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Shimon Peres: The Biography Hardcover – February 27, 2007


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 576 pages
  • Publisher: Random House (February 27, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1400062926
  • ISBN-13: 978-1400062928
  • Product Dimensions: 10.2 x 5.7 x 1.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,761,410 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Even to his admirers (and there are many), Shimon Peres remains a frustratingly enigmatic figure. He is widely esteemed internationally as a statesman of the first order. Yet, although he has twice served as prime minister, Peres has never been a personally popular figure within Israel. Bar-Zohar has known Peres for years and received his full cooperation in writing this biography. In describing his subject's long and varied life, Bar-Zohar is consistently confronted with contradictions. Although often viewed as an intellectual, Peres has had little formal education, and although he often seems warm and engaging, many view him as chilly and detached. He speaks with the voice of moderation and compromise, but Peres' quarrels with other Israeli politicians are legendary for their length and vitriol. Bar-Zohar begins this engrossing saga with the shock of the assassination of Rabin, which elevated Peres to the position of prime minister. He then reverts to Peres' childhood in the Russian Empire and follows his rise to power in Israel. This is an excellent examination of a man who still remains a powerful actor on the stage of Israeli politics. Jay Freeman
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

About the Author

Michael Bar-Zohar is the award-winning author of thirty fiction and nonfiction books. Ben-Gurion, his definitive portrait of Israel’s founder, has been translated into fourteen languages. Bar-Zohar himself has been very active in Israel’s political life, and has known Shimon Peres since 1961. In addition, Bar-Zohar was the Labor Party Campaign chairman at the Knesset elections in 1981, and, with Peres, a member of the Knesset. He also served as Moshe Dayan’s media advisor. Professor Bar-Zohar taught political science and history at Haifa University and at Emory University in Atlanta. He lives in Tel-Aviv, Israel.

More About the Author

Born in Bulgaria, grew up in Israel, studied in Jerusalem and in France (Ph.D. in Political Science), fought in four Israeli-Arab wars (1956, 1967, 1973, 1982), spent nine years beside David Ben-Gurion, Israel's founder, became a fervent supporter of peace between Israel and her neighbors, served two terms in Parliament, Professor at Haifa University then at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, represented Israel at the Council of Europe, wrote more than 30 books and a few screenplays,won several awards including the French Academy award, the Ben-Gurion award, the International migration award and was knighted by the President of France as Chevalier de la Legion d'Honneur

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Extraordinarily well done!
James Schuyler
A GREAT POLITICIAN AND LEADER His legacy for his people and for the world will forever remain engraved in the pages of history.
Guillermo Fishleder
Peres in his early years was Mr. Security, and contributed greatly to the building of Israel's Army and power of deterrence.
Shalom Freedman

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Shimon Peres is today the world's senior statesman. He has been in the center of Israel politics for close to sixty years. As a young assistant of Ben- Gurion he made critical contributions to Israel's early struggles for independence and survival. It was Peres more than anyone else who formed the Franco-Israeli alliance key to the 56' Sinai Campaign. It was Peres who initiated the program of cooperation with France which led to the Dimona nuclear reactor project.
Peres in his early years was Mr. Security, and contributed greatly to the building of Israel's Army and power of deterrence.
Peres has always been a person of vision and ideas. In fact the writer Amos Oz is quoted by Bar- Zohar as saying that Peres had more 'vision' than any other Israeli leader including Ben- Gurion.
This capacity for dreaming great dreams has however often gotten Peres in trouble with the Israeli public. The most conspicuous example of this is the Oslo Peace process which he is considered to be a principal architect of. There was great hope in 1993 when Peres and Rabin signed a peace treaty on the White House lawn with Arafat. But since then the whole process has unraveled , and is considered now to have been a major mistake in Israeli policy.
Bar-Zohar tells of the paradoxical qualities of Peres who has time and again lost critical elections which appeared at first to be in the bag. This is the Peres who twice was an excellent Prime Minister of Israel and also served throughout his long career as Defense Minister, Transport Minister, Information Minister, and more.
This biography opens with a dramatic scene at Ichilov hospital after the assassination of Prime Minister Rabin. Peres the long-time rival and at this point ally of Rabin is called upon again in the critical moment to serve Israel.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Dr Yolanda Robinson on October 11, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Political leaders biographies written by friends are usually dull proproganda that omit many unfavorable facts. So I purchased SHIMON PERES with a lot of skepticism and trepidation. But the author Bar-Zohar has avoided this common mistake and in doing so has proven the value and rewards for the reader. Peres agreeing not to involve himself in the work until completion combined with Bar-Zohar's well-documented, tireless research resulted in a work worth reading. Sometimes I winced as I read about Peres'
journey or groaned when I read about his actions and decisions. With dogged determination throughout his life, it is not a surprise that Peres would eventually become Israel's President. Entering Peres world did not endear this reader to him but increased my respect for a man who is committed to the survival and strength of Israel. I applaud Peres for challenging Bar-Zohar to document his life and mostly Bar-Zohar for ferreting out the facts that informed and created Peres' life. This book is a timeless, honest contribution to political history that anyone--from a gardener to a president-- should read and add to their library.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By EC on March 15, 2007
Format: Hardcover
This book is a page turner which is no small feat for a biography. I learned so much about the man, Peres, and about his country. Between this book and Bar-Zohar's book on Ben Gurion, one gets a comprehensive and extremely readable history of the founding and history of Israel.

To say that Peres is a complex but fascinating man is an understatement. One minute you are cheering for him and the next scratching your head about his crazy ideas like the founding of a Jewish colony in French Guyana.

Early in his life Peres thought he would be content to be a farmer on a kibbutz. Fortunately for Israel, Ben Gurion recognized Peres unique visionary abilities and challenged him in multiple ways-to find weapons for Israel, first in France, then Germany; to build cities where none had been before, to build a nuclear reactor, and to build Israel's defense system from the ground up. Bar Zohar repeatedly refers to Peres as Mr. Security and documents how almost all of Peres choices and decisions have been motivated from that perspective. In contrast to his genious, Peres tendency to sabatoge himself politically makes one wonder what he could have done if he had been a master politician in addition to being a great stateman. In the end, one has to admire what this one man has done and will continue to do to for his homeland, Israel. The value of his contributions can not be overestimated.

This is a great book, one of the best that I have ever read. Bat Zohar is a meticulous historian and a great story teller. This book, Shimon Peres, is required reading for anyone interested in Israel, her leaders, and the history of the most important democracy in the Middle East.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By James Schuyler on April 13, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I was concerned when I saw the subtitle "The Biography" as though it were the definitive word on Shimon Peres. Peres--the Israeli "Mr Security", "the Energizer Peacemaker" who has picked himself up and returned to the arena so many times, and is now serving ably as President at the age of 84. How could you capture the wisdom and hope, the failings and mistakes of one of Israel's larger-than-life leaders? Amazingly, Michael Ben-Zohar with access to Peres, his friends and enemies, has made this a most readable page-turner and has captured a broad swath of Israeli history. Peres was present at the creation of the Jewish state, and has witnessed countless wars and many efforts at peace, sometimes when he was the architect. Yes, this is "The Biography" well worth reading, whether you are reliving this history or reading about it for the first time. Extraordinarily well done!
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