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The Yom Kippur War: The Epic Encounter That Transformed the Middle East [Paperback]

Abraham Rabinovich
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Oct. 4 2005
In this galvanizing account of the most dramatic of the Arab-Israeli hostilities, Abraham Rabinovich, who reported the conflict for the Jerusalem Post, transports us into the midst of the 1973 Yom Kippur War.

Rabinovich’s masterly narrative begins as Israel convinces itself there will be no war, while Egypt and Syria plot the two-front conflict. Then, on Yom Kippur, Saturday, October 6, 1973, we see Arab armies pouring across the shattered Bar-Lev Line in the Sinai and through the Golan defenses. Even the famed Israeli air force could not stop them. On the Golan alone, Syria sent 1,460 tanks against Israel’s 177, and 115 artillery batteries against Israel’s 11. And for the first time, footsoldiers wielding anti-tank weapons were able to stop tank charges, while surface-to-air missiles protected those troops from air attack

Rabinovich takes us into this inferno and into the inner sanctums of military and political decision making. He allows us to witness the dramatic turnaround that had the Syrians on the run by the following Wednesday and the great counterattack across the Suez Canal that, once begun, took international intervention to halt.

Using extensive interviews with both participants and observers, and with access to recently declassified materials, Rabinovich shows that the drama of the war lay not only in the battles but also in the apocalyptic visions it triggered in Israel, the hopes and fears it inspired in the Arab world, the heated conflicts on both sides about the conduct of the war, and the concurrent American face-off with the Soviets in Washington, D.C., Moscow, and the Mediterranean. A comprehensive account of one of the pivotal conflicts of the twentieth century.

From the Hardcover edition.

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From Publishers Weekly

Rabinovich, a reporter for the Jerusalem Post, has researched thoroughly and written with clarity, balance and compassion for the victims of a war much larger and fiercer than most Western readers have believed. Anwar Sadat emerges as a major player, having reformed the Egyptian Army and evolved a national strategy of limited objectives. The Israelis, Rabinovich argues, then played into Sadat's hands by intelligence failures that delayed their mobilization, gross underestimation of Arab fighting qualities, and not reckoning on new enemy weapons (the SA-6 antiaircraft missile and the Sagger antitank missile) that would make the Israeli Air Force and armor-heavy ground troops vulnerable. The result was a war that began with serious Israeli losses and major Arab advances, in the Sinai and on the Golan Heights, within miles of Israeli civilians. Sheer hard fighting by the Israelis at the front limited the damage, however, and in spite of leadership conflicts and a few outright failures that Rabinovich dramatizes with flair, a viable Israeli strategy supported by improved tactics gradually emerged. The result was a victory for Israel that was actually more devastating than the Six-Day War, with the added effect of leading to a partial peace with Egypt and later Syria and Jordan. Rabinovich may overpraise Henry Kissinger, and he may underplay the Israeli Air Force, but his book covers everything else at a level equally useful to both the newcomer and the experienced student of the subject.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

The thirtieth anniversary of the Yom Kippur War just passed, and this is the second major work to commemorate that conflict. Howard Blum's Eve of Destruction [BKL S 1 03] tended to focus on more sensational aspects, such as Israeli plans for nuclear war, double agents, and suicide pills for leaders. A resident of Jerusalem, Rabinovich is a journalist who covered the war for the Jerusalem Post. His work is more restrained than Blum's and emphasizes the military and political struggles. Yet the story contains inherent drama and tension, and Rabinovich effectively captures both. He uses recently declassified materials and information gleaned from participants to reveal how Israel was caught unprepared but managed to turn the tide with some bold tactical maneuvers. His portraits of familiar figures--Sadat, Meir, Sharon, Kissinger--are revealing and often surprising. His analysis of the long-term effects of the war is likely to stoke controversy in both Israel and the Arab world. Jay Freeman
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great! June 23 2004
By D. Levy
Even if you're not a military history buff, this is a great book. Yes, there is lots of info and detail on the military aspects of the conflict - the great armor battles, the air war, tactics and strategies. But the author also provides alot of background material on the personalities involved - who actually managed the war behind the scenes as well as fought it on the front lines, the strong and weak on both sides, the heroism of the common soldier. I found the information about Henry Kissinger, and his penchant for working around Nixon, to be very interesting.
All in all, a compelling book about a war that continues to shape the Mid-East even today.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Definitive account of the Yom Kippur War April 12 2004
In reading military history, one will often find that all human perspective is drowned in tactics and weapons systems or, conversely, that human elements have distracted the author and overwhelmed the war's place in history. This can be especially true in regard to the wars of Israel because there is such an intense emotion surrounding them. Happily, Abraham Rabinovich has avoided both of these problems with his masterful "The Yom Kippur War". Moreover, he succeeds admirably in placing the war with in the broader context of the region and the times.
What makes "The Yom Kippur War" so successful is that Rabinovich captures and dissects all of the elements necessary to look at the war not just as a series of battles, but as a subject worthy of historical study. These might be described as the prologue, the war itself (battles, casualties, personalities, etc.), battlefield innovation (tactics and weapons), geopolitics and historical perspective. Alone, each area is well researched and written, combined they form one of the most effective and impressive military histories one is likely to encounter.
By defining the Yom Kippur War as a product of numerous clashes dating back to Israel's founding, Rabinovich transcends a simple narrative of events and forces the reader to consider the root causes of the conflict, and how those causes dictated its course. One simple example is how Israel's stunning victory in The Six Day War lead to an institutional arrogance that meant they started the war poorly deployed and with limited ability to improvise in its early days. Moreover, Rabinovich does a nice job of capturing the Arab, and particularly the Egyptian, point of view.
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5.0 out of 5 stars I could not put it down April 5 2004
I've read and watched many books and documentaries on Israel's history and Wars. Abraham Rabinovich has done an amazing job with this book. He examines the war from every angle and his depiction of the battle is so colorful and real that its as though you are right there on the battlefield. I also liked the way Rabinovich explained the psyche of each of the generals, Saddat, Meir, Kissinger, and all the other players in the conflict. The only thing I craved more detail on was the activation of Israel's nuclear arsenal. I have read about this in other texts and some relate this to the possible outcome of the war. Rabinovich doesn't get into this at all. This should be a required reading for every Israeli student and for anyone interested in Middle East history. Great job Mr. Rabinovich!! A+++
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