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Sharon: The Life of a Leader Hardcover – October 25, 2011
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“Surprising reading. . . . The biography vividly delineates the qualities a leader needs to excel today.” (Publishers Weekly)
From the Back Cover
By the son and intimate confidant of former Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon comes an unparalleled look at the life and work of one of the world’s most powerful leaders. “A multifaceted picture of an Israeli patriot, military leader, and family man” (Kirkus Reviews).
From his youth as a soldier to his service in government, Ariel Sharon has personified Israel’s unyielding drive for security. He revolutionized the Israel Defense Forces and established the anti-terror commando Unit 101. His leadership during the Six-Day and Yom Kippur wars made him a national hero and propelled him into the political arena. As terror grew throughout the Middle East at the end of the twentieth century, Sharon’s commitment to protect and bring peace to his people underscored his election to prime minister in 2001. But within months of taking office, the 9/11 attacks shook the Western world—thrusting the controversial statesman into the center of international affairs.
Sharon has walked a fine line between waging war on Israel’s enemies and accommodating demanding allies, a balancing act that is often subject to public misperception. As prime minister, he built a fence to separate Israel from the West Bank’s suicide bombers; he isolated Yasser Arafat in his Ramallah headquarters; and in a stunning and unprecedented move, he withdrew Israel’s settlements from Gaza. Throughout his life but especially as prime minister, Sharon kept a meticulous personal record of events and of the discussionshe had with world leaders, including George W. Bush, Tony Blair, Vladimir Putin, King Abdullah, Kofi Annan, Gerhard Schroeder, Jacques Chirac, Hosni Mubarak, Mahmoud Abbas, and others. But what the public knew of these interactions often differed dramatically from what went on in private.
Gilad Sharon, the prime minister’s youngest son and close confidant, has combed through his father’s vast archive—conversations, personal notes, diaries, daybooks, military directives, correspondence, and thousands of other documents—to offer a rare, intimate, and compelling look at one man’s evolution into one of the world’s most powerful and influential figures. Filled with news-making revelations, Sharon provides a rare view of global politics in action as well as a window onto the day-to-day life of a prime minister. A dazzling portrait of a legendary elder statesman and the nation he helped to build, here is a masterful biography and an illuminating analysis of modern Middle Eastern politics and the forces that have shaped this volatile region.
Top Customer Reviews
Sharon's son Gilad shows his father to be brave, resolute, and far-sighted in the face of Arab hostility and treachery and European disingenuousness about Zionism.
Arabs have every reason to oppose Zionism since they are prisoners of medieval religiosity and unfulfilled ethnic cravings. Europeans on the other hand, and some Americans, whether out of anti-semitism, guilt for sins of commission and omission towards the Jews, or naive leftist dislike of manly nationalism oppose and close their eyes to the deeds of bloodthirsty Arab terrorists.
This volume presents not only a positive picture of Ariel Sharon; it gives the case for Israeli national determinism to resist and to survive. In my view the position taken by Gilad Sharon is 99% right and justified. Not a great book and not one without repetitions to be avoided it nevertheless makes a splendid case for why and how Israelis may defend their human right to live, prosper, and survive. The civilized world deserves blame and censure that a case for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness HAS TO BE DEFENDED AT ALL BY THIS PEOPLE.
Ariel Sharon's life paralleled the entire span of modern Israeli history and from a young age he became a major figure. He had fought in, commanded in, saved from defeat, lead or ordered every war in Israeli history up until his stroke. He is the father of the settlements and of the pullout from Gaza. Probably the only two people to have put as big a stamp on Israeli history are David Ben Gurion and Shimon Peres--and a book about Sharon better captures the "story" of Israel because Ben Gurion died 40 years ago, and Peres never served in uniform.
His son Gilad, the author, had unparalleled access since he had all of his father's meticulous notes and records, was among his father's most trusted advisors and was actually in the room for a great deal of the stories he recounts.
It is an excellent book and due to the importance of Ariel Sharon to Israeli history and the closeness of the author to his subject, I would strongly recommend it, regardless of your level of knowledge about broader Israeli history.
Perhaps I should note though that I listened to it on Audible rather than reading it, but it was identical. Also, I think the so-so reviews are unfair to the book--they are either critical of the man, rather than the book about him, or they are critical of the lack of criticism from the author, his loving son. If you're looking for a negative portrayal, there have been some critical books written, but they are not as up to date, as well sourced and as detailed--that makes this book a special treasure. He mentions some mistakes and regrets but it's mostly a factual and intimate portrayal from Ariel Sharon's side. It's as good or better than any other option.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A consummate, deep , passionate portrayal of both the life of the larger than life Ariel Sharon, soldier and statesman , a valiant, courageous, patriotic, dedicated and kind... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Gary Selikow
good book and a gives true stories from IDF history and the life story of a brave Zionist man .Published 16 months ago by Isik
The book, deserves 5 stars because of its historic significance, through research, and revelations about Israeli political leaders. Read morePublished 17 months ago by Bobby
I read this some time ago. It was an informative book about Sharon. I enjoyed it and recommend it.Published 19 months ago by Dr. Jack Kushner
His life coincided with the history of Israel and chronicles the good and bad. His relationships with Ben Gurion, Dayan, Putin, etc are enlightening. Read morePublished 20 months ago by David Kowarski
Sharon life is embedded in the history of Israel.
The story of a nation surrounded with enemies, not treated fairly by the international community, which struggled from... Read more
I liked the book. It was a great story. It was obvious that a son was writing about a father he loved and admired. A good review of Israel's history. The writing was clear. Read morePublished on April 29, 2014 by Donald Vincent