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Every Spy a Prince: The Complete History of Israel's Intelligence Community Hardcover – July, 1990

4.4 out of 5 stars 20 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The Israeli secret service's exalted reputation declined in 1973 with Mossad's failure to foresee the Yom Kippur War, setting off bitter and demoralizing feuds among the country's intelligence agencies, such as Shin Bet and Aman, and was further complicated by a succession of scandals in the 1980s that included the Jonathan Pollard and Mordechai Vananu arrests. Basing their work on interviews with former operatives and on declassified documents, CBS news correspondent Raviv and Israeli journalist Melman here produce a revealing critical history of the rise and decline of Israel's vaunted security and intelligence arm, from the idealistic pioneering days to the current disarray in the face of the Palestinian intifada and the shocking vulnerability of the intelligence community to material corruption. In today's Israel, claim the authors of this controversial book, "making money has become a Golden Calf, before which much of society--including its intelligence and military circles--kneels." Photos.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

The amount of detail in this book certainly lends some credence to the book's subtitle, and the journalist authors have also uncovered some fascinating new information: Israel has a number of top secret agencies, including one devoted to protecting their nuclear program and another for rescuing Jews from unfriendly countries; nuclear weapons using submarine-based launch platforms are nearly a reality; and Israel has been spying on the United States for years. The authors work diligently in this book to convince the world of the high morality of the Israeli cause. Israeli intelligence has been a popular subject for fiction and nonfiction, but there has yet to be a definitive nonfiction account on the subject. This readable and entertaining book is recommended for larger Middle East collections. --David P. Snider, Casa Grande P.L., Ariz.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 466 pages
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin (T); First Edition edition (July 1990)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0395471028
  • ISBN-13: 978-0395471029
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.7 x 9.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #85,518 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Unknown Binding
I read this book years ago, loaned it to somebody and didn't get it back. I bought another copy from a used books store and read it again. Whenever people ask me my favorite book of all time, this is the one I mention. I was blown away with how Israel was involved in everything going on in the world. I was impressed, intrigued, and yes - it was a book that I couldn't put down. I am lending this book to a coworker tomorrow, which is why only now am I rating it. If you couldn't tell, I LOVE this book.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Raviv and Melman's book was upstaged two years after it was released -- by the publication of Ari Ben Menashe's remarkable expose Profits of War. The authors covered only a small part of the Iran-Gate arms for hostages controversy, which Ben Menashe discusses in depth in his book.

The authors seem oblivious of the implications of their own research. For example, Israel's staged false flag operation in Egypt in the mid 1950s known as the Lavon Affair was meant to sour relations between the US and Egypt president Nasser. How to do this? Bomb and kill Americans in Cairo and blame it on Arabs.

The authors also present a transparently ridiculous version of another covert operation -- Israel's attempt to sink the US naval ship USS Liberty in the final days of the 1967 war. The authors write that the attack on the Liberty was a mistake -- in the face of overwhelming evidence that Israel intentionally targeted the Liberty, probably part of a plan to expand the Six Day War by attacking Egypt. The idea was to sink the Liberty -- on patrol off the Israeli coast -- and blame it on Egypt, this creating a pretext for removing Nasser from power. The Israelis attacked the ship for several hours and despite killing 34 US sailors and wounding more than a hundred -- they failed to sink it before a Russian ship luckily appeared on the scene. At which point, the Israelis withdrew. Later, the whole episode was covered up. Shame on the authors for participating in this grisly distortion of history.

Every Spy a Prince is useful for background purposes. However, the reader should be cautious. The book is anything but definitive.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
While this very well-written book focuses on Israel, it is also of interest to those wanting to learn more about the relationship between Western countries, and Africa, and Western Countries, and the Middle East generally. Far from being a cheerleader for the Israeli services, I found the authors quite critical, and sometimes disdainful of ill-conceived operations, or ex-officials who peddled their expertise.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Stories, if they are true, about the Israeli intelligence services. While they have pulled off some very well known operations that were successful, the book also tells about the failures. Some of the events are well known others are much lesser known, including how the USA received the gift of a complete Russian radar station.
Just the major caveat - what is true and what is fiction. When dealing with spooks don't believe everything. Each source has their own axe to grind.
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Format: Hardcover
The Israeli Intelligence Services are wreathed in a certain veil of secrecy. While all intelligence services can benefit from some legendary creating mystery, the David sensibility of Israel's services against numerous Goliaths is especially fascinating. This book delivers a great history of the Mossad in all its glory and decline. The 1973 Yom Kippur War was a massive failure for the agency, setting the two primary agencies of Domestic Intelligence, Shin Bet, against the Foreign Intelligence service, Aman. It is an enthralling and detailed history of its successes and failures, dovetailed with strong descriptions of operations and personalities. We also learn about their nuclear program, spying on America and their nuclear deterrent of diesel-electric subs equipped with nuclear tipped cruise missiles. I have had exchanges with Yossi Melman who is a forthright and conscientious journalist. This is a critical revelation that lifts the veil of mystery on Israel's intelligence service which also exposes critical weaknesses in terms of graft and corruption. A sad departure from its early days of pioneer spirit.

Michael Mandaville, Author - "Stealing Thunder"
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Wonderful read. This book gives the reader a good insight into Israel's secret service composition and the efforts this country is making in every possible way to protect itself and its citizen from terrorists. At some points it also describe's failure's of the sercret service community. There are some hard lessons to be learned and I am sure Israel has done so,. The authors have done a good job in outlining the secret service history of this wonderful nation.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Quite revealing! Some of the information has changed because of the dictates of time, but the fundamentals of this most lethal and effective intelligence community are sound. The global intelligence community could profit from this laser-sharp review save a dangerous evolving characteristic the authors could not dismiss or ignore: arrogance through the absence of tangible accountability as defined by international law.
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Anyone curious about the intriguing history of espionage in Israel will find this book to be of great interest. Israel's quest for nuclear weaponry is of particular interest.
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