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Ally: My Journey Across the American-Israeli Divide Hardcover – June 23, 2015
"Roots" by Alex Haley
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“Illuminating . . . Oren was by no means Netanyahu’s most truculent adviser, but his personal odyssey exemplifies the shift from a liberal and secular Zionism to a more belligerent nationalism.”—The New York Times
“Unlike other diplomatic memoirs, which rarely disclose anything controversial, Oren’s Ally: My Journey Across the American-Israeli Divide is provocative, as the former ambassador blames President Barack Obama for the sorry state of U.S.-Israel relations and much else that’s wrong in the Middle East today. . . . Oren’s book offers a view into the deep rifts that have opened not only between Washington and Jerusalem, but also between Israeli and American Jews.”—Newsweek
“A book full of penetrating insights . . . [Oren’s] beguiling, surprisingly frank memoir not only gives us the reality of what achieving his dream entailed, but tells us what he went through in order to get there. . . . It is the product not only of Mr. Oren’s challenging ambassadorial tenure in Washington but of a life well lived as an Israeli and as an American, a combination which makes him one of the most uniquely qualified judges of this ever more crucial special relationship.”—The Washington Times
“Oren has written the diplomatic equivalent of a ‘kiss-and-tell’ memoir, chronicling his years as Israel’s ambassador. . . . It is less sensational than the parts cherry-picked before publication. Yet it is informative and in parts entertaining. . . . The book is a useful account, if partial and partisan, of a unique time in US-Israeli relations, in which officials of both are criticizing each other with increasing bluntness.”—Financial Times
“The talk of Washington and Jerusalem . . . I’m not sure that in the annals of diplomatic history there’s ever been anything quite like this astonishing account of Oren’s four years as Israel’s ambassador in Washington. It’s an ultimate insider’s story told while all the players save Oren are still in place.”—New York Post
“Ally is an important read for those seeking to understand the complexities of the American-Israeli alliance. Unlike his previous two books, which were written from the perspective of an historian and became New York Times bestsellers, former Israeli ambassador Michael Oren’s latest book is based on his own personal experiences, perceptions and interactions with President Obama and the administration.”—The Huffington Post
“An irreplaceable trove of insight into what will one day be seen as a momentous historical turn . . . an insider’s account of the dramatic change of America’s behind-the-scenes policy toward the Iranian regime . . . Without ever slipping into hyperbole, the book’s measured narrative seems to confirm a lot of what the administration’s critics have been accusing it of: enabling the Iranian regime rather than really trying to stop it, while putting a vice grip on the increasingly alarmed Israelis.”—The Forward
“[A] revealing new memoir . . . a carefully recalled, detailed and riveting first-hand account of how the Washington-Jerusalem ties have unraveled—undone by mistrust, mistakes, and missed opportunities . . . The cumulative effect is profound—a steady drumbeat of behind-the-scenes examples of diplomatic dissonance. . . . Adding to the impact is the fact that Oren is neither polemicist nor political partisan.”—The Jewish Week
“I don’t know that I’ve ever read a book quite as eye-opening as Michael Oren’s Ally, the bestselling historian’s stunning new memoir of his four years as Israel’s ambassador to the United States. For what Oren has written is an account of serving as a diplomat during a Cold War—the Cold War the Obama administration launched against Israel upon coming to office. . . . Ally makes it nerve-jangingly clear just how difficult a job it has been for anyone to serve as a guardian of the special relationship between Israel and the United States.”—Commentary
“Astonishing . . . imbued with a sense of generosity, a sense that an American with an Israeli passport can genuinely love both countries deeply, even when those countries quarrel . . . The book gives us a blow-by-blow of a turbulent relationship between friends, with Oren at the heart of the drama. A big part of the book’s appeal is in its narrative texture—the late-night phone calls, the emergency meetings, the interrupted family trips, the tense summons at the State Department or White House, the strategy sessions at the embassy, and so on. It is Oren’s sharp storytelling mixed with his candid and insightful commentary that makes the book riveting.”—Jewish Journal
“[Oren’s] new memoir—an unprecedented case of a former public servant so quickly writing up sometimes intimate revelations on acutely sensitive core issues—does not describe an alliance. . . . Oren’s style is not excitable or melodramatic. In fact, he writes in a generally understated tone, with the measured sense of perspective you’d expect from a bestselling historian. So when he notes, as he does near the very end of the book, that last summer’s Israel-Hamas war left ‘aspects of the US-Israeli alliance in tatters,’ you take him seriously, and you worry.”—The Times of Israel
“Essential reading for anyone that cares about the Middle East and the special relationship between America and Israel. . . . Oren is a respected scholar. Accuracy is his coin, and he has long been considered a fair and centrist voice in a conversation with few of them. Perhaps that’s why the White House and its supporters are so worried—and why they’ve inadvertently driven the book to the top of the charts.”—NY1
“An amazing read. It is well-written—Oren is a historian—yet the book reads akin to a long-form daily newspaper, mixing politics, diplomacy, and current events. There is tremendous insight into the America-Israel relationship, and this is a must-read for anyone concerned about the State of Israel. . . . It’s a scary—yet seemingly realistic—observation from one of Israel’s highest profile representatives of the past few years.”—The Algemeiner
“Ally effectively assaults the Obama hyperbole that ‘I am the closest thing to a Jew that has ever sat in this office.’ . . . Precisely because the meticulous Oren is fair and understated, his indictment is devastating. That’s why the Obama Administration has reacted defensively and harshly to the book.”—FrontPage Mag
“Deft and pointed . . . The author proves a genuine, ardent advocate for the well-being of his beleaguered homeland and its ongoing alliance with the land of his birth. Even before its publication, Oren’s book has been attacked, based on culls of provocative pieces. Readers would do well to attend to the entire text of this fluent, important political memoir.”—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
About the Author
Top Customer Reviews
This transferred him, at about age 14, into "smart" classes, where his struggle to learn grammar and spelling paid off with his admission to Ivy League schools.
Oxford University Press had sent me a readers' copy of Six-Days of War to review before the June 2001 release of the first edition; it was Oren's first successfully published effort, and it is such a well-crafted and researched history volume, it proved a page-turner that I could not put down.
In Ally, Michael Oren has accomplished something quite different. He writes for the first time in the first person, and recounts many episodes that we already know make certain parties bristle.
Unfortunately for them, he tells the full truth, and nothing but the truth---a luxury not always available to him while he served as Israel's Ambassador to the U.S. He of course had to protect certain state secrets, and more importantly, he had to keep feathers as unruffled as possible on every front, not only at home in Israel.
(Not coincidentally, in order to accept that post Oren forever relinquished his citizenship of the U.S., a country he loves, without reserve or question.Read more ›
Going in, I expected him to be much harder on Obama than he is -- he really goes out of his way to be fair. He clearly liked Obama a lot - it's fascinating to get a sense of what it's like to be around these great figures (Obama, Hillary Clinton, Netanyahu, and even George Clooney), and to try to live a (somewhat) normal life during a period of great crisis.
What I particularly liked about the book:
1) He clearly tries to give everyone a really fair shake.
2) His writing is just beautiful. The book is a pleasure to read.
3) I now have a much better understanding of how policy decisions are made.
4) I had no idea people in Washington are so foul-mouthed.
5) I really understand how this administration made a series of bad decisions that have led to the craziness in the Middle East.
6) He explains what motivates those decisions -- a specific political ideology that he explains in terms a layperson can really get.
It's a rare book that adds light and not heat to political discourse - this is a great example.
“Finally, after many months of attentiveness, I reached my conclusion. In the absence of a high-profile provocation – an attack on a U.S. aircraft carrier, for example – the United States would not use force against Iran. Rather, the administration would remain committed to diplomatically resolving the Iranian nuclear issue, even at the risk of reaching a deal unacceptable to Israel. And If Israel took matters into its own hands, the White House would keep its distance and offer to defend Israel only if it were counterstruck by a hundred thousand Hezbollah missiles.”
Oren sensed that he could make a difference and warn of the disastrous consequences of Obama’s appeasement of Iran and that the time to do that is NOW. And he did it. This book and his three Op-Eds in the WSJ, LA Times and Foreign Policy accomplished more than all the effort of all the Israeli columnists and politicians combined, apart from Netanyahu’s speech in front of the joint meeting of Congress. But paradoxically, that was the move Oren opposed and even after reading the book I still do not understand his motives for opposing Netanyahu’s speech. After all, the only way to stop President Barack Obama’s insane Iran deal was to warn Congress.
It is interesting that Michael Oren managed to do what Bret Stephens, Martin Sherman, Ari Shavit and other Israeli and American analysts never did – quote Bernard Lewis on MAD and Iran! Why is the world ignoring the opinion on Iran and MAD by a leading western scholar of Islam is still a mystery.Read more ›
Using his celebrated skills as an academic and showing tremendous love for both the US and for Israel, Oren reveals the texture of history in the making -- and the significance of the events he witnessed and helped shape.
For all the fuss over the book, he goes very easy on Obama and his administration: He believes they mean well, and ascribes their amateurish moves in foreign policy to a particular ideology. His insights into Obama, Bibi and other major personalities are fun and fascinating.
Ally makes a compelling case for why the American-Israel alliance is crucial, not only to Israel but equally to the security and well-being of America. He traces how the relationship has gone wrong, and shows how to repair the damage.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Incredible read! Excellent insight on the life of one of the great US-Israel friends. Strongly recommend it.Published 26 days ago by Amazon Customer
I liked the book and I found it full of kernels of info I can't otherwise get. I also enjoyed the author's insight. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Zackary D. Barron
This book when read in tandem with Doomed to Succeed by Dennis Ross provides a good analysis of the tough neighborhood of the Middle East. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Stephen Ira Tamber
Very good book. I never realized what a hard job being an ambassador was. Especially if you are the Israeli ambassador, who must deal with the prejudices of people who have no... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Jean E. Terry
Michael Oren provides a rare insight into the policies, politics and personalities that have shaped the American-Israel alliance during recents events. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Ira B. Korman
Very thought provoking opus. Particularly so in contrast with the Shavitt story.Published 1 month ago by Ed Kane
A fresh new look at our relationship with our best Middle Ally. I highly recommend it.Published 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
I'm a political nerd, and a passionate American supporter of Israel. Ambassador Oren is a great historian and writer. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Robert J. Potts
Interesting book. Of course it has its own political agenda, but still enlightening read.Published 2 months ago by Elsie