on May 14, 2003
Ariel Sharon is so demonized by so many in the Arab world and Liberal Jews and Israelis that I sought this book to hear his side of his incredible career and life. Having spent most of his life fighting for Israel's survival and combatting terrorism in every war and conflict, he illuminates the problems Israel faces and the nature of its Arab opposition.
Like a true warrior he is a man of peace. Those who have been in the carnage of battle want to avoid it the most, but he has enough insight to understand that compromises and shortcuts to accomodate other's deadlines and agendas only means sending your grandchildren off to war.
His stories of being in the frontline of Israel's historic battles are gripping military history; and his rise from a neophyte poltician to Israel's Prime Minister provides a rich introduction to Israeli politics. His efforts to develop trade and agricultural ties throughout the world is less known than his military and political career, but very important among his contributions.
But most of all I wanted to hear his account of the Lebanese war and specifically the massacres in Sabra and Shatilla. I have always been bewildered at how the murder of Moslems by Christians would lead to the villanization of a Jew. He explained his view how he was sacrificed by the international pressures and Israel's own political parties.
The fact that he was able to rise from this poltical abyss to become prime minister is a remarkable achievement. There is far more depth to this man than his opponents would want us to believe.
This book was an excellent read a must for those trying to understand the complexities of modern Israel, and a fascinating biography of the leading player on the middle eastern stage.
on January 7, 2006
I read this book when it first came out three or four years ago.
It is a terrific read that brings together the history of modern Israel, the various wars starting with the war of independence in 1948 against the Arabs, including Iraq, and later his political career.
The book has a some good photographs and many wonderful war stories. One realizes how close Sharon came to ending his life on the battlefield.
I was struck by four things in the book. The first was Sharon's closeness to the land of Israel. He was born and grew up there, and joined the paratroopers when he was quite young. He was a true blue Israeli through and through. As a soldier he was admired by all including the PM, David Ben Gurion - who acted as defense minister. They had a direct relationship bypassing the generals, to the chagrin of many.
The second was the tragic story of his own life and how one child died of a gun accident, and then how his wife died, essentially leaving him alone in the world. The other was his battle - that he won in a New York court - to clear his name of the deaths in the camps in Lebanon.
Finally, we see a man that love the concept of peace with the Arabs. He was a tough man in many ways, but had realized that as a former soldier he had the credibility to make difficult decisions to force concessions to make a peace.
This is a great biography, and Sharon will be missed. We hold our breath and hope for his recovery.
on July 5, 2002
Is a must for everyone who is interested in the Middle East current crisis.I was really taken by surprise to learn about this man,his sensitivity,his candid comments about his inner feelings. His detailed descriptions about the various battles fought can be at the same time exciting but also to burdensome to my taste. Nevertheless I think its a great book full of discoveries.I loved it
on January 14, 2002
A cunning soldier, a loving father and a controversial politician, these are the words I would decribe this man.
This book is a nice book indeed. It talks about his life in his own words. It talks about his life and Israel's domestic policies (Settlments in the West bank etc,) relation's with the USA and in the Arab World and the wars Israel fought in under Sharon's eyes.
I highly recommand this.
on January 10, 2001
This book tells the story of a true Israeli hero. You will read about his life, his love and his battles...Where would Israel be today without Ariel Sharon...Although out of print, I managed to find a copy and I am happy I did!
on January 1, 2002
Few people are able to strip away the political crust of a situation and see the reality. Fewer still have the charisma, intelligence and devotion to choose to face that reality, rather than ignore it. Ariel's life story is in essence a series of personal insights into Israel's ongoing state of emergency, and his bravery and leadership in the face of foreign and domestic cowardice.
I think, after reading this book, that Israel, and the world, owe this man a very great debt indeed. Post Sept 11, the size of this debt has become more clear. As we applaud President Bush saying that terrorism is evil, we should remember that Sharon has been preaching the same tune for many years, and for many of those years, his was not the obvious position to take, but rather a very unpopular position. In fact, until recently, the idea that terrorism should be stomped out completely was thought to be, by many, fascist in nature.
But the truth is that terrorism is evil. Sharon has done more to uproot terrorism and destroy terrorists than anyone else I am aware of.
Some of the highlights for me were accounts from Sharon about his studying the land where many of his famous battles would be fought, and how his understanding each foot of the relevant terrain often made the difference between victory and defeat. His coexistence and friendships with arabs and other non-jews throughout his life was also very interesting, especially in light of some public opinion about him.
on April 5, 2001
This great soldier/leader outlines his fascinating life and his struggle for all that is good He starts with his childhood on a pioneer Moshav farm and explains how when ever he got tired his father would remind him 'Look how far we've come'and that would encourage him to go on This wisdom has guided him through his life and ensured that he has always triumphed over those mean spirits that have and (continue) to malign him.
In this volume , he deals with his early life and his role in the War of Independence.
He reveals the true context of affairs behind incidents ,which Israel's many enemy propagandists,have used to malign him and Israel.
For example, Israel-hating ideologues like to refer to raid against Arab terrorists in the Arab border village of Kibbiya in 1953.They like to point to unintentional casualties of Arab civillians, as proof of 'Zionist atrocities' but the truth is that raid followed years of bloody attacks into Israel by Palestinian terrorists, a reign of terror against Israel's civillian population, living in border areas. In 1951 , 137 Israelis were murdered by terrorists, almost all civillians, many of them women and children.In 1952, the number rose to 162.1953 was especially terrible. In that year over 3000 incidents took place, almost ten a day. Again there were over 160 deaths. Israel took it's case to the UN, but it was ignored. Eventually it underook action aimed at terror bases. The raid on Kibbiya was mounted in response to a particulalrly horrendous incident in the town of Yehud, in which terrorists, murdered a young mother and her two infants, one and two years old while they were asleep. Police investigations revealed that the raid had been mounted from the Arab border village of Kibbiya, into an area that had been subject to terror attacks almost every day. It Kibbiya, Israeli forces fought a battle against Palestinian terrorists, backed by Jordanian army units. Several Arab civillians died when buildings in the village were destoyed as always happens in war. Israeli forces had actually taken Arab children to safety, but this too has been ignored in leftist and Moslem propaganda accounts.
All Israeli actions have always been in retaliation to Arab terror against Israel's people. Israel has never acted, except in reaction to attacks and ugly threats against her people, a fact anti-Israel hate-mongers have always hidden.
Another incident in which propagandists have played up to demonize Israel through the years has been Sabra and Shatilla. For years PLO terrorists, had inflicted a reign of terror against Lebanon's Christian population, murdering tens of thousands of Christian men, women and children. At Damour in 1976, the Christian village was destoyed on Arafat's orders, and hundreds of Lebanese civillians, mainly women and children were butchered. After the assasination of Christian President Bashir Gemayel, the IDF had allowed Christian Phalangist fighters into the Sabra and Shatilla areas of Beirut, to flush out PLO units controlling the area.Palestinian civillians had died in the fighting, though this was far less than that inflicted in many massacres by the PLO and Syrians of Christian Lebanese dowen the years. For this their were massive protests in Israel, and a massive international media offensive against Israel.
The book also describes the terror by PLO thugs against the Arab civillian population in the disputed territories. One example reffered to is the sickening and systematic campaign of brutal murders, by PLO terrorists, of defenceless Arab prostitutes in Gaza after rumours that several prostitutes had passed information onto the Israeli Defence Forces.
Apart from clarifying various propaganda myths, Sharon talks about his own life, it's trials,tribulations and tragedies, as well as his vision for Israel as a Jewish State, the project of Jews all over the world. Of Israeli identity being at one with Jewish identity, and of the Jews unbroken presence in the Land of Israel, for over three thousand years.
Ultimately a great work in understanding one of the greatest (and most maligned leaders of our time) as well as Israel itself
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on February 17, 2005
This is a fascinating book.
Ariel Sharon, the Prime Minister of Israel, traces his steps from his childhood through the Israeli War of Independence and all of Israel's later wars. Through the development of the country, and all the politics. It's wild.
At the age of 16, Sharon enrolled in a special course to train squad leaders for the Haganah. He did not do very well in it, and became only a "probationary corporal." Still, he did a superb job in the 1948 War of Independence and in 1953, he gained fame as the leader of a commando unit. He explains how he trained the soldiers physically and made them learn the terrain extremely well.
One thing that made a big impression on me was his discussion of a big mistake. In 1973, he was ordered to attack a strong Egyptian position. The order turned out to be an error, based on a misreading of a battle map. But Sharon was not able to get the order rescinded, so he obeyed it. Plenty of people died needlessly as a result. It was a very serious error. As we readers can see, Sharon ought to have asked Moshe Dayan to get the order rescinded, but didn't do that until he was ordered to repeat the attack later.
As Sharon explains, warfare commanders need to be on the battlefield to see what is happening. He saw "a company of tanks disappear in a minute," and "an entire battalion was engulfed and destroyed before they had time to report that they were being hit." I realized upon reading all this how tough it is to keep track of what is happening during a battle.
Of course, there are daring and brilliant actions in the book, not just mistakes, such as the crossing of the Suez Canal in the 1973 war. And it was a brilliant political decision not to allow a multinational force to step between Arafat's thugs and Israeli forces in Lebanon. Such a force would probably have allowed Arafat to stay in Lebanon and use it as a terrorist base. But when Israel turned down this idea, Arafat was forced to leave Lebanon or die. He chose to leave.
There is some discussion of the development of towns in the disputed West Bank. It shows a practical attitude towards them. Still, I couldn't help but notice that allowing both Arabs and Jews to live on this disputed land is highly moral. It is not unusual for the moral choice to be a good tactical and strategic choice as well. A further example is given by Israel's plans to invade Lebanon in the first place. That invasion accomplished plenty, but not nearly as much as it would have had Gemayel not been assassinated. When Israel was contemplating the invasion in response to attacks from there, US Secretary of State sent Prime Minister Begin a letter "urging Israel to exercise 'complete restraint.'" Sharon reports Begin's answer: "Mr. Secretary, the man has not been born who will ever obtain from me consent to let Jews be killed by a bloodthirsty enemy."
There is a discussion of the massacres at Sabra and Shatilla, and the Kahan commission, which found that while Sharon was not complicit, he bore "indirect responsibility" for what had happened. Sharon feels that this ruling was absurd and harmful. I'm not so sure it was absurd (although probably incorrect). But it certainly was harmful. It is proper to hold armies to high standards, but catastrophic to try to go beyond that. Armies that are not allowed to do their job of defending people and property will soon be replaced by military forces that at least try to do that job.
I can see many aspects of the damage. The Israeli army was left without a lesson, having quite properly done its best to stay out of an area just to avoid getting in trouble. Even today, many opponents of human rights point proudly to the Kahan commission to pretend that the Israeli Prime Minister is a war criminal (after all, it did say something about Sharon being responsible)! Time Magazine became emboldened into printing a silly libel about Sharon having planned the slaughter with the Lebanese (Sharon sued Time and won).
When Sharon ran for Prime Minister, I was one of many people who thought he might fare poorly in a primary election. I had a hunch that accusations of war crimes, although bogus and foreign, would be a bad thing to have on one's resume, even if one were a politician. My hunch was wrong, and I now realize that the Israeli electorate showed what it thought of these accusations.
I recommend this captivating book.
on January 16, 2002
Warrior is one of the best biographies I ever read. Often, biographies bore me. Not Warrior. It is an incredible story of most certainly the most experienced terrorist fighter alive.
Sharon had a major role in all of Israel's wars and his insight is fascinating. His attention to detail is eerie, and this attention is what makes the book such a great read. Buy it, read it, and treasure it. I am.
on January 20, 2014
You have already left us but THANK you for this book. God blessed you with devotion, love, courage, HONESTY for your country and we are grateful for ever. A small country fighting terrorism, antisemitism, Arab violence, slander, hate, bias, injustice from everywhere, incessantly...
Your book teaches the TRUTH about Israel, the TRUTH to young Israelis who seem to waver in front of so much hate and antisemitism. May it be a lesson for all future generations and a lesson of pride to be Jewish. AM ISRAEL HAI !