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Six Days of War: June 1967 and the Making of the Modern Middle East Paperback – June 3, 2003


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Presidio Press (June 3, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345461924
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345461926
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.4 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (275 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #55,101 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This is the most complete history to date of the Six Day War of 1967, in which Israel entered and began its occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip. While no account can be definitive until Arab archives open, Oren, a Princeton-trained senior fellow at Jerusalem's Shalem Center who has served as director of Israel's department of inter-religious affairs and as an adviser to Israel's U.N. delegation, utilizes newly available archival sources and a spectrum of interviews with participants, including many Arabs, to fill gaps and correct misconceptions. Further, Six Days of War is an attack on "post-Zionism": the school of politics and history that casts Israel as the author of policies that intentionally promote the destuction of Palestine as a separate entity and of Palestinians as a people, not least through the occupation that began with the 1967 War. By contrast, Oren convincingly establishes in an often engrossing narrative the reactive, contingent nature of Israeli policy during both the crisis preceding the conflict and the war itself. As Prime Minister Levi Eshkol held the Israeli Defense Forces in check that May, Operation Dawn, an Egyptian plan for a preemptive strike against Israel, came within hours of implementation. It was canceled only because Egypt's President Gamal Abdel Nasser feared it had been compromised. Israel's decision to seek its own security in arms was finally triggered, Oren shows, by Jordan's late accession to the hostile coalition dominated by Egypt and Syria. Geographically, the West Bank, then under Jordanian rule and occupation, cut Israel nearly in half. The military risk to Israel was unacceptable, Oren makes clear, in the context of a U.S. enmeshed in Vietnam and a West unwilling to act even in support of the status quo. Far from being a product of strategic calculation, Oren further argues, occupation of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip was also contingent: the consequence of a victory so rapid and one-sided that even Israel's generals found it difficult to believe it was happening. Israel, having proved it could not be defeated militarily and now possessing something to trade, hoped for comprehensive peace negotiations in a rational-actor model. Oren notes that some initiatives for peace did in fact develop. He seems, however, trying to convince himself along with his readers. Oren puts what he sees as Israel's enduring weaknesses in relief: not arrogance, but self-doubt, self-analysis and self-criticism, all carried to near-suicidal degrees in 1967. Arab policy, by contrast, featured a confident commitment to erasing Israel from the map. The Six Day War shook that confidence, he finds, but did not alter the commitment. About the nature of Israeli policy since the war, the book says little, but finds that "for all its military conquests, Israel was still incapable of imposing the peace it craved." --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Library Journal

In perhaps one of the most valuable recent works on this subject, Oren, a scholar and Senior Fellow at the Shalem Center, Jerusalem, details events from the Six Day War known in the Arab world as Al-Naksah (the setback) or simply the June war. The book's value lies in its focus and extensive documentation of multilingual resources, including archives, newspapers, reports, books, interviews, and Internet sites. In addition, Oren covers the international, regional, and domestic implications of the war and uses maps to illustrate the geographical changes and military strategies. Many books, e.g., Ahron Bregman's Israel's War: 1947-1993, Tibi Bassam's Conflict and War in the Middle East, 1967-91, and Eric Hammel's Six Days in June, cover a broader period, rely heavily on analysis, or fall short of objectivity. While Oren also recounts some necessary historical context for understanding the war's catalysts and discussing its aftermath, he primarily focuses on the pivotal six days of conflict, dedicating a full chapter for each day. Predictably, the most controversial information is his new findings on an Egyptian top-secret plan that came very close to eradicating Israel's army and nuclear power plant. While this is an essential addition for academic libraries, the book's exhaustive documentary style makes it a lesser candidate for public libraries. Ethan Pullman, Univ. of Pittsburgh Lib.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

This is a very informative and well written book.
John
This book is a useful source of information on the subject and refutes the conspiracy theory version of the attack.
Amazon Customer
Oren covers the Six Day war in great depth in this book.
Neel Aroon

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

170 of 184 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 27, 2002
Format: Hardcover
If you have time for only one book on the Middle East, purchase this book. Much of the current dispute is a result of the events of the 6 Day War. Mr. Oren's work incudes over 80 pages of footnotes, many referencing recently declassified files and personal interviews with the key players.
Although packed with information, the book is well edited and a relatively easy read - managing to build suspense although the outcome is well known.
No one emerges as a complete hero or a complete villian in Mr. Oren's gripping narrative - a tribute to the balanced, objective nature of the work.
After reading this book, the reader will never view current developments in the Middle East in the same light.
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211 of 236 people found the following review helpful By dougrhon on June 11, 2002
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The events of June 1967 have been written about extensively. Never before, however, has a book been published that not only chronicles the six days of the war itself but also the factors which led to it. In this important new work, Michael Oren looks back and comprehensively examines each and every aspect of the conflict.
Oren presents the history from a military, diplomatic, political and cultural perspective. Through the extensive examination of archives, official reports, memoirs and interviews with surviving figures, Oren details the roles played by all the major players from the perspective of, not just the Israelis but the Egyptians, Syrians and Jordanians as well as the United States and the Soviet Union.
After beginning by presenting a brief synopsis of the Arab-Israeli conflict to that point, Oren describes the series of miscalculations by Nasser that led Egypt into war several years before he intended. A combination of Syrian bellicosity, support of Palestinian terrorist incursions in Northern Israel together with the goading of his unstable general Amer, led Nasser to force the United Nations out of the de-militarized Sinai and to illegally close the Tiran straits to Israeli shipping, tantamount to a declaration of war. As Oren clearly shows, war with Egypt was inevitable the moment the straits were closed. No sovereign nation could ignore a blockade of its shipping.
Oren chronicles Israel's political struggle with the United States and the Soviet Union to permit an appropriate military response to Egypt's provocations.. Despite the clear act of war by Egypt, the Johnson administration, hobbled by Vietnam and fearful of a confrontation with the Soviets, urged Israel to show restraint.
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108 of 120 people found the following review helpful By Mark D Burgh on June 11, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Michael Oren's book is a gripping account of the Six-Day War, one that is clear from his extensive research, no one wanted. Oren shows the complex issues that moved the Egypt and Israel into a deadly tragedy. Putting the Six-Day War into his vast Cold War context illuminates the impotence of the Superpowers, the incompetence of Egypt and Syria, and the dangerous gamble Israel took when launching its necessary strike.
Oren gives us as many perspectives as he can; American, Russian, Israeli, Eqyptian, Jordanian, English participants all have their say. The brilliance of this book is not just Oren's gripping account of the war, but his making the reader understand the incredible pressure that Nasser, King Hussein, and Levi Eshkol were under. This book made me feel some sympathy for the Egyptians, poorly-led, sacrificed to Nasser's macho posturing and cronyism, to Cold war cant, and massive poverty.
What is chilling about this book is that nearly forty years later, not much has changed, as Oren points out.
Readers of Tom Clancy will find real people and real tragedy more gripping than fake heroics; no heros here, just survivors.
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55 of 63 people found the following review helpful By Vladimir Dorta on June 20, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Michael Oren's Six Days of War is one of the most exhaustively, minutely researched books I have ever read, a most flattering remark if one takes into account the innate investigative difficulties of the matter at hand. Objective, straightforward and an easy read, the book nevertheless leaves the spirit wanting for more strategic and tactical detail and for many more pages to read. It is that good.

The history-conscious reader will go beyond the common analogy of tiny Greece versus the Persian empire to find interesting parallels with the 1936 Spanish Civil War in the sanctimoniously neutral behavior of the three Western powers, always ready to put pressure on Israel to accept Arab demands by negating her the most basic armaments, as opposed to the massive rearming of Egypt and Syria by the Soviets before, during and immediately after the war. In fact, Israel was able to maintain parity with Egypt only because of the unbelievably large amounts of untouched war material abandoned by Egyptians, Syrians and Jordanians while retreating. There are even parallels with Europe in 1914, the Arab leadership making miscalculations just as big as those of Austria. Some of these miscalculations, and the absurd comicality of the power struggle among Arab leaders being such that at times one cannot help but think of the Three Stooges parody of Hitler (Nasser), Goering (Field Marshal Amer) and Goebbels (King Hussein), especially when their bickering led to three military decisions that sealed the fate of the Egyptian army and the war.
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