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Six Days of War: June 1967 and the Making of the Modern Middle East summary Six Days of War: June 1967 and the Making of the Modern Middle East, series Six Days of War: June 1967 and the Making of the Modern Middle East, book Six Days of War: June 1967 and the Making of the Modern Middle East, pdf Six Days of War: June 1967 and the Making of the Modern Middle East, Six Days of War: June 1967 and the Making of the Modern Middle East a1a6c77d55 Though It Lasted For Only Six Tense Days In June, TheArab Israeli War Never Really Ended Every Crisis That Has Ripped Through This Region In The Ensuing Decades, From The Yom Kippur War OfTo The Ongoing Intifada, Is A Direct Consequence Of Those Six Days Of Fighting Michael B Oren S Magnificent Six Days Of War, An Internationally Acclaimed Bestseller, Is The First Comprehensive Account Of This Epoch Making Event Writing With A Novelist S Command Of Narrative And A Historian S Grasp Of Fact And Motive, Oren Reconstructs Both The Lightning Fast Action On The Battlefields And The Political Shocks That Electrified The World Extraordinary Personalities Moshe Dayan And Gamal Abdul Nasser, Lyndon Johnson And Alexei Kosygin Rose And Toppled From Power As A Result Of This War Borders Were Redrawn Daring Strategies Brilliantly Succeeded Or Disastrously Failed In A Matter Of Hours And The Balance Of Power Changed In The Middle East And In The World A Towering Work Of History And An Enthralling Human Narrative, Six Days Of War Is The Most Important Book On The Middle East Conflict To Appear In A Generation


10 thoughts on “Six Days of War: June 1967 and the Making of the Modern Middle East

  1. says:

    My actual, literal, fake wood and screw bookshelf has two shelves devoted to unread books that I have accumulated, and continue to accumulate at a fantastic pace Thanks a lot, cheap white wine and s one click shopping The downside to my book hoarding is that it is used against me, every time my wife shows up in a new pair of shoes or boots or moccasins Yes, moccasins And whenever we get into an argument, she stands near the shelf with a sheath of matches Cackling So, that might be an exaggeration The upside to having a minor bookstore s worth of never perused material is that I m often prepared when a sudden mood strikes Instead of going to a library or signing into , I can just go to my bookshelf and voila instant gratification.Recently, spurred by current events, I got an itch to learn about Middle Eastern Israeli relations Fortunately for me, and unfortunately for my wife, child, and anyone else who depends on my paycheck, I had several titles on hand, including Martin Gilbert s massive Israel A History Feeling a bit less ambitious, I chose instead Six Days of War by Michael Oren, about the so called Six Day War fought from June 5 to June 10, 1967 After all, the Middle East is a lot of history bloody, tragic, comic tragic to swallow I thought it best to start with only six days.The chronology of the war gives this book its framework Oren starts with a series of contextual chapters one chapter devoted to a sweeping overview of Israel and the Arabs another chapter tightly focused on the catalysts of the war and a third given over to the unfortunate mechanics a delayed telegram, a gambler s gambit, and fear, fear, fear that triggered open conflict These opening chapters, especially the first, were the driest reading for me And also the most confusing I m a bit of a newbie to Middle Eastern history, while Oren writes with an authoritative assurance that his readers have a bit of background knowledge The names, especially, from all sides, were unfamiliar to me, and with the exception of a few men Dayan, Nasser , the personalities never really popped off the page Some of my confusion, of course, comes from the fact that this troubled area of the world is a complicated mess The precipitant of the Six Day War was border incursions along the Syrian Israeli frontier Palestinian guerrillas used Syria as a base of operations Israel accused them of harboring terrorists, etc etc Eventually, based on false reports that Israel was going to attack Syria, Egypt s leader, Gamal Abdel Nasser moved troops into the Sinai and ejected the UN observers stationed there He also closed the Straits of Tiran I could attempt to relate , but maybe it s best if you just re listened to Billy Joel s We Didn t Start the Fire It s all there, or less Importantly, all these regional tensions played out against the backdrop of the Cold War The USSR backed Syria and Egypt, while the US stood behind Israel The little guys did their best to draw in the big guys, while the big guys did their best to rein in the little guys, while still giving them lots of guns to play with Eventually, hemmed in on three sides Syria to the north, Jordan to the west, Egypt to the south , and with no assurance of American help, Israel attacked The first day of war each day gets its own chapter was decisive The Israeli Air Force destroyed the Egyptian Air Force while it was on the ground, while her ground troops routed the Egyptians army under Abdel Amer who lied about his defeat for so long that one has to wonder at his mental stability Meanwhile, King Hussein of Jordan decided to enter the fray on Egypt s behalf Thinking this mostly a bluff, Israel gave him the chance to back off Hussein did not So Israel went on the offensive there as well, bagging Jerusalem in the process Towards the end of the six days, with the west and south secure, Israel captured the Golan Heights defended by Syria for good measure All this information is conveyed in what can only be termed drab, unadorned prose There is precious little consideration given to illuminating characters, and a paucity of vivid, first person accounts The tactical aspects of the war is conveyed academically, as though this were a staff ride rather than a general history Oren makes sure to tell you the movement of each battalion he does not always make sure to explain why that mattered There are maps, to be sure, and detailed maps Unfortunately, each map tries to be everything at once, so there are arrows each a different shade of black or gray covering the page in an attempt to capture every movement during all six days It should probably be noted that Michael Oren is now the Israeli Ambassador to the United States I didn t detect any overt bias, other than the bias of fact that Israel won, the Arabs lost I m sure that won t matter to people with strong opinions Those with a pro Palestinian bent will find this volume a Zionist screed those who are pro Israeli hawks will undoubtedly conclude that Oren did not go far enough in lauding the IDF The average reader, like me, will probably find very little in this understated and un inflammatory work to get passionate about at all.The subtitle to Oren s work is June 1967 and the Making of the Modern Middle East That second part, the whole making of the Middle East, is mostly implied Oren goes only cursorily into the nuts and bolts of the postwar echoes new territorial boundaries land for peace settlements Arab embarrassment Israeli hubris and the seeds of the Yom Kippur War As an avowed history nut, there is a very real reason I mostly avoid reading about certain topics, such as Vietnam and the Middle East The reason is this history is a hobby If I want to be stressed out and anxious well, I already am History, then, is my escape It s soothing to slip into the a distant time period, such as the American Civil War The stakes were just as high The death just as real The same passions that grip us now gripped us then But every person there is a ghost The Middle East is still an evolving, bloody, perhaps intractable mess It practically begs the removed observer to simply look away With that said, the faults in Oren s book may well be my own bias against the subject.


  2. says:

    New review Aug 09Since I have been spending the last year reading about Israel and Palestine, I may now class this book as shameless and apologetic when it comes to Israeli militarism My review below is shameless in many ways and I m a bit embarrased about it Oren says he is givng everyone equal treatment, but how can you be Israeli embassador to the US and not be biased This book supports Israel myths about itself and its military might and does little to acknowledge that the 1967 war was part of a catalyst of pain and suffering of the Palestinian people With the Israeli silence surrounding criticism of their own history, you wonder what this comprehensive book left out and for what purpose Old review Though the author says that he sets out to provide an objective history of the Six Day War, there are two glowing descretions He s Jewish and Israeli And though, again, objectivity was the goal, why did I find myself, someone unsure of how he falls on the Jews for Israel scale, thinkng, Woo Way to go Israel in response to the military narrative Yes, it is a good book, and it is probably as objective as possible, eliciting some sympathy for King Hussein and Nasser, while loathing loving Moshe Dayan that is, you get to see how it ran from the inside You get to see read about the involvement of the USSR and USA especially ambivalent and Israel s plans for the Palestinians as it became apparent that they would end up with the West Bank and Gaza Spoiler Alert The Israelis were wary of harming mosques on the way into East Jerusalem, handed the Dome of the Rock over to Muslim authorities ASAP, and wanted to make a federated Palestinian state autonomous to Israel Of course, still not something that Yasser Arafat would accept just not impossible enough And there are always your people who think that the West Bank should be annexed and the Palestinians ousted, but thank goodness these people were on the Israeli margins in 1967 Israel is seen best as a thriving democracy, shown through its fractious cabinet, its loathing of the prime minister, and its fear of international sanction, while the fatal error of the Arab countries was their inability to estimate Israel as such After the Egyptians lost their air force in the first few hours, it was reported on Cairo radio that the army was penetrating Israel and laying seige to Tel Aviv Even Nasser was a victim of his own system no one told him the truth until it was much too late A fast read Finished in less than a week.


  3. says:

    I found this book about the Six Days of War by Michael B Oren most interesting At the time I remember following the news about the war on T V I have read biographies of many of the key people in this book so I am very familiar with the events It was great to have all the information in one place in chronological order It helped me to understand the events better as well as what is going on today in Israel The book is well written and meticulously researched The author covered in detail all the events leading to the war as well as the war itself I noted the author was born and educated in the United States but moved to Israel in 1973 Oren became Israel s Ambassador to the United States He writes with the understanding of the workings of the Israeli government Oren did not present an unbiased review of the events If you are interested in the history of Israel or the Middle East this book will provide information about an important event.I read this as an audiobook downloaded from Audible The book is almost eighteen hours Robert Whitfield does an excellent job narrating the book.


  4. says:

    Egyptian and Syrian military incompetence and the sense that Israel s back was against the wall these were my impressions of the war as it was acted out Ambassador Oren s narrative confirms those vague impressions, but he also provides the detail to flesh out the story Nervous breakdown, fog of war, big power politics and numerous other features are added to provide a clear picture of this uniquely short war that is still going on With maps handy I used MapQuest s terrain and satellite maps it is an easy read that provides a full background, gives just enough operational detail and connects the events of June,1967 to the ongoing Arab Israeli contest I recommend it.


  5. says:

    Michael B Oren s Six Days of War is probably the most comprehensive book published on Israel s 1967 conflict with the Arab world to date Painstakingly researched and scrupulously fair, Oren s strength is dealing with the causes and effects of the war He discusses every diplomatic move and counter move that the belligerent countries and their superpower allies the U.S and U S S R made, and how those decisions impact Middle East policy to this day Oren is noticeably weaker when discussing the actual tactics of the war, choosing to view the military units as pieces in a diplomatic chess game rather than giving the reader a sense of what the soldier on the ground was feeling, although he does do a fantastic job in describing the climactic battle for Jerusalem.Six Days is absolutely essential reading for anyone who wants to understand the politics of the region.


  6. says:

    This is a wonderfully concise, well written history of the war between Israel and Egypt, Syria, and Jordan that lasted only six days in June 1967 The Arabs got pounded, and Israel seized the West Bank, Gaza, the Golan Heights, and the Sinai Peninsula The war, though won by Israel, also brought that country decades of additional strife that continues to this day It also made the Arab nations determined to wipe out the Jewish state.Oren has written a fair history, with all sides presented with no apparent bias or judgment He gained access to previously undisclosed material, so he has records of internal meetings with all the political parties involved And there are lots of them The Middle East doesn t exist in a vacuum Other nations have stuck their noses into the region In this case, the Soviet Union sided with Egypt and Syria, but only to an extent, never daring to get involved in the actual fighting The U.S played a similar role with Israel, pledging undying support but no military involvement So while outside actors did their best to shape events, the real fighting and dying were done by Israelis, Egyptians, Syrians, and Jordanians.It s true the Arab armies were routed, but they did fight hard, especially Jordan s troops in the West Bank and Syrian soldiers on the Golan The Israelis could have easily conquered Cairo, Damascus, and Amman, but such actions would have had brought the Jewish state solid international condemnation, including from the United States It must be very frustrating for Israel its enemies fight for its destruction, and it cannot retaliate in kind And somehow, the Israelis are considered the bad guys by many people.If you wish to gain a greater understanding of the Middle East, and find out why they still fight over there, reading this book would be a great start.


  7. says:

    Ignorance Can be the greatest ally or the greatest enemy of an army at war In the book Six Days of War, Michael B Oren explains in considerable detail how Arab ignorance and mistrust was the real key to the vastly outnumbered Israelis defeating three Arab armies in just six days Oren shows how the Israelis called up all of their reserves and prepared for weeks to attack Egypt before Egypt attacked them, or to defend if Egypt attacked first And yet the Israeli attack on June 5, 1967, came as a complete surprise to the commander of the Egyptian Army.The reasons are complicated, but Oren makes a strong case that Field Marshall Abdel Hakim Amer, supreme commander of Egyptian forces, filled the upper ranks of the Egyptian military with cronies, shoving aside talented leaders preparing for a coup against his childhood friend President Gamel Abdel Nasser.The Israelis put Moshe Dayan in charge of the military just months before the war, another signal to anyone paying attention that the war plans were for an attack Also, just months before the war, the Egyptians blockaded the Israeli port in Elat and all shipping Time pressure pushed the Israelis to act, and yet, the Egyptians blustered and waited and did not prepare for an attack, let alone prepare for their own On June 5, nearly the entire Israeli Air Force attacked air bases all across Egypt By the afternoon, than 80% of the Egyptian Air Force was burning wreckage, most of it on the ground Cratering charges made the airfields useless At the same time, the Israeli Defense Forces IDF rolled into Sinai in a multi pronged attack that succeeded so fast and so well that the most optimistic Israeli leaders could not believe it With so much of the IDF fighting on the ground and in the air in Sinai driving toward Egypt, if the Jordanian and Syrian armies had attacked, Israel would have to stop the attack and defend itself, at minimum pulling all air support away from Egypt Both the Syrians and the Jordanians had sworn mutual aid in case of attack But nothing happened Iraq also was to attack in support of Egypt It s forces sat in Jordan and Syria On June 7, fighting started near Jerusalem The Israelis had no plans to recapture Jerusalem, but the Jordanians fired on the IDF from the Mount Scopus and other heights in Jerusalem the IDF attacked to take out the guns and by the night of June 9 10, retook Jerusalem and had the Jordanian army, including the vaunted Arab Legion in full retrat all across the West Bank of the Jordan River.During this period, the Syrians shelled Israeli settlements The settlers on the frontier howled for help On June 10, the IDF attacked in the North toward Syria If the Syrians had attacked, the Israelis would have been obliged to stop their offensives in Jordan and Egypt But the Syrians shelled civilians and stayed still Their army, like the other two Arab armies was in headlong retreat on June 11 In war, the mistakes of the enemy are often as important as the plans of the winners In this case, arrogance and mistrust among the Egyptian leaders was followed by a betrayal by their allies The end was Israel than doubling in territory and smashing three Arab armies Oren explains battles in great detail, especially retaking Jerusalem and the air attack that won the war on the first day He also gives the reader a lot of detail about propaganda Egypt used its media to deny their losses and tell the world they were winning the war Part of the hesitation of the Jordanians and Syrians to come to the aid of Egypt was the glowing reports Egypt was sending of their great victories The other overwhelming impression the book gave me is of how ignorant the Egyptians were of what the Israelis were doing despite the evidence in front of them The rest of the world was also largely ignorant of how bad the situation was on the ground and how fast everything changed It reminded me of how the world blundered into war in 1914 This book tells a complicated story very well.


  8. says:

    I had somewhat of a sketchy rememberance of the 6 Day War from 1967, but digging into the details was rather eye opening I d never heard of a professional army so completely breaking and running in the face of enemy Politically appointed officers is always a red flag for combat forces, and stories are plentiful of the incompetence of political officers in the field, but in the example of the Egyptian Army, the senior officers broke and ran away immediatelyand the rest of the army simply followed Appalling This was a very well researched and well written book.


  9. says:

    I read this in a flash a few years ago It isn t a social history nor is it investigative It yields a basis for an ideology I accept that I just read this review


  10. says:

    My review published in the San Francisco Chronicle in 2002 A necessary light Six Days goes far to help sort out Mideast conflict s tangled webReviewed by Steve KettmannSunday, July 28, 2002Six Days of War June 1967 and the Making of the Modern Middle East By Michael B Oren OXFORD 446 PAGES 30 It s a natural impulse to seek distance when confronted with a seemingly hopeless spiral of violence That s what President Bush tried to do with Middle East diplomacy early in his administration So much can go wrong So little can go right Why take chances That s also true, morally and intellectually, for many other Americans, whose capacity for imaginative empathy has long since been eroded by the parade of horrors flashing on their television screens from Israel and the West Bank Details are so hard to follow Haunting images almost rule out comprehension But a little context can go a long way in offering some insight especially for a general reader There s much of that to be had in Six Days of War, Israeli scholar Michael Oren s workmanlike, richly detailed study of the 1967 war that established Israel s reputation as a formidable military power The book offers some much needed relief from fatalism If anything emerges with any clarity in reconsidering the details of what Israelis call The Six Day War and Arabs try not to call anything at all, it s the minute distance that can separate one course of events from another Chance and the vicissitudes of human nature both played major roles in the stunning drama that unfolded in June 1967 Israel attacked Egypt with devastating success, eventually occupying all of Sinai, and humiliated both Jordan and Syria, moving into Gaza, the West Bank and the Golan Heights Capriciousness characterized the process leading to the outbreak of the war, Oren writes The last minute cancellation of Operation Dawn Egypt s one chance to do to Israel what Israel would soon do to Egypt that is attack first poignantly illustrated the process randomness Yet even that chaos had its context Only within the unique milieu of the Arab Israeli conflict could elements as diverse as Syrian radicalism and Israeli politicking, inter Arab rivalry and America s preoccupation with Vietnam, Soviet fears and Egyptian aspirations, combine in a chain reaction culminating in war Oren, a military historian who earned his doctorate at Princeton, does better with straight narrative than with summing up what it all means His analysis can have a tossed salad feel to it But here the point is clear enough, and it s important for anyone trying to come to terms with recent Middle East history Looking back, it s easy to conjure an air of inevitability what happened had to have happened But that s often an illusion June 1967 did not have to transpire the way it did and neither did July 2000 That was when Bill Clinton did his best to push Ehud Barak and Yasser Arafat together at Camp David Just how narrowly the effort failed may never be known, but the bracing insider account Oren offers here of 1967 vividly demonstrates how real events on the ground are often only poorly understood, either by contemporary observers, or by history The human details are what linger longest Oren dug into a variety of source material a long bibliography lists books in English, French, Spanish, Hebrew, Arabic and Russian and found many tasty tidbits Describing the buildup of tensions that preceded the war, and the at times bizarre events, he tells of the Egyptian press going big with a story about an Arab Legion defector named Capt Rashid al Hamarsha, who allegedly confessed to masterminding subversion in Syria Jordan dismissed al Hamarsha as a Zionist spy, in liaison with an Israeli belly dancer named Aurora Galili or Furora Jelli, and then produced its own deserter, he writes The hapless U.N leader U Thant, quick to withdraw his forces and create the conditions for war, puts off an emergency visit to Cairo for three critical days until his horoscope said it was propitious for him to travel Egypt s Gamal Abdul Nasser, the charismatic enigma at the center of the drama, greets Jordan s King Hussein for a key private meeting, and then summons Ahmad al Shuqayri, the first PLO chairman, who was wearing a rumpled Mao style uniform and looking disoriented Nasser informs Shuqayri that he s to leave for Jordan immediately with Hussein Then he turned to Hussein If he gives you any trouble, throw him into one of your towers and rid me of him Later, after days of ludicrous Egyptian lies over the airwaves about Israeli forces being routed, its army slips into full, ignominious retreat in shocking, every man for himself fashion Maj Gen Uthman Nassar, for example, commander of the 3rd Infantry Division, told his officers that he had an urgent meeting in headquarters, packed up, and left, Oren tells us He was later seen frequenting cafes in Cairo Soviet Ambassador Sergei Chuvakhin privately informs Abba Eban that his government has decided to sever relations with Israel, then, to the foreign minister s astonishment, the Soviet ambassador burst into tears Oren accomplishes much, much here than bringing alive his important tale with the kind of texture so essential to avoid falling into a gray recitation of troop strengths, battle readiness or political backdrops But as in War and Peace, the dynamics of battle stand up on the page much readily when the reader s capacity for surprise or wonder, or outrage has been coaxed into high alert Most of all, by painting his portrait with such care and thoroughness, Oren reminds us of a basic fact The question when it comes to Israel Arab dynamics does not always have to be about being biased against one or the other, but rather about seeing how both sides have suffered and sacrificed, and both urgently deserve something other than endless iterations of warfare and conflict Steve Kettmann has written for the New Republic, the New York Times and Salon.com.


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