Personal Witness: Israel Through My Eyes

In This Review

Personal Witness: Israel Through My Eyes

By Abba Eban
G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1993
671 pp. $29.95
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Anyone who has already read Abba Eban's autobiography will find that this book covers much of the same ground. As always, Eban writes in an engaging manner and has a sharp eye for anecdote and detail. Finally he is free of official constraints and can reveal a bit more than heretofore about the events that he participated in and often helped shape. For example, he confirms that a message from Justice Abe Fortas helped to change his own view of President Johnson's position on the eve of the Six Day War, and he gives some detail on his widely rumored meetings with King Hussein. Many in Israel have long disparaged Eban's accomplishments, and in this book he settles a number of scores, including with Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. The bulk of the book covers the period from Suez through the early 1970s, after which time Eban no longer played much of a role in Israel's diplomacy. Memoirs are rarely written by individuals with small egos, and this is no exception, but as the genre goes, this has the virtue of being gracefully written and often informative as well.