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One Day in September Hardcover – September 1, 2000

4.7 out of 5 stars 40 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

In the early hours of September 5, 1972, members of the ultraviolent Palestinian terrorist faction Black September scaled the perimeter fence surrounding the Olympic Village in Munich. Their target was the temporary home of the Israeli Olympic team. Within 24 hours, 11 Israelis, five terrorists, and a German policeman were dead.

Based largely on exhaustive investigation for the Oscar-winning documentary, One Day in September is the definitive account of the tragedy. Simon Reeve has gathered extraordinary information from a number of sources, including recently released Stasi files and interviews with key figures, including the families of the hostages, politicians, policemen, advisors, fellow athletes, media figures, and even the lone surviving member of the group that carried out the attack. Reeve's control over his material is admirable. He vividly paints images of the individuals involved, humanizing a narrative that cracks and buzzes with the compact tension of those 24 hours. At the same time, he provides the background to the attack, filling in vital historical context from the distant and recent past, such as the Arab-Jewish dispute that produced this and other terrorist actions and their responses.

Reeve conveys the public horror of Jews being incarcerated on German soil, which led the German authorities to make crucial judgments, with tragic results. Fatal errors were made that can only be fully understood through the underlying dynamics of not only Middle East history, but also postwar European politics, individual and institutional arrogance, inexperience, and political pressure--including from the International Olympic Committee. Reeve follows up the events of that day by exposing the full extent of the Israeli revenge mission, which over the next 20 years hunted down and killed those responsible for the attack. He has not only written a compelling book, but provided a considerable service in allowing readers to understand the forces of hatred and history that conspired toward inevitable, but no less tragic human consequences.

Those who were a part of the huge live media audience that watched helplessly as events unfolded will undoubtedly experience again the sense of dread at recalling those traumatized, shackled figures led out from the Olympic Village to their fate on a German airfield. Those who make the mistake of thinking the dark days of international terrorism are history will read One Day in September and remember that the same underlying tensions still cast shadows over our present and our future. --Fiona Buckland, Amazon.co.uk

From School Library Journal

Adult/High School-A comprehensive and unsettling account of a horrific occurrence that shocked millions in 1972. The Summer Olympics were held in (West) Germany for the first time since 1936, amid hopes for an open, nonmilitaristic competition. Early on the morning of September 5th, eight mem-bers of a PLO faction called Black Septem-ber snuck into the Olympic Village and stormed the men's residence, seizing 11 Is-raeli athletes and coaches. Two were killed immediately, and the remaining nine (along with five of the terrorists) were slain less than 24 hours later in a badly bungled rescue at-tempt at Frstenfeldbruck airport. Reeve's book originated with research conducted for an Oscar-winning documentary, but the vol-ume goes beyond the film to present many disturbing and previously unknown facts. While the film focuses on the massacre itself, the text covers acts of retaliation and cover-up that continued for years afterward. Indeed, one vital source of information is an investigative report, the existence of which was denied by German officials for 20 years, and came to light only through the persistent ac- tions of family members of the murdered ath-letes. Despite the regrettable omission of an index, Reeve's book is an important one since it deals with many issues-terrorism, anti-Semitism and other forms of racism, and Middle East unrest.-Dori DeSpain, Fairfax County Public Library, VA

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Arcade Publishing; 1st U.S. ed edition (September 1, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1559705477
  • ISBN-13: 978-1559705479
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.2 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #724,559 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Brian D. Rubendall HALL OF FAME on January 22, 2001
Format: Hardcover
"One Day in September" is a compelling and unblinking account of the Black September raid on the 1972 Munich Olympics that left five Palestinian terroists, 11 Israeli athletes and one German policeman dead. Reeve shows how Palestinian fanatcism, Israeli defiance and German police incompotence led to the tragedy. He also gives the background stories of the victims, putting a face to the names of the dead. The story is played out across a canvass of the Arab-Israeli conflict, of which Reeve gives a good overview for the less informed.
The second half of the book, which focusses on the Isreali revenge operation called "Wrath of God," is not as strong. Though a vital part of the overall story, the book is too brief to give the proper treatment to the myriad of assassinations that follwed the disaster. After a while it all starts to run together until both sides seem like a couple of warring mafia families.
Overall, Reeve is an excellent journalist and a good writer who knows how to tell a story. And in this case, he has a sad story to tell indeed.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
One Day in September is a fascinating and well researched book about the events surrounding the 1972 Munich Olympics takeover and subsequent massacre of members of the Israeli Olympics team by the Palestinian terrorist group Black September.
The book provides extraordinary details of events leading up to and during the takeover, the negotiations to free the hostages, the events at the airport in which all of the Israeli hostages and many of the terrorists were killed, and the aftermath; including the "Operation Wrath of God" (the Israeli retaliation), the cover-up of mistakes and miscues made by the German government and police, and the thoughts of survivors on all sides in retrospect. There is also a chapter dedicated to providing a short but comprehensive history on what led to the current problems in the Middle East - an excellent lesson for someone like myself who is a novice in this department.
This is one of the most interesting books I've ever read. I had a hard time putting it down once I started reading it. It is a must read for those who have an interest in history, and/or have their own personal memories of the Olympic games of Munich, 1972.
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Format: Hardcover
Simon Reeve has offered a compelling and definitive treatment of the events of September 5, 1972, when members of Black September occupied the building housing the male members of the Israeli Olympic team at the Munich Olympics. The book also covers the "revenge" against the perpetrators by the Israeli Intelligence organizations.
What I enjoyed most about the book was that it incorporated journalistic-style reportage with pathos that brought to life the dead Israeli athletes, and also provided a human element to the motivations of the members of Black September who planned and participated in this extremely sad and tragic event. There will, perhaps, be those who would prefer the demonization of the individuals who were part of Black September, but by treating these individuals as human beings, the events of September 5, 1972 have an added resonance for the reader that does not lesson the horror of the event.
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Format: Paperback
This is the entire story of the Munich Olympic Massacre. From the planning stages through to the exploding helicopters carrying the bound Israeli hostages, this book is a magnificent piece of research.
Black September was the Palestinian terrorist group responsible for the massacre. Named for the Jordanain military actions against the Palestinians in September of 1970 (the name had nothing to do with Israel, as one reviewer erroneously stated), Black September organized the raid on the Olympic village with the assistance of an apathetic East German Secret Police Force (the Stazi). The pathetic West German police forces at first tried to help, but after a certain point many simply refused to assist.
The results were horrifying. The news event was possibly the first live-action 24 hour news event ever broadcast and changed the way crises were broadcast on television forever.
Also included in the book is the story of the Israeli Secret Service's (Mossad) Operation Wrath of God, which was the manhunt for the perpetrators of the massacre.
This book should be read in conjunction with the documentary of the same name. A+: A masterful document that will bring you to tears.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I thought that the book written by Simon Reeve was a powerful rememberance of an inexcuseable event. The background research for this book was exhausting and it certainly helped to clarify the calamity that has yet to be resolved. This is a must read.
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By A Customer on May 25, 2004
Format: Paperback
With the upcoming 2004 Olympics in Athens, and all the fear of possible security issues, I decided to read this work on the 1972 Massacre at Munich. It is exceptionately told by Simon Reeve on how the attack was planned, conducted and the aftermath. Reeve compiles information on all that were involved, and organizes it in a way that is easy to read and understand. This is one of the best books I have read and I encourage you to pick it up.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Few works have the depth of detail and insight to shed light onto the explosive and painful relationship between the Israel and the Palestinians. Simon Reeve has accomplished what is usually impossible through research and interviews that are both disturbing and profound. By including Germany's role in the massacre, as well as Israel's response, the terrorist incident in Munich takes on an imporant world view. This is a must read!
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