A rounded, balanced, and well-paced description of the lead-up, conduct, and aftermath of what was probably the most significant conflict between the end of the Second World War and the Second Gulf War.
Jeremy Bowen brings a journalist's eye to his history, sprinkling the writing with interviews and comments from those who were there without getting distracted from the main flow of the narrative. Each day of the war gets a chapter -- something that must surely be unique in military histories -- with ample attention being given both to the military and civilian aspects of the conflict.
"America fell in love with its tough young friend," Bowen comments, and while it's not hard to see why, it's hard not to be infuriated by the consequences. No-one comes out of the story well. The Israelis fail to capitalise on the size of their victory to use magnanimity to gain a lasting peace. The Arab countries lie to themselves in the run-up and then try to hide from the fall-out by blaming others. The US and Britain fail to push for a just resolution, when they could have demanded a similar outcome to that which followed the Suez crisis. I'd certainly recommend this as a one-volume overview of the medium-term causes of the Middle-East situation, as well as a warning from history for future conflicts.
Finished on Thu, 03 Jul 2014 00:00:00 -0700. Rating 5/5.