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The Lion's Gate: On the Front Lines of the Six Day War

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Overview


The bestselling author of Gates of Fire and Killing Rommel delivers his first work of military nonfiction?an epic narrative of the Six Day War.

June 5, 1967. The fearsome, Soviet-equipped Egyptian Army and its 1000 tanks are massed on Israel?s southern border. Meanwhile, the Syrian Army is shelling the much smaller nation from the north. And to the east, Jordan and Iraq are moving brigades and fighter squadrons into position to attack. Egypt?s President Nasser has declared that...

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The Lion's Gate: On the Front Lines of the Six Day War

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Overview


The bestselling author of Gates of Fire and Killing Rommel delivers his first work of military nonfiction—an epic narrative of the Six Day War.

June 5, 1967. The fearsome, Soviet-equipped Egyptian Army and its 1000 tanks are massed on Israel’s southern border. Meanwhile, the Syrian Army is shelling the much smaller nation from the north. And to the east, Jordan and Iraq are moving brigades and fighter squadrons into position to attack. Egypt’s President Nasser has declared that the Arab world’s goal is no less than “the destruction of Israel.”

June 10, 1967. The combined Arab armies are in ruins, their air forces totally destroyed. Israel’s citizen-soldiers have seized the Gaza Strip and the entire Sinai Peninsula from Egypt, the Golan Heights from Syria, East Jerusalem and the West Bank from Jordan. The land under Israeli control has tripled. The charismatic, eye-patch wearing Defense Minister Moshe Dayan has barreled through the Lion’s Gate in the Old City of Jerusalem, meeting up with a gang of paratroopers who have already raised the blue and white flag that frames the Star of David.

How on earth did this happen?

Only Steven Pressfield could get the real story from the fighter jocks in the air, the tank commanders through the sand, and the infantrymen on the ground. Through more than 300 hours of interviews conducted in Israel, he has written a gripping chronicle of the six days that changed the Middle East forever. He also captures the universal experience of individual soldiers compelled to stare down mortal fear and move headlong into a firestorm.

The Lion’s Gate blends the immediacy of Mark Bowden’s Black Hawk Down, the esprit de corps of Stephen Ambrose’s Band of Brothers, and the soul of James Bradley’s Flags of Our Fathers. It will join the indispensable canon of military nonfiction.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
05/19/2014
The 1967 Six Day War radically changed the balance of power between Israel and its neighbors, and, according to Moshe Dayan, inaugurated the image of the warrior Jew. Excerpting from 63 hours of interviews with Israeli soldiers, Pressfield (The War of Art) provides an up-close-and-personal, if one-sided, view of the war. The soldiers' and flyers' accounts are particularly notable on Operation Moked—through which Israeli pilots effectively won the war in its first hour by destroying the Egyptian Air Force—and on the battle for the Jerusalem's Old City. For Israelis, the moment when Israeli paratroopers stood at the Western Wall constituted an emotional high point, even a kind of moment of redemption; one soldier, referring to his ancestors who had been killed in the Holocaust, told Pressfield, "if they could know, somehow, even for one second, that I, their grandson, would be standing here... they would suffer death a thousand times and count it as nothing." Pressfield too often sketches scenes without following through with necessary details, and the book could have benefitted from more maps, but it is a colorful and informative view of the war that made contemporary Israel. Photos and maps (May)
Library Journal
06/01/2014
On June 5, 1967, Israel launched an attack against Egyptian forces that had been amassing at the border, and six days later Israel had defeated the armies of Egypt, Syria, and Jordan and gained control of the Gaza Strip, West Bank, the Sinai peninsula, and Golan Heights. Pressfield (The War of Art) here attempts a "hybrid history" of the Six Day War by conducting scores of interviews with members of the Israel Defense Forces who participated in the conflict. The book is not a battle-by-battle account but rather a compilation of stories, some of them inconsistent, of the soldiers' experiences. Pressfield, who is not a historian, admits to "taking liberties," including adding material from previously published works to the interviews and documenting a conversation with a man who has been dead for more than 30 years, using the subject's memoir as well as Pressfield's "speculation." No context for the accounts is provided so readers without knowledge of the war may have difficulty understanding the discussions. Furthermore, rather than providing a new perspective on events, as many oral histories do, the text reads like a celebration of the Six-Day War. VERDICT While the individual stories included here can be compelling, the book leaves too many questions about its methodology unanswered and should be approached with caution.—Jason Martin, Stetson Univ. Lib., DeLand, FL
Kirkus Reviews
2014-03-12
A "hybrid history" of the Six Day War made up of oral histories by numerous participants and stitched-together bits of biography from Israeli military leader Moshe Dayan (1915-1981). Drawing on "techniques from a number of disciplines—from journalism and academic history, from conventional nonfiction and narrative nonfiction, and from New Journalism," novelist Pressfield (The Profession, 2011, etc.) nimbly pulls together these accounts, starting with the waiting period in late May 1967 when the reserves were called up, leaving entire Israeli villages emptied of life. Other citizens were glued to their radios, alarmed by Cairo's propaganda radio, the "Voice of Thunder." The Israelis had been preparing for another war since the Sinai campaign of 1956, engineered brilliantly by then–army chief of staff Dayan, after which the international community compelled Israel to relinquish the peninsula to United Nations peacekeepers; and before that, when Jordan's army had taken Jerusalem's old city during the War of Independence of 1948. These are important events in the memories of the Israelis, who were nervous about President Nasser's pan-Arabism, ties with the Soviet Union, and most important, the buildup of combat aircraft and closing of the Straits of Tiran. The voices that narrate events throughout these fraught few days include two brothers and highly decorated soldiers, "Cheetah" and Nechemiah Cohen, involved on the front line from the first day; Yael Dayan, Moshe's daughter, who was posted with Gen. Ariel Sharon's headquarters at the Egyptian border; numerous pilots who destroyed Arab airfields on that key first day of Operation Moked ("focus"); infantry soldiers who moved into the Sinai; and Dayan himself, appointed minister of defense at the eleventh hour to mastermind the take-back of Jerusalem with his commandment to "be strong." Stirring voices from a nation determined to be reckoned with.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781595230911
  • Publisher: Sentinel HC
  • Publication date: 5/6/2014
  • Pages: 448
  • Sales rank: 36,273
  • Product dimensions: 9.46 (w) x 8.78 (h) x 1.42 (d)

Meet the Author


STEVEN PRESSFIELD is the author of twelve previous books, including the bestselling novels Gates of Fire and The Legend of Bagger Vance, and a cult classic on creativity, The War of Art. He lives in Los Angeles.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 6 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 6 Customer Reviews
  • Posted June 29, 2014

    I did not know a lot about this war or Israel's struggle since

    I did not know a lot about this war or Israel's struggle since WWII. I enjoyed this book greatly. If you don't read a lot of history, this is not too detailed for you.
    It flows well and provides a very good account of this event

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 20, 2014

    excellent portrayal

    An excellent book, there are some parts that are fictional, but the author makes note of these (I think it's the Minister of Defense - who is lo longer living). This is an excellent book from the Israeli side of a very difficult situation. It covers people from multiple service branches and ranks. It's a very interesting read.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 21, 2014

    Israeli first-hand accounts of fighting during the Six Day War g

    Israeli first-hand accounts of fighting during the Six Day War give special insight into the 1967 reality that an Israeli lose meant extinction for that nation.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted July 18, 2014

    Inspirational

    This is not the typical "We won, you lost," account of a war, It is the account - many accounts - of those who participated in the so-called War of 1967. Well written and brings an account of war down to
    the human experience of such madness. Read it.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 19, 2014

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 22, 2014

    No text was provided for this review.

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