In This Review

The Albatross of Decisive Victory: War and Policy Between Egypt and Israel in the 1967 and 1973 Arab-Israeli Wars
The Albatross of Decisive Victory: War and Policy Between Egypt and Israel in the 1967 and 1973 Arab-Israeli Wars
By George W. Gawrych
Greenwood, 2000, 281 pp
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This careful study by a historian at the U.S. Army's Command and General Staff College contributes not merely to Middle Eastern military history but also to the general study of war. Drawing on English and Arabic sources and interviews on both sides, Gawrych describes how radically different opponents interacted in wars that have attracted the close attention of general staffs everywhere. Although admiring of Israeli operational skill, he notes dispassionately how the Israelis' smashing success in 1967 paved the way for the disastrous opening days of the 1973 war. He concludes by warning his American readers that the technologically, operationally, and tactically inferior side may nonetheless outwit a superior and overconfident foe -- as Egypt almost did in 1973. An important work, although a truly definitive account requires the opening of military archives and scholarship grounded in Hebrew sources as well.