 he was the BBC's Middle East Correspondent, winning a Best Breaking News report from the Royal Television Society on the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin. After two years presenting Breakfast, BBC1's morning news program, as well as major history documentaries, he now is a roving Special Correspondent. He lives in London.
This thoroughly sound and readable history of the Six-Day War that found Israel victorious over the armies of Egypt, Jordan and Syria offers a valuable perspective on a conflict that is receding into history, though its consequences, in terms of the explosive situation in the Middle East, are still with us. The author, a seasoned BBC Middle East expert, will not please the militantly Zionist reader, but likewise holds little esteem for the posturing and military ineptness of Egypt's Gamal Abdul Nasser, whose actions both provoked the war and made its consequences so disastrous for the Arab world. At the same time, Bowen provides a good overview of the roots of the Israelis' case of "victory disease," which, he says, led them to their own set of political and military miscalculations, the Yom Kippur War and the ongoing aftermath. Ultimately, the book is an effort to strike a balance between the Egyptian diving out of his burning tank and the Israeli pilot who set it on fire in the first place, and the extensive interviewing on both sides is one of the author's major tools in striking that balance. With its strong focus on the political aspect of the war, rather than on the military side of things, this engaging account should appeal to anyone remotely interested in tracing the roots of the tensions in the Middle East.
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