What Peter Allen did do was interview hundreds of the fighters (both Arab and Israeli) of the Yom Kippur War which culminated in this entertaining 1982 book. If you are looking for a book to support academic arguments then this isn't the book for you, Allen didn't use footnotes although he did list a bibliography of selected materials. His interviews also weren't documented as Israeli security doesn't often allow interviewee's give their names and most Arab interviewee's (primarily Egyptians) were also not allowed to give out their names except in a few cases where approved by the Egyptian government. While Syria won't help most researchers of this war (in which Syria was militarily defeated), at the time of publishing, the author initimated he was able to interview some Syrians incognito abroad.
Why buy the book?
The story is told very well and having been a WWII historian before this book, Allen makes a number of interesting comparisons between WWII generals such as Patton and Montgomery and Arab and Israeli generals. He also did some very good research and his telling of the conflict includes the political aspects of the war (What vexed Golda Meir, how Sadat was dealing with the Soviets, etc.), the tactical miltary aspects of the war (how the Israelis continued to practice tactics developed in the 1967 War, how the Egyptians failed to venture out from under their missile shield, etc.), strategic elements (the Israelis always plan to carry war to the enemy's soil, the Arabs plannned very limited victory conditions, etc.), as well as some great individual stories gained from his research and interviews.
The maps included with the book are excellent and much easier to read than those of many other books chronicling the Yom Kippur War. The maps include important ridges and hills that are often left out. The two photographic inserts have some rare photographs such as those of the Israeli Gilowa bridging craft, the Israeli home-made steel roller bridge, and some great pictures of the Arab Egyptian forces. Some of the Egyptian army photos are exclusives that I haven't seen in any other books chronicling the period and I have most books about the Yom Kippur War published between 1973 and 2002. Allen's exclusive Egyptian photos are a result of his friendship with H. el Komayessi, an Egyptian photographer during the war. I will however point out that at least two of the photographs are incorrectly labelled:
1. One photograph is labeled "Egyptain crossing equipment," but actually has a photo of cheering Egyptian soldiers around a Sherman tank with observation equipment and Israeli ID markings.
2. Another photograph is labelled "Wreckage of Israeli Phantom, downed by a missile" but actually is the wreckage of a liason plane.
I'm not sure if the incorrectly-labelled photographs are a result of Peter Allen's or el Komayessi's error.
My favorite part of the book, however, were the many individual vignettes that the author included interspersed throughout the book. The many stories of individual soldiers, journalists, civilians, and observers make the story come alive with a nice human touch. Some of the things that Allan wrote that Sadat said to Kosygin were full of humor (mostly taken from Sadat's memoirs).
This book makes a nice addition to any of Chaim Herzog's or Egyptian general Shazli's accounts of the 1973 Yom Kippur War. However, it is a much more general accounting of the war and is, as previously mentioned, not vigorously documented.