Customer Reviews for

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

Average Rating 4.5
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  • Posted May 23, 2011

    An excellent work of military and political history.

    This is a masterwork of the 1973 Yom Kippur War. Rabinovich provides a very detailed, thoroughly researched narrative account of the battles, weaving back and forth between the Sinai and the Golan Heights. Rabinovich pulls no punches in criticizing the leadership of Israel for their failures: failure to do anything when presented with actionable intelligence; failure to construct a coherent strategy for the war; and mostly, failure to take the Egyptian and Syrian armies seriously. Rabinovich repeatedly points out the hubris of the Israeli political and military leadership.

    Sandwiched around the narrative military history are detailed political analyses of the events and motivations leading up to the war, in particular Sadat's limited goals to use military action to restore Egyptian confidence, to bring Egypt to the bargaining table as an equal, and to use the Sinai as a lever in negotiations. After the war, we are provided a thorough look at the realpolitik of Henry Kissinger and how the US took advantage of this conflict to displace the USSR as Egypt's primary client and to restore stability to the Middle East.

    It's true that most of this book is written from the Israeli perspective. I don't know that this reveals a bias on Rabinovich's part; if anything Rabinovich is more critical of the Israelis; his harshest criticism of the Syrians, for example, concerns the quality of their tank gunnery. Rabinovich goes out of his way to give acknowledgement to, if not praise for, innovative Egyptian anti-tank tactics involving SAGGER anti-tank missiles.

    If anything, I suspect that the primary focus on Israeli narratives is based more on access and sources than on any sort of deliberately limiting perspective.

    Highly recommended.

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  • Posted November 21, 2009

    The Yom Kippur War

    This is an excellent history of the Yom Kippur War, which is extremely readable and accurate. It is also fair and balanced, giving viewpoints from the Egyptian, Palestinian, Syrian sides, as well as insight into the Israeli military. This is not an uncritical, pro-Israel book, and it gives a devastating view of how arrogance and denial in Israeli leadership lead to many unnecessary deaths, by not believing the Arab world would attack. Although you know the outcome, this book becomes a "page turner" by giving accounts of the average soldier on the front lines. This is an excellent book, with relevance for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict today.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 13, 2007

    some errors and omissions

    This is an interesting and informative work but far from ideal. Basically it was written from an Israeli perspective, and bias shows at times. Rabinovich's figures on air combat losses are at odds with what I've read elsewhere. And while his work is pretty inclusive, it seems he glossed over a few embarrassing events see the just published Egypt at War 1973.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 29, 2005

    Grant, Patton and Churchill would have enjoyed it.

    The book was comprehensive and masterfully written. I have read hundreds of war books and most limit themselves to one or two dimensions such as the interplay between generals, the politics, the human suffering on the field of battle, possible tactics, comparisons of weapons¿¿¿but rarely all in one book. This one covered a wide range. My compliments to Mr.Rabinovich. (Yes, I agree with my fellow reviewer, maps in all such books could be better. I suggest using an atlas or indulging in buying a local map.)

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 5, 2004

    Excellent book on Arab-Israeli war

    This was a wonderful book. The author does an excellent job portraying the heroism of the Israeli soldier.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 1, 2004

    Exellent book ,very dramatic.

    Very good book,have detailed accounts of all main battles,point of view of both sides, the book give very grafic view of soldiers in field,field commanders and show the moods of general staffs and goverment making desissions,also tuches the relations beetwin the personalities that take part in the unfolding drama.For some one why is very familiar with the subject i have had a lot of fun reading that book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 2, 2004

    Almost 5 stars

    Despite my knowing the outcome, the author presented an engrossing and compelling account of the war. I would have liked to have read about PM Meier's contemplation of the use of nuclear weapons, which was not addressed at all. As a Middle East specialist, it would have been preferable for the author to have used the proper transliterations of both Hebrew and Arabic names. The narrative would also have been easier to follow had he included detailed pullout maps with annotated troop dispositions. Overall, however, it was an excellent account.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 17, 2004

    One of the Best on the subject

    This by far is one of the finest works of its kind. Well written with a depth of knowledge that could only come from someone who cares about the individual who faces the hell of war. The political and individual struggles on the battlefield are the best I have read.

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    Posted February 15, 2012

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    Posted March 1, 2009

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    Posted September 7, 2009

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    Posted November 15, 2012

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