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1967: Israel, the War, and the Year that Transformed the Middle East 1st Edition

18 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0805070576
ISBN-10: 0805070575
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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

It is now 40 years since the Six Days' War, in which Israel routed the armies of Egypt, Syria, and Jordan and transformed the geography and political landscape of the Middle East. Segev is a columnist for Ha'aretz, Israel's leading left-of-center daily newspaper, and he clearly views the events leading to the war as well as the aftermath of the conflict with a predictable bias. Still, many of his revelations are both startling and credible. A substantial portion of the book is devoted to an analysis of Israeli society on the eve of the war. Segev portrays a nation plagued by disillusionment, communal tensions, and anxiety about national survival. The idealism that inspired the early Zionist pioneers had waned, and the Ashkenazi and Sephardic communities seemed increasingly resentful of each other. An increased awareness of the Holocaust by the younger generation combined with the extreme rhetoric of Arab leaders contributed to a sense of impending doom. Segev asserts that the outbreak of war was hardly inevitable and was precipitated by gross miscalculations by both sides. Freeman, Jay
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"Today we know that Israel's triumph in 1967 was a Pyrrhic victory. Tom Segev's 1967 makes that more clear than anything written on the subject . . . Segev documents this historic tragedy brilliantly, authoritatively, as no one has before."--Amos Elon, Ha'aretz
"Tom Segev's 1967 offers a brilliant description of the Six Day War in its widest context: the international scene, the Middle Eastern confrontations, the political and social situation of Israel, as well as fascinating snippets of everyday life. The crucial role of individual actors is deftly woven into the general picture, the description of the military events is enthralling. This is probably the best book on those most fateful days in the history of Israel and the Middle East."--Saul Friedlander, author of The Years Of Extermination: Nazi Germany And The Jews, 1939-1945
"The year 1967 divides the history of Israel in two: what came before and what came after. Tom Segev's book makes this abundantly clear, and demonstrates the difference between a military victory and a political one."--Daniel Barenboim

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 688 pages
  • Publisher: Metropolitan Books; 1st edition (May 29, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0805070575
  • ISBN-13: 978-0805070576
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 1.6 x 9.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,154,088 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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24 of 30 people found the following review helpful By R. Albin TOP 1000 REVIEWER on July 30, 2007
Format: Hardcover
This good book is a combined political and social history of Israel before, during, and after the Six Day War. Segev presents a detailed portrait of Israeli society and politics as being in the throes of a major transition. In 1966, Israel was in something of a funk. A major recession caused considerable distress, immigration had slowed, Israeli society was having difficulty assimilating Middle Eastern immigrants, and the Ashkenazi political elite was aging.

Against this background, Segev describes the crisis with the Arab states primarily in terms of internal Israeli politics and the difficut decision to take preemptive action. Segev does well in describing the complex political dynamics of politics leading up to the war and the decision to go to war. Segev sees internal Israeli politics as the major driver of the decision to go to war. He asserts that the war was avoidable and clearly sees the Israelis as the major decision makers. These views, however, are only assertions. Segev presents no real discussion of this contentious issue. A major problem with his assertion is that there is no discussion of the war from the Arab point of view or any documentation about Arab decision making. The issue of whether or not the war was avoidable, however, is not really the focus of the book.

Segev's recurrent theme, which runs throughout the whole book and emerges most strongly in the final sections, is the internal contradictions of the Zionist ideal. The Zionists exhibited a quasi-mystical desire to possess Palestine but also wished to establish a European style democratic state. This second goal, however, conflicted with the reality that fulfillment of the Zionist project meant the involuntary displacement of Palestinian Arabs.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Matthew Smith on July 22, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Mr. Segev has given readers another look into Israeli society and history. What I really liked about this book is how the author tackles the topic from all facets of Israeli society. He doesn't simply chronicle the decision making process among the leaders of Israeli society, but instead attempts to chronicle the story as seen by all Israelis. In doing so the author has written a psychological history as much as anything else.

By going through letters, diaries, newspaper headlines and combing through government archives Mr. Segev attempts to give the reader an inside look at what was happening with Israeli society before, during and immediately after the Six Day War. He uses soldiers diaries to give the reader a sense of what they were fighting for and what they thought. He uses correspondence between relatives in Israel and abroad to show the mood of the Israeli people. He writes of the elitism of
Ashkenazi and the impoverishment of the Mizrahi Jews. The feeling of gloom and failure of the Zionist dream seems almost palpable. The Zionist dream seems to have stalled after hitting the harsh realities. Israel's great leaders had gone into semi-retirement (although never really far from center stage). The recession on top of all the other real problems created a depressing mood on the eve of Israel's most resounding triumph. Mr. Segev does a great job detailing all of this, and he goes deep into the elites feelings and decision making process in the lead up to the war.

But I had some serious problems with some of the history presented here. During the lead up to war Segev paints a picture of indecision and fear among the ministers. He writes about all night ministerial cessions discussing the dangers of war.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By E. Kelley on November 10, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I am a picky reader, so please do not take this review lightly. I have read a great deal about the Israeli-Palestine conflict, but Thomas Segev far exceeds anyone else I have read for his objective and balanced treatment of this complicated subject. His detailed descriptions of everyday Israeli life interspersed with historic/political details create an absolutely intriguing and fascinating book. Segev's careful reliance upon historical documents and newspapers as well as personal and professional correspondence gives this account of the 1967 conflict an irresistible quality.

I cannot say enough except that I cannot wait to receive my next book by Tom Segev!
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Sam Yahm on February 19, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Rated by the Economist Magazine as one of the best books of 2007, 1967: Israel, the War, and the Year that Transformed the Middle East provides exactly what it tries to provide, an insight into how the "Six Day War" affected Israel. I recommend this book to anyone who wants to gain a greater understanding of Israel and their view of the Middle East. This book also provides an inside look into Israeli politics now and then.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Lehigh History Student VINE VOICE on January 5, 2011
Format: Paperback
1967 covers a pivotal year for Israel that transformed it into a modern state and established it as a power in the Middle East. Tom Segev writes to cover the build up to the war including military, social, political and cultural factors that led to it and then explores how these changed Israel afterwards. I do agree with all of the reviewers that this book is written like a novel and it is not well done. The story is fascinating and it is told well but the organization is lacking and there are several points where you just want to scream get to the point. The transitions between the cultural side and the political side are not well made although he gets better with those at the end. The details of the war are covered in minimalist fashion (if you want more details on the war check out Michael O'Brien's book Six Day War) but primarily the political maneuverings of the Israeli government. Overall just an average book with good facts but organized poorly.
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