Saturday, October 02, 2004

Six Days

I recently finished reading Six Days - How the 1967 war shaped the Middle East by Jeremy Bowen.

Bowen is a famous BBC journalist who seems to have researched the book well and writes in an easy-to-read style. I was curious to read more about the Six-Day War as it featured in Moshe Dayan's autobiography which I have read a couple of times. Bowen tells a story that no one involved will be happy with and covers the shooting and sinking of the USS Liberty in such a way that it prods your mind to search for answers.

The book is as much about the failings of the surrounding Arab states and the Soviet Union as it is about Israeli aggression, though Bowen's telling of the story leans heavily in favour of the Arabs.

Dayan was painted in the book as a political opportunist, at the expense of illustrating his now legendary pragmatism. I found the internal strife and prejudices between different groups of the Israelis very interesting, particularly the way the Zionists born in Israel looked down on the Jews from the disporah who had survived world war two as being weak.

I would recommend that anyone interested should read this book, BUT not rely exclusively on Bowen's version of events and interpretation of events.