The Yom Kippur War: The Epic Encounter That Transformed the Middle East

In This Review

The Yom Kippur War: The Epic Encounter That Transformed the Middle East

By Abraham Rabinovich
Schocken, 2004
543 pp. $27.50
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This big, informative book offers objective, clear-eyed analysis interlaced with the stories of statesmen and soldiers major and minor. Rabinovich's readable narrative presents the war mostly from the Israeli perspective, but he provides a fair, even sympathetic, account of the Egyptian and Syrian sides as well. His story fits with the generally accepted interpretation of the war: a successful surprise attack by the Egyptians and Syrians, early military gains for the aggressors, a reeling Israel that gained the initiative only slowly and at great cost, and finally superpower intervention that prevented a clear Israeli military victory but set in motion a political process that resulted in the Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty six years later. Rabinovich's "boots on the ground" details of this terrible, short war -- which included the second-largest tank battle in history, fought in the barren sands of the Sinai -- is a worthy account.