The Six Day War

March 27, 2015 § Leave a comment

The Six Day Warsixdaywar
by Randolph S./Winston S. Churchill
published by Heinemann

The Arab-Israeli War of ’67 concluded with Israel establishing her military dominance in the Middle East and tripling her land mass to include: the Gaza Strip, Sharm-el-Sheikh, the Sinai Peninsula, the Golan Heights, the West Bank of Jordan, and the Old City of Jerusalem. The aftermath of this conflict would not only affect the subsequent Yom Kippur War in ’73 (through Israel’s seizure of chiefly strategic regions such as the Golan Heights and the Sinai Peninsula), but Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian Territories,the Golan Heights, and the ensuing displacement of Palestinians, remain contentious issues to this day.

The original intention of Randolph S. and Winston S. Churchill (father and son) was to survey and compare the British media coverage of the conflict. This evolved into a 250 page account of the war with R.S. Churchill responsible for the lines of inquiry into the political and diplomatic aspects, and W.S. Churchill travelling to the battlefields, interviewing members of the Israeli Armed Forces, and high ranking officials.

At 250 pages this book offers a succinct overview of the conflict and serves as a good introduction. The introductory chapters allow for a decent understanding of the history of the region and it’s people, and then go on to explain the background of the conflict. The bulk of the book narrates the events that took place between June 5 – 10: military campaigns executed on the battlefield; maps outlining various troop movements; combatant experiences; the international reaction. The concluding chapters are devoted to a discussion of the aftermath and the media coverage. This may suffice for some.

I doubt that this book will be a first choice for many readers interested in this topic; due to its relative obscurity and due to the availability of other works that delve into far more detail. I happened to chance upon this book in a second-hand book shop, and due to my longstanding interest in the politics and history of the region I decided to buy it. It’s focus on narrating the conflict primarily from the Israeli viewpoint prevents me from praising it as comprehensive and as “an in-depth coverage” of the war. This one-sided view may be justified by the impressive and brilliant performance of the Israeli’s on the battlefield, and the need to analyse those successes. My review may be slightly tainted by bias in favour of Michael B.Oren’s Six Days of War (though I haven’t read it, I have read some outstanding reviews of its scope and coverage).

All in all The Six Day War was an informative, engaging, and enjoyable read.

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