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Arik: The Life of Ariel Sharon Hardcover – Deckle Edge, January 10, 2014


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Arik: The Life of Ariel Sharon + Menachem Begin: The Battle for Israel's Soul (Jewish Encounters) + Like Dreamers: The Story of the Israeli Paratroopers Who Reunited Jerusalem and Divided a Nation
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 656 pages
  • Publisher: Knopf; First Edition edition (January 10, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1400042410
  • ISBN-13: 978-1400042418
  • Product Dimensions: 6.6 x 1.7 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #464,205 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Since his massive stroke in January 2006, Ariel Sharon has remained in a persistent vegetative state. Given the strong passions and controversy he engendered as both a military and political leader, it is perhaps surprising that many Israelis from each side of the political divide look back on his career and personality favorably. Landau has written for both Right and Left newspapers in Israel and is currently the Israel correspondent for the Economist. His thorough, balanced, and scrupulously fair biography makes clear why Sharon was capable of winning respect and admiration, even from his staunch political opponents. In recounting Sharon’s youth, Landau reveals Sharon as always prepared to swim against the tide, as he and his family resisted the pressures of nearby kibbutzim to maintain the independence of their farm. As a military leader, he was rash, occasionally brutal, and sometimes defiant of superiors, but at critical moments, especially during the Yom Kippur War, he was decisive and brilliant. As prime minister, despite his earlier promotion of settlement activity, he dismantled settlements and withdrew from Gaza. This is an outstanding, warts-and-all portrait of an arguably great, if not a particularly likable, Israeli leader. --Jay Freeman

Review

“A thorough, extremely candid description and assessment of the military and political lives of the controversial Sharon, who has been in a vegetative state since a massive stroke in 2006. The author...displays a deep familiarity with the details and contexts of Sharon’s career....[and] is also adept in the descriptions of the labyrinthine political world of Israel during Sharon’s era. Splendid reporting, comprehensive research and probing analysis inform this unblinking view of a complicated man and a sanguinary geography.” —Kirkus (starred review)

“[Landau’s] thorough, balanced, and scrupulously fair biography makes clear why Sharon was capable of winning respect and admiration, even from his staunch political opponents….This is an outstanding, warts-and-all portrait of an arguably great, if not a particularly likable, Israeli leader.” —Jay Freeman, Booklist (starred review)

“It is Sharon’s wholly surprising journey from ruthless military commander to what Landau calls ‘national father figure,’ from territory-expanding champion to Palestinian state advocate, that most interests Landau in ‘Arik: The Life of Ariel Sharon,’ his fine, comprehensive and readable biography. Five years in the making and published just after Sharon’s death last month, the book closely chronicles Sharon’s epic military and political battles, serving as a kind of national history….Whether or not we understand why he changed, we are given a close look at how and when, including Sharon’s sudden use of the word ‘occupation’ in 2003 to describe Israel’s control over the West Bank and Gaza, anathema to his right-wing base at the time. Sharon never really recognized the importance of the Palestinians to Israel’s future as much as he accepted the importance of the Americans and their policy requests. He did see, Landau argues, that unless Israel rid itself of rule over millions of Palestinians, it could not survive as a Jewish and democratic state. His willingness to act boldly on that understanding through withdrawal from Gaza, Landau says, is his most significant legacy. Only if it lasts, he concludes, will Zionism be saved.” —Ethan Bronner, New York Times Book Review

“Sharon’s radical change from virulent hawk to moderate peace seeker is one of the more interesting political changes in recent times. Landau skillfully and engagingly chronicles the how and why of that change and other fascinating details of a life well lived.” —Claude R. Marx, Washington Independent Review of Books
 
“[Landau] has done a superb job here in attempting to chisel away the myths that surround Sharon and to isolate his essence without theatrics or ideological fanfare. He allows the research to lead him, and his steadiness and fairness prove a good match for Sharon’s impetuousness; ironically it feels as if they each possess strengths the other lacks. The result is a complex and compelling portrait of Sharon that forces the reader to reevaluate his or her preconceived notions….Ariel Sharon’s contribution to the Israeli state, as a leader and a military hero, are enormous. But Landau has found a way to make his life comprehensible and thought-provoking, as Israel still struggles to find a path towards peace and stability and internal solidarity.” —Elaine Margolin, Jewish Journal

“Sharon lived a life saturated with controversy. Mr. Landau's biography paints a comprehensive picture of Ariel Sharon, a man easy to hate, but harder to understand. Mr. Landau does what good biographers should do, explain the life of his subject, but questioning his subject's motivations every step of the way.” —Karl Wolff, New York Journal of Books

"One of the best biographies I’ve ever read—and, I think, a must-read for anyone who wants to understand the past few decades." —Stephen Pollard, editor of Jewish Chronicle
 
“‘Arik’ is a big biography worthy of its subject, an outsized figure in the history of Israel. Sharon led a long, controversial public life that began before Israel became a state and didn't end until he suffered a stroke in 2006. He had an extensive military career before going into politics and becoming defense minister and later prime minister. Every step was marked by controversy, and Landau's book covers all of it and then some.” —Jeff Baker, Portland Oregonian
 
“As U.S. Vice President Joe Biden said in his moving eulogy, Ariel Sharon’s life mirrored the trajectory of Israel’s. David Landau’s colorful, insightful, and deftly written biography does justice to the historic sweep….Landau brings considerable analytic gifts to bear in explaining the contradictions and vicissitudes of the complex man who evolved from brilliantly unorthodox but unruly solider, radiating controversy, recalcitrance and naked aggression, to become Israel’s sober and grandfatherly 11th prime minister, and who, in so doing, morphed from the bête noire of Landau’s own center-left milieu to the standard bearer they believed would have the strength to bear peace….In Landau’s view, the two-state battle is not yet over, and Sharon could yet emerge the winner.” —Leslie Susser, The Jerusalem Report

“Compiling the life of a man who was a commander, officer, and major general in the Israeli Army in addition to a statesman, party leader, and prime minister in the Israeli government is an intimidating undertaking, particularly when that man, now at age 85, is struggling to stay alive while in the comatose state he’s been in since 2006. However, journalist Landau, who previously collaborated with Israeli president Shimon Peres on his memoir, succeeds dutifully in bringing this multifaceted life to the page. With great research and noticeable interest, Landau depicts Ariel Sharon as a man who is more complex than any one of his multitude of titles and the subsequent criticism he endured as a public servant.” —Publishers Weekly

“Compelling....Others have written about Sharon, including journalist Uri Dan, a confidante of Sharon ("Ariel Sharon: An Intimate Portrait," 2006); his son Gilad ("Sharon: The Life of a Leader," 2011); and Sharon himself penned a memoir ("Warrior," 1989). But Landau's is the most objective and nuanced book assessing the life." —Sandee Brawarsky, The Jewish Week

“Having interviewed a wide range of people who knew Sharon and offer their opinions of his actions, military and political, Landau presents a veritable Who’s Who of Israel over the last several decades. He succeeds in giving the reader a truly human portrait of one of Israel’s greatest and most controversial leaders….Very much of interest to anyone concerned with the past, present, and future of modern Israel.” —Joel Neuberg, Library Journal

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Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Robert Meyer on March 19, 2014
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Sharon is responsible for settling Israelis on conquered territory. His military exploits from the 1948 war of independence thru the war to invade Lebanon to displace the PLO and try to make peace with a compiant Lebanese Christian government are fascinating. The unlikely path of his political career, when an older and wiser Sharon became head of the government and led Israel to unilaterally disengage from Gaza, and probably would have withdrawn from parts of the conquered territoy if he had not suffered a stroke, is illuminating. The dirty side of Israeli political life with almost all figures, including Sharon, compromised, is a revelation.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Roberto on February 9, 2014
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So interesting ! I could not stop reading it
It gives a complete picture of Ariel Sharon
I recommend it
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Not only a review of one life, but a review of much of the history of modern Israel. The change from the bull dozer to the man of peace was most interesting.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Putting aside any political or emotional views I found this one of the most informative books I have read about the current middle east issues while following the life of Arik. I also came to see Arik as Israel's McArthur! Well worth your time. Very, very readable.
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By David C.Nathanson on September 10, 2014
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A very good and relatively objective review of the life of an extraordinary man written by someone who was not especially favourably disposed to him. Had he lived, he may very well have changed the course of Israel for the good.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Balanced and insightful, this book is an excellent view into the making of Israel and its military and political history through the eyes of one of its giants.
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By annoymous on October 8, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
would have liked more details of his life and work but it was very enlightening.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Donald S. Harris on May 17, 2014
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This is a must read for anyone interested in Zionism, the rise of modern Israel and it's well-being and anyone interested in an excellent biography of an exceptional man and soldier and one of Israel's Founding Fathers. Not everyone is an admirer of Ariel Sharon, but whatever their feeling about him are they will be impressed by what he accomplished and how.
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