Six Days of War (book review)

A book review from The Movie Snob.

Six Days of War: June 1967 and the Making of the Modern Middle East, by Michael B. Oren (2002).  I bought this tome a while back after reading a favorable review, but it has taken me a long while to tackle it.  Basically, Oren spends about thirty pages setting the stage with a chapter covering the period from creation of modern Israel in 1948 up to 1966.  Then he spends about 140 pages on the crises that led up to the Six Day War, about an equal number of pages on the war itself (June 5-10, 1967), and twenty pages or so on the aftermath.  It is a good book, but it is not light reading; the central part of the book covers events in very thorough detail.  As I understand it, Egypt and Syria more or less goaded each other into preparing, or at least appearing to prepare, for war with Israel.  Egypt deployed a huge proportion of its army into the Sinai Peninsula and blockaded Israel’s access to the Red Sea, and Israel eventually decided it had to attack Egypt first because a successful Egyptian first strike from Sinai could have destroyed the whole country.  The Israelis basically obliterated the Egyptian military, provoking Jordanian and Syrian attacks, and by the end of the sixth day Israel had conquered Sinai, Gaza, the West Bank, Jerusalem, and the Golan Heights.  I found it interesting, although more detailed than a non-specialist like me really needs.  It did make me want to learn more about the 1973 Yom Kippur War, in which I believe the Arabs unsuccessfully tried to turn the tables on the Israelis.  But don’t quote me on that.

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