- Hardcover: 304 pages
- Publisher: St. Martin's Press (January 31, 2017)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 125008833X
- ISBN-13: 978-1250088338
- Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1 x 8.6 inches
- Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 98 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #181,313 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Weapon Wizards: How Israel Became a High-Tech Military Superpower
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"Riveting." ―The National Interest
"From missile defence systems to drones, Israel is a world leader in the lucrative field of military technology. So much so that it is changing the face of warfare in the Middle East and around the globe, say Yaakov Katz and Amir Bohbot in their highly informative book." ―Sheldon Kirshner, The Times of Israel
"Many of the weapons that make precise combat possible have their origins in Israel. The Weapon Wizards recounts how and why the small state has developed such advanced weaponry." ―The New Atlantis
"[Katz and Bohbot] ask how such a small country has managed to be at the forefront of advanced weapons development, having made significant contributions to drones, satellites, missle-defense systems, cyber warfare and more." ―Survival
"Fascinating." ―The Israel Journal of Foreign Affairs
"Fascinating...[Katz and Bohbot] present an intriguing and engrossing account of Israel's defense capabilities development." ―The American Thinker
"The challenges of defending the Jewish state get very real in the pages of The Weapon Wizards... the story of its weapons development and deployment is especially fascinating and highly consequential." ―The Jewish Journal
"Israel has succeeded in myriad areas where entire continents have failed. How they have done that is something that can partially be duplicated. And it’s something that every responsible politician concerned about job growth, and every CEO concerned about leadership and teambuilding should attempt to learn from. A stimulating read, The Weapon Wizards should be on the required reading list of every executive, politician and business manager." ―Ben Rothke, The Times of Israel
"The authors have skillfully conveyed a key component of the dynamic innovation culture that has made the Jewish state one of the most important entrepreneurial and technology-driven economies in the world." ―The Wall Street Journal
"A lively account of Israel's evolving military prowess...if The Weapon Wizards were a novel, it would be one written by Horatio Alger; if it were a biblical allegory, it would be the story of David and Goliath." ―The New York Times Book Review
"Military reporters and defense analysts Yaakov Katz and Amir Bohbot chronicle how Israel became one of the world’s top six arms exporters...tells the story of how an ancient and stateless people returned to their homeland after 2,000 years and, against all odds, not only survived, but prospered." ―ReformJudaism.org
"Excellent...the authors tell engaging stories about weapons and ingenuity." ―St. Lewis Jewish Light
"An enlightening look into one of the less-familiar corners of the modern military world." ―Kirkus Reviews
"Katz and Bohbot have succeeded in presenting a picture of the way in which the particular culture of Israel has produced, and continues to produce responses to security problems and challenges of a uniquely innovative, creative and (generally) effective form." ―Rubin Center
"A fascinating and ultimately exhilarating celebration of Israeli innovation, creativity, smarts and chutzpah in defending herself." ―Elder of Ziyon
“These fascinating stories explain how Israel became a key source of brilliant military innovation for the entire world. From developing drones out of toy airplanes to cyber warfare against Iran, The Weapons Wizards tells Israel’s amazing tale.” ―Elliott Abrams, Senior Fellow for Middle Eastern Studies, Council on Foreign Relations
"The Weapon Wizards is a fascinating analytical history of a remarkable series of creative disruptions in weapons and strategy by Israeli military and technical organizations-sometimes by wonderfully stubborn individuals (e.g. Abe Karem) father of the Predator, standing alone against the crowd. Katz and Bohhot chronicle superbly how nations can survive and win: follow Gideon and nurture the troublemakers." ―R. James Woolsey, Director of the Central Intelligence Agency between 1993-1995
"Israel would not exist today if it's technology were not a few steps ahead of the other side. This is the untold story of how Israel has solved technological challenges that seemed flat out impossible―like shooting down short range missiles. Yaakov Katz and Amir Bohbot tell this story with the authority and flair that only great journalists with deep experience in the field can bring. These challenges continue, and could not be more relevant not just for Israel, but for countries around the world." ―Saul Singer, co-author Start-Up Nation
"The survival of Israel is not conventional. Having no natural resources, Israel became a champion of technology in agriculture and security. It started by using its human wealth and has remained a start-up nation. The Weapon Wizards shows that the merit of the human is the richest resource of our future; builders, fighters and pioneers can enrich a land more than the land enriched them." ―Shimon Peres, Israel's president (2007-2014) and prime minister (1984-1986 and 1995-1996)
"The Weapon Wizards is an essential read for anyone trying to understand Israel and its military. Katz and Bohbot, two of the country's leading defense reporters, tell this fascinating tale how Israel became a military superpower amid endless conflict and against all odds." ―Lt.-Gen. (res.) Shaul Mofaz, Israel's former defense minister (2002-2006) and IDF chief of general staff (1998-2002)
About the Author
Yaakov Katz is Editor-in-Chief of The Jerusalem Post. He is a faculty member and lecturer at Harvard University’s Extension School where he teaches an advanced course in journalism. He previously served for close to a decade as the paper's military reporter and defense analyst and is the co-author of the books: The Weapon Wizards: How Israel Became a High-Tech Military Superpower and Israel vs. Iran: The Shadow War. In 2012-2013, Katz was one of 12 international fellows to spend a year at the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard University. Originally from Chicago, Katz also has a law degree from Bar Ilan University. He lives in Jerusalem with his wife and four children.
Amir Bohbot is the military editor and senior defense analyst for Walla, Israel’s leading news website. Amir previously covered military affairs for Maariv, one of Israel’s high-circulation daily newspapers, where he worked for 12 years. Bohbot is a popular lecturer on security and defense issues in Israel and is often interviewed by local radio and TV news stations. Bohbot has a Master's Degree in Political Science from Ben-Gurion University and is currently pursuing a doctorate in Intelligence Studies at Bar Ilan University. He lives in Lehavim with his wife and their three children.
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I have to be honest and say that this book is not well written-- the chronology is disjointed and the index is scant.
The books is interesting in some of the historical references but light on some details. Written by reporters in a reporting style.
The photos were of poor quality.
So, what's this book about? It purports to offer insights into why (and how) a small nation - one generally thought to lack sufficient infrastructure and other requisite resources - could produce a range of military products considered first-rank. Unfortunately, "Wizards" is simultaneously superficial and anecdotal. It's sometimes poorly edited ("UC Santa Clara" for "UC Santa Cruz", at least two repetitions of Danny Gold's twin doctorate accomplishments and once even and "Rubin" for "Rabin") and too often larded with unnecessary superlatives. It reads like a PR release or a travel agency blurb. In fact, it has the intellectual sophistication, style and grace of an early "Tom Swift" sci-fi adventure story.
More detail on specific weapons systems and their genesis can easily be resourced on Wikipedia, along with a comprehensive inventory of indigenous military products. Many featured historic figures and their involvement in the genesis of various weapons projects are already very well known (e.g., Shimon Peres and his role in the Dimona reactor/nuclear weapons project). What little historical context given by the authors is a device used simply as a platform for introducing new weapons systems.
Overall, the book reads like a propaganda screed (compare for instance the absurdly over-simplified section on the Six Day War to Guy Laron's book on the same topic for the other extreme). Credit though is due the authors for their emphasis on the flexibility of the Israeli Defense Forces and its well-deserved accolades for a non-hierarchical, adaptive and "disruptive culture", one that devolves responsibility to lower ranks, cultivates innovation and highlights individual initiative, intelligence and accomplishment. This approach is one the Wehrmacht used to great effect during WW-II. The saving grace of this breezy overview is its readability: it can easily be digested in the time span of a short afternoon.
Of course, none of these observations belittle the accomplishments (intellectual and industrial) of the Israeli weapons industry: those are self-evident. Taken in the aggregate though, "Weapons Wizards" is little more than an infomercial, one that adds essentially nothing novel to an otherwise interesting and important topic.