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The Yom Kippur War: The Epic Encounter That Transformed the Middle East Paperback – October 4, 2005


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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Rabinovich, a reporter for the Jerusalem Post, has researched thoroughly and written with clarity, balance and compassion for the victims of a war much larger and fiercer than most Western readers have believed. Anwar Sadat emerges as a major player, having reformed the Egyptian Army and evolved a national strategy of limited objectives. The Israelis, Rabinovich argues, then played into Sadat's hands by intelligence failures that delayed their mobilization, gross underestimation of Arab fighting qualities, and not reckoning on new enemy weapons (the SA-6 antiaircraft missile and the Sagger antitank missile) that would make the Israeli Air Force and armor-heavy ground troops vulnerable. The result was a war that began with serious Israeli losses and major Arab advances, in the Sinai and on the Golan Heights, within miles of Israeli civilians. Sheer hard fighting by the Israelis at the front limited the damage, however, and in spite of leadership conflicts and a few outright failures that Rabinovich dramatizes with flair, a viable Israeli strategy supported by improved tactics gradually emerged. The result was a victory for Israel that was actually more devastating than the Six-Day War, with the added effect of leading to a partial peace with Egypt and later Syria and Jordan. Rabinovich may overpraise Henry Kissinger, and he may underplay the Israeli Air Force, but his book covers everything else at a level equally useful to both the newcomer and the experienced student of the subject.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

The thirtieth anniversary of the Yom Kippur War just passed, and this is the second major work to commemorate that conflict. Howard Blum's Eve of Destruction [BKL S 1 03] tended to focus on more sensational aspects, such as Israeli plans for nuclear war, double agents, and suicide pills for leaders. A resident of Jerusalem, Rabinovich is a journalist who covered the war for the Jerusalem Post. His work is more restrained than Blum's and emphasizes the military and political struggles. Yet the story contains inherent drama and tension, and Rabinovich effectively captures both. He uses recently declassified materials and information gleaned from participants to reveal how Israel was caught unprepared but managed to turn the tide with some bold tactical maneuvers. His portraits of familiar figures--Sadat, Meir, Sharon, Kissinger--are revealing and often surprising. His analysis of the long-term effects of the war is likely to stoke controversy in both Israel and the Arab world. Jay Freeman
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 592 pages
  • Publisher: Schocken; Reprint edition (October 4, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0805211241
  • ISBN-13: 978-0805211245
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 1.2 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (97 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #247,093 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Abraham Rabinovich is a journalist born and raised in New York City. A graduate of Brooklyn College and a US Army veteran, he worked as a reporter for newspapers including Newsday and arrived in Israel on the eve of the Six Day War. After completing his first book, The Battle for Jerusalem, he joined the Jerusalem Post as a reporter and feature writer. His freelance articles have been published in The New York Times, the International Herald Tribune and The New Republic, among other publications. He is the author of six books, including The Yom Kippur War, The Boats of Cherbourg and Jerusalem on Earth. He lives in Jerusalem and has two daughters and five grandchildren.

Customer Reviews

This book was very informative for me and very well written.
Scamp Lumm
This should be a required reading for every Israeli student and for anyone interested in Middle East history.
Payam Hakimi
To conclude, "The Yom Kippur War" has all of the characteristics of the best military history.
Amazon Customer

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

59 of 63 people found the following review helpful By Seth J. Frantzman HALL OF FAME on January 20, 2004
Format: Hardcover
This wonderful new book on the Yom Kippur war is the most updated, accurate thorough account yet written on the subject. Early works on the Yom Kippur war suffered due to secrecy on both sides of the conflict. Later works, like Blums 'eve of destruction' are narrow in their outlook and focus usually on only one or two elements of the conflict. This masterful work focuses on the entire conflict. From AMAN's intelligence failures to the planning for operation Badr to the 'last temple' statements of Mr. Dayan. Here is blow by blow coverage of the minor skirmishes and the large battles as well as day to day accounts of the fate of the men along the Bar-Lev line. The Yom Kippur War has long been relegated to the Sack Heap of history, a seminal conflict ignored in the broader context of the Arab Israeli wars. Usually it plays second fiddle to the `Six Day War' yet the Yom Kippur War was the most fascinating of the conflicts due to its multi-dimensional nature, from the surprise attack to the early setbacks, the airlift and the final world shattering gains in the Golan and across the Suez.
Rabinovich is well known for his other work in the Jerusalem Post and he is an acknowledged expert on political and military affairs. But this book remains a tour de-force of epic proportions. Simply a very readable, extremely accessible and detailed account. Scholars of Israeli history as well as those looking for an epic military history book will enjoy this new volume. Anyone interested in the Arab-Israeli conflict and the modern geography of the middle east will find this book insightful.
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62 of 67 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer VINE VOICE on April 12, 2004
Format: Hardcover
In reading military history, one will often find that all human perspective is drowned in tactics and weapons systems or, conversely, that human elements have distracted the author and overwhelmed the war's place in history. This can be especially true in regard to the wars of Israel because there is such an intense emotion surrounding them. Happily, Abraham Rabinovich has avoided both of these problems with his masterful "The Yom Kippur War". Moreover, he succeeds admirably in placing the war with in the broader context of the region and the times.
What makes "The Yom Kippur War" so successful is that Rabinovich captures and dissects all of the elements necessary to look at the war not just as a series of battles, but as a subject worthy of historical study. These might be described as the prologue, the war itself (battles, casualties, personalities, etc.), battlefield innovation (tactics and weapons), geopolitics and historical perspective. Alone, each area is well researched and written, combined they form one of the most effective and impressive military histories one is likely to encounter.
By defining the Yom Kippur War as a product of numerous clashes dating back to Israel's founding, Rabinovich transcends a simple narrative of events and forces the reader to consider the root causes of the conflict, and how those causes dictated its course. One simple example is how Israel's stunning victory in The Six Day War lead to an institutional arrogance that meant they started the war poorly deployed and with limited ability to improvise in its early days. Moreover, Rabinovich does a nice job of capturing the Arab, and particularly the Egyptian, point of view.
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26 of 29 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 7, 2004
Format: Hardcover
This is a generally well written and comprehensive history of the Yom Kippur War. It includes an extensive discussion of the days leading up to the war, as well as its immediate aftermath.
While I strongly recommend the book, I believe there were areas for improvement. The detail on some of the battlefield encounters could have been shortened. In addition, while the book discusses the thinking and actions of Arab leaders, the focus is overwhelmingly on the Israeli side. More detail on the Arab side would have made for an even more interesting book.
Among the more fascinating parts of the book:
1. The sheer volume of intelligence ignored by the Israeli defense and intelligence establishments prior to the war.
2. Ariel Sharon standing out not so much for his military daring but for being one of the few senior Israeli military leaders not initially paralyzed by the surprise and early success of the Arab invasion.
3. The role of Henry Kissinger who almost micro-managed the conflict to a draw to set the table for future peace negotiations.
4. The degree to which individual initiative at relatively low ranks in the Israeli Army helped Israel stem the tide until it was able to counterattack.
This book argues, convincingly, that the Yom Kippur War was actually the first step in the Egyptian-Israeli peace process. It is an important work in understanding the Middle East today.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By DrBig on March 5, 2004
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I'll be brief, it's excellent. He starts us off with an understanding of the Israeli self-assuredness that led to the successful Arab deception prior to the war. When the shooting starts, the author gives us a meticulous account on the happenings of both fronts which is based on countless personal interviews. The tank combat on the Golan Heights is the most thrilling I have ever read on armor battles. And I have read plenty of Kursk & Bulge. If this book were a dessert, I would call it a chocolate souffle.
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