One Day in September: The Full Story of the 1972 Munich Olympics Massacre and the Israeli Revenge Operation "Wrath of God"

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At 4:30 A.M. on the morning of September 5, 1972, a band of Palestinian terrorists took eleven Israeli athletes and coaches hostage at the Summer Olympics in Munich. More than 900 million viewers followed the chilling, twenty-hour event on television, as German authorities desperately negotiated with the terrorists. Finally, late in the evening, two helicopters bore the terrorists and their surviving hostages to Munich's little-used Furstenfeldbruck airfield, where events went tragically awry. Within minutes all the Israeli athletes, five of the terrorists, and one German policeman were dead. Why did the rescue mission fail so miserably? And why were the reports compiled by the German authorities concealed from the public for more than two decades? Based on years of exhaustive research and the Academy Award -- winning documentary of the same name, One Day in September is the definitive account of one of the most devastating and politically explosive tragedies of the late twentieth century, one that set the tone for nearly thirty years of renewed conflict in the Middle East.
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Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal
Adult/High School-A comprehensive and unsettling account of a horrific occurrence that shocked millions in 1972. The Summer Olympics were held in (West) Germany for the first time since 1936, amid hopes for an open, nonmilitaristic competition. Early on the morning of September 5th, eight mem-bers of a PLO faction called Black Septem-ber snuck into the Olympic Village and stormed the men's residence, seizing 11 Is-raeli athletes and coaches. Two were killed immediately, and the remaining nine (along with five of the terrorists) were slain less than 24 hours later in a badly bungled rescue at-tempt at F rstenfeldbruck airport. Reeve's book originated with research conducted for an Oscar-winning documentary, but the vol-ume goes beyond the film to present many disturbing and previously unknown facts. While the film focuses on the massacre itself, the text covers acts of retaliation and cover-up that continued for years afterward. Indeed, one vital source of information is an investigative report, the existence of which was denied by German officials for 20 years, and came to light only through the persistent ac- tions of family members of the murdered ath- letes. Despite the regrettable omission of an index, Reeve's book is an important one since it deals with many issues-terrorism, anti-Semitism and other forms of racism, and Middle East unrest.-Dori DeSpain, Fairfax County Public Library, VA Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
On September 5, 1972, Palestinian terrorists invaded the Olympic Village in Munich, Germany, and held 11 Israeli athletes and coaches hostage. A failed rescue attempt left 17 people dead. Reeve (a journalist and writer who has written investigative feature articles for publications including and ) recounts one of the most politically explosive events of the 20th century. He draws on interviews and previously unavailable German records. His coverage includes the German government's cover-up of the tragedy, and the Israeli revenge mission. The book is not indexed. Expect the fake-sewn binding to endure only for a few readings. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
Reeve's skillful interweaving of the statements of those directly affected makes for gripping, suspenseful reading: the vivid accounts of Israeli athletes ungarmed by sheer luck, the emotional memories of the relatives of the eleven victims of Palestinian violence and the blatant incompetence, if not gross negligence of the Bavarian police...
Times Literary Supplement
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781559708135
  • Publisher: Arcade Publishing
  • Publication date: 1/4/2006
  • Edition description: Revised Edition
  • Pages: 336
  • Product dimensions: 6.25 (w) x 9.25 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Table of Contents

1 The Takeover 1
2 Black September 20
3 Negotiations 48
4 Operation Sunshine 70
5 The Deception 93
6 Furstenfeldbruck 105
7 Champagne Celebrations 125
8 The Mourning Begins 142
9 Operation Wrath of God 160
10 Operation Spring of Youth 175
11 The Red Prince 196
12 The Cover-up 218
13 The Survivors 239
Notes 255
Acknowledgments 293
Bibliography 297
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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 22, 2006

    Godd Account With Unnecessary Preaching

    Overall the account of the Munich hostage taking, botched rescue attempt and resultant massacre of eleven Israeli civilian athletes in 1972 is a detailed and fairly well-written story, specifically in regard to the hostage crisis and the subsequent 'Wrath Of God' operation. The author tends to get a bit bogged-down in describing the aftermath with a rather tedious account of the campaign mounted by the victims' relatives to acquire the German government's information regarding the events (an aspect of the story that certainly needed to be told but came-off as 'long-winded' and repetitive). What became annoying to me as a reader was the author's 'preachyness' in the final pages, recounting the seemingly age-old 'blue sky' rhetoric about finding better and more long-term ways to combat international terrorism besides targeted assassinations and precision-strikes, of course without providing any details on such solutions. There are several references to the Israeli assassinations of known Black September terrorists and terrorist supporters as 'murder', which I found offensive and biased. The author takes ham-handed and thinly-veiled swipes at the American strike on a car carrying a known Al Qaeda terrorist leader in Yemen by means of a remote-controlled drone, claiming all of the occupants of the car may not have been criminals and one may have been an American (a pacifist argument which triggers no feelings of remorse on this reader's part). This sort of politically-driven commentary detracts from the overall quality of the work in my opinion and left me with a bad impression of the author's motives.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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