Sunday, February 29, 2004

Book review

I just noticed Prof. Bainbridge's review of Michael Oren's Six Days of War. This isn't an area on which I'm an expert, but my take on the book dovetails fairly well with his. As diplomatic history, it's excellent for the run-up to the war, well deserving of 5 stars. As military history, though, it's, well, an excellent diplomatic history. IIRC, pre-war diplomacy is the first 60% of the book, and the actual combat was given what felt like short shrift. As for the maps, well, they're either (1) awful or (2) nonexistent.

As for Oren's broader thesis that the Six Day War is the background against which post-'67 Israeli conflict history has played out, well, if you look at a map as of June 11, 1967, and compare it to today, that seems pretty obvious. At the same time, though, the '73 War may be more important, for that seems to be where the Arab states realized that they couldn't defeat Israel by direct military confrontation (or at least they haven't tried since then). Or Camp David and the idea of trading land-for-peace, or Lebanon, where the Israeli military proved fallible, or...

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