At his best the author, a veteran Israeli spy-diplomat, is provocative and insightful in his reinterpretations of recent Middle East developments. Especially on Lebanon and the Iran-contra affair, he sheds some new light. But this is far from a scholarly account. Footnotes are rare and sources are used selectively, sometimes inaccurately. Often the author implies that he has unique sources and insights that allow him to read the minds of his protagonists. Many minor inaccuracies suggest hasty writing and careless editing. Kimche has his heroes-Kissinger, Dayan, Sadat, Bashir Gemayel-and his villains-Brezhnev, State Department bureaucrats, the Egyptian Foreign Ministry, Carter's Middle East team, Weinberger, Arafat. His charge that Brezhnev planned both the 1967 and 1973 wars, as well as the withdrawal of Soviet advisers in 1972, is not new, but is vigorously argued. Perhaps some new evidence will resolve the debate, but nothing in this book settles the matter. A book to be read-but not necessarily believed.
Get the best of Foreign Affairs' book reviews delivered to you.