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The Crossing of the Suez, Revised Edition Paperback – October, 2003

4.7 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


The major contribution of the book, is the keen insight into the Egyptian political decision-making process... -- Library Journal, December15,1980

a victory,the most outstanding feat of Arab arms in modern times and the most audacious stoke by any army.. -- The Economist, January 7, 1981

critical insider's account of the planning and execution of the Egyptian army's momentous crossing of the Suez Canal -- Armor, january-february 1982

From the Publisher

American Mideast Research is proud to have exclusively published two books by the former Egyptian Chief of Staff, General Saad El Shazly, who led his forces across the Suez Canal to overpower Israeli lines and capture the once impregnable Bar Lev line. The Crossing of The Suez is the only account written in Egypt about the Arab Israeli 1973 war without the censorship of the Egyptian government.. All books about the war, whether by former military officers, civilian authors or journalists have been subject to editorial censorship by the Ministry of Defense before publication. This ruling has kept many of the facts surrounding the war still hidden till this day.

The Crossing of the Suez has been praised by the international press as thought provoking necessary reading. (See Book Reviews.)

The consequences of this publication cost Shazly dearly. He was court marshaled in absentia and received a three year prison sentence. He was denied legal representation, stripped of his political rights and had his property sequestered. All without a single witness, save a captain serving in military intelligence.

Two charges were brought against Shazly. The first was publishing a book without prior approval. A charge Shazly admits to. The second was divulging military secrets in his book. A charge Shazly vehemently denies, claiming the so-called secrets were government secrets rather than military secrets. Shazly maintains the government was trying to hide the facts.

In 1992 Shazly returned to Egypt after 14 years in exile in Algeria for criticizing the policies of President Anwar Sadat. He was arrested in the airport upon his return. No trial ever took place and Shazly was forced to serve his prison term, despite the rule of law according to the Egyptian Constitution that sentences received in absentia must be retried. During his time in prison Shazly’s legal team succeeded in obtaining a ruling from the highest civilian court which stated that the prior military conviction was illegal, and declared the military ruling unconstitutional. The court ordered Shazly’s immediate release. None took place. Shazly served the remainder of his sentence.

The Crossing of the Suez, and Shazly’s later book, The Arab Military Option, were never published in Egypt. They were however published in English French and Arabic and sold in many countries. The book has been reviewed by major publications including the Economist, the New York Times, the Christian Science Monitor, and others. The book is currently in its second printing.


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: American Mideast Research; Revised edition (October 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0960456228
  • ISBN-13: 978-0960456222
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.8 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,242,402 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Regardless of one's sympathies, it is easy to appreciate the brilliance of the 1973 assault on Israel's Bar Lev line--this book is as succinct as a combat unit diary in its description of the planning, preparation and execution of an operation that will be studied by military staff officers for many years to come. Amazingly, the Egyptians under General Saad El Shazly were able to pull off the feat of surprising the Israelis when the Israelis knew they were coming.
The main appeal is the precise operations briefing feel of the bulk of the book. The author falters only when he addresses the period following Egyptian deep penetration into the Sinai. It was at this point that political factors and personal agendas began to conflict with tactical objectives. When it occurred that the Egyptians might be able to achieve even greater success than their plan envisioned both the plan and Egyptian senior leadership reached their limits.
The narrative not-too subtly shifts to an extended argument explaining why it was everyone else's fault that tactical and ultimately strategic gains realized by brilliant and faithful execution of an almost faultless plan were lost. Even this portion is valuable though, providing as it does, insight into the non-military challenges facing any military planner. The General's sometimes plaintive comments about the political in-fighting that interfered with and ultimately, in his view, cost Egypt the victory ring true.
In summary, this is a book that is valuable for the professional and amateur military strategist alike. It will be treasured for its detailed description of one of history's most successful large scale special operations as well as its insight into the manifest difficulty inherent in managing the tension between military and political objectives.
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Format: Paperback
Out of many books I read about the Yom Kippur War, this was one of the best. It is the only book in English that I know of that was written by an Egyptian top commander, giving details about the Egyptian side of the story (having in mind that most of the other books about this war was written from the Israeli point of view). Shazly is a war hero, who fought in five wars, finally reaching Egyptian Chief of Staff during the Yom Kippur War.

The author's military career and charisma can be felt through his style of writing, which greatly simplifies complex situations. He is clear and organized. He carefully lists military hardships faced before the war and the necessary equipments and training the Egyptian army lacked. Then, he goes on explaining the political implications. He continues then listing the war details, day by day. The most amazing thing is the book is still banned in Egypt and the man was exiled from Egypt and sentenced to jail, which he actually partly served after returning. So sad to see such a war hero be humiliated instead of received with honor.
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Format: Paperback
This book does a great job covering the planning, preparation, and execution of the Egyptian crossing of the Suez and taking the Bar-Lev line. While it is probably necessary to include all of the political discussions, it seems to devolve into covering ones own backside and pointing the finger at others. Who knows if we will ever know the truth about the attack to the Sinai passes. Aside from those political sections though, the book is a good read.

I highly recommend it to anyone interested in the operations itself, or interested in the planning of an operation based on your capabilities.
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Format: Paperback
This book answers several minor mysteries surrounding the 1973 War (for instance, why did the Egyptians stop just under the air defense umbrella? Why didn't they continue their offensive?) and also highlighted the planning and execution that went into the crossing of the Suez Canal. Far from being a desperate and unrealistic attempt to crush Israel, Shazly illustrates the thought processes that went into the war. The crossing itself was not only a realistic exercise (as the Egyptians proved) but was also an example of excellent planning and staff work. The Egyptian generals went to war with realistic goals but allowed themselves to be talked into POLITICAL objectives, with disastrous results.

This book is an excellent work, well worth the effort to find a copy. It's too bad that many of the typos of the original edition were not eliminated in the 2003 edition. But, it's good history as well as a good example of military philosophy.
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Review of the Crossing of Suez

The late Lieutenant General Saad El Shazly; the chief of Staff of the Egyptian Armed Forces and the author of "The Crossing of Suez" provides a comprehensive account of what actually happened on the Egyptian front during the October 1973 war. The author details the spectacular events that followed the initial crossing of the Suez Canal on October 6, including the storming of the infamous Bar Lev line, absorbing the initial counter enemy blows, inflicting heavy losses on the attacking troops both in the Air and on the ground, establishing a bridgehead on the West Bank of the Canal with two armies and their heavy equipment in less than 15 hours. The book highlights the military battles that took place on both banks of the Canal and until the final cease fire went into effect. The author also provides a fascinating account of his relations with the Egyptian President, the Commander in Chief prior to and during the war.

General Shazly answered many questions, especially for those readers who didn't follow that war. He explains the daring and brilliant Egyptian war plan and troop preparations to cross the Suez Canal to reclaim Sinai. This was a formidable operation for the Egyptian army, given the enemy fortifications and the Suez Canal topography. Indeed, military professionals regard the Suez crossing by the Egyptian Army as a military/ engineering miracle. The reader can't help but admire the Egyptian General Shazlie, his staff officers, and the corps of military engineers of the Egyptian Army, for their leadership, vision, dedication, ingenuity and attention to detail in order to ensure that the Suez Canal crossing would be successful with minimum losses of men and material.
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