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Striking Back: The 1972 Munich Olympics Massacre and Israel's Deadly Response

3.9 of 5 stars 3.90  ·  rating details  ·  482 ratings  ·  62 reviews
The first full account, based on access to key players who have never before spoken, of the Munich Massacre and the Israeli response–a lethal, top secret, thirty-year-long antiterrorism campaign to track down the killers.
1972. The Munich Olympics. Palestinian members of the Black September group murder eleven Israeli athletes. Nine hundred million people watch the crisis u
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Hardcover, First Edition, 256 pages
Published December 20th 2005 by Random House
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 924)
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Ray
"Striking Back" provides a good background on the Israeli - Palestinian conflict which endures to this day. The book centers on the 1972 Munich Olympic massacre of the Israeli olympic team, and details a number of security failings of the Munich authorities which allowed the events to unfold as they did. Klein then tells the story of Israel's policy of preventive assassinations of the leaders of the Black September terrorists wing, using archived files of Israel's security forces. Unfortunately, ...more
Erik
Good introduction to the 1972 Munich Massacre and Israel's response. A lot of this was covered in Spielberg's Munich, though what that movie failed to make explicit is that the retaliation Israel undertook was not against the actual perpetrators of the Munich Massacre, but towards low-level Black September operatives who had tangential ties to the PLO and Fatah. These targets really meant nothing in the wider scheme of things, other than those killed in the infamous Spring of Youth strike in the ...more
Jonathan
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Michael
For me, the most interesting thing about the book was the first quarter of it, which details the actual events leading up to and including the massacre of Israeli athletes at the 1972 Munich Olympics by the Palestinian terror organization Black September. The rest of the book is dedicated to describing various assassination plots by the Mossad (successful and unsuccessful) intended as both revenge and deterrent. (The difference between the actual assassinations and those depicted in Stephen Spie ...more
Janet
Apr 09, 2008 Janet rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Americans, Students of History
Shockingly, I grew up unaware of the world at large until President Reagan awakened in me a sleeping Patriotism. In trying to understand the War on Terror, events on the timeline of my life scatter to reveal raw edges of dramas played out across the world’s stage. Striking Back details in dry chronology, the 1972 Munich Olympic Massacre and Israel’s developing response to terror. I was 11 at the time and remember faintly that something had gone wrong at the Olympics. I was totally ignorant, knew ...more
Linda Appelbaum
I found this book to be completely compelling and fascinating. It was astonishing to learn so many things could have prevented the massacre from happening - better security, someone who at least would listen to a warning about the athletes being place on the ground floor. Other little things made me wonder how things like this happen when it seems so obvious that precautions that should have been taken weren't. The book gives a peek into intelligence and counter-intelligence, the Mosad, the work ...more
Brenton
This book tells the story of the horrific massacre of Israeli athletes in the 1972 Munich Olympics, and of Germany’s incompetence in dealing with terrorist activities at that time. Secondly, it tells the story of the Israeli response to terrorism around the globe since that time and especially the work of the Mossad. Israel has taken a strongly preventative and retaliatory response to terrorism, assassinating suspected terrorists before they strike, and "closing the circle" on the terrorists res ...more
Megan
I've been fascinated by the history behind the rise of extremism/terrorism, and its coming to fruition with Black September. What a lot of people may not know, and what this book helps put in perspective is that Palestinian terrorist groups were more secular and nationalistic, then fundamentalist and based in Islam. There is a line in the film adaptation based on the Mossad counterterrorism unit; "Home is everything." I really think that strikes a chord with all groups laying claim to the land o ...more
Tom Schulte
This is a fascinating, in-depth behind the scenes look at the Munich Olympics massacrea and the many years of plotted and accomplishing revenge assassiations by Israel's Mossad. The at times casual application of lethal shooting and explosives - with some collateral damage - comes across as irresponsible to do inthe apartments and streets of Europeans cities, etc.

There is also fascinating details on methods and misfires in this well-researched book.

Good narration.
Tom Schulte
This is a fascinating, in-depth behind the scenes look at the Munich Olympics massacrea and the many years of plotted and accomplishing revenge assassiations by Israel's Mossad. The at times casual application of lethal shooting and explosives - with some collateral damage - comes across as irresponsible to do inthe apartments and streets of Europeans cities, etc.

There is also fascinating details on methods and misfires in this well-researched book.

Good narration.
Susan
I've read several other books about the Munich massacre and Black September, but this book lends a different perspective about Israel's handling of both the security at the Olympics and its institutionalized assassinations. The author states that the book won't conclude whether or not these hits were just, but in presenting information that had been locked away in Israeli safes until 2005, he sheds new light on the massacre and its repercussions.
Jerry Smith
Having lived through the 70s without being old enough to really understand what was going on in that troubled decade, books like this are interesting for the light they throw on that time, particularly as it pertains to international terrorism. That topic has particular resonance today as we go through another period of terrorist atrocities from 9-11 to date.

It is hard now, to remember how prevalent was Palestinian terrorism in the 70s and the frequency of plane hijackings, the lack of security,
...more
Richard Kravitz
A pretty good book. I never new how badly West German messed up during the Munich Olympics hostage crisis. The Israelis too, by not providing their own security, but the Germans were despicable in their negligence and refusal to take responsibility. Some of the material was a little confusing with regard to dates and the writing was not particularly detailed and not a lot of history. But a quick read (2-1/2 days) and very informative regarding the assassinations. The Mossad, as efficient as they ...more
Rosanne
I enjoyed the first part of this book due to the clear explanation of why the crime was committed. I became confused in the second half due to my lack of knowledge of the parties involved in the Isreal/Arab conflicts.
Holly
After being wowed by the movie, Munich, I found this book and really loved it. It is one of those where you are there. Anything Mossad grabs my attention and this book does it anyway on its own merit.
Jon Larson
A very good book on the inner workings of the Mossad. What does Israel do when confronted with terror? I would not want to cross them!
Del Simmons
A great story of how the Israelis struck back at the people responsible for the slaughter of their athletes in Munich.
Jintong Shi
I am interested in the KGB, Mossad and MI5 for years, reading lots of literature about them, they are the best services of human intel.

This book is about Mossad's Operation of Wrath of God, assassinating the targets from Black September terrorist organization. And " Eye for an Eye"

And ironically, the mastermind of the Black September, Abu Daoud, was never harmed. He at last came to a term with Israel and went back to Palestine for election with the passport and ID issued by Israel, and he died o
...more
Allison
To be fair, the book did seem to be well researched and well written. But, it was not quite what I expected and I did not enjoy reading it and it left me with a sour feeling. The book is about the horrible 72 Munich olympics massacre and Isreal's response (well, no surprise there, that's all in the title). But, I didn't realize that the Massacre probably could have been avoided or at least lessened if the host country had handled things differently. For just one example, one of the guys killed d ...more
Gerald Kinro
It tells the story, with remarkable detail, the tragedy of the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich. Eleven members of the Israeli delegation were taken hostage and then executed by members of the terror group Black September. It shows the ineptitude of the German officials in handling the situation. From here the Israelis respond with an undercover operation in which combatants are charged with execution orders passed down from each prime minister beginning with Golda Meir. These combatants, or Mossad, ...more
Miguel
This is a difficult story to tell, mainly because reality is much less dramatic than the myth surrounding this episode in history. Firstly, most of the initial assassinations in the wake of Munich were low-level logistical support people who probably were not even involved in the original massacre. On balance, aside from Ali Hassan Salameh, the goal of revenge, as the title "Striking Back" suggests, was never really achieved (and even that his involvement disputed by some of Klein's sources). I ...more
Andy
In these days of slanted, emotion-laden, heavy-handed, entertainment-oriented journalism, Klein's book is welcome - it's comparatively dry, only wearing its heart on its sleeve occasionally. It's subtly (there's a word you don't hear much anymore) eye-opening throughout, from its account of the events leading to Black September's massacre of Israel's team of athletes at the 1972 Olympics in Munich, to its discussion of the nature of terrorism in the early 70's (I wasn't aware, for example, that ...more
Dave Scrip
A fascinating read that is a well written account of the 1972 Munich massacre and Is real' s response to Black September's terrorist acts.
Liz
Oct 06, 2008 Liz rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Interested in recent history
Shelves: 2008
Before, during and after the 2008 Olympics, I was intrigued to read more about the Munich Olympics Massacre. This book was very compelling, covering the history of Israel and Palestine leading upto the events in Munich. And then of course, the events for many years afterwards. One of the goals of the terrorists that day was to make a statement to the world about the Palestinian plight. Considering that the image of a terrorist on the balcony showed up as a "Memorable Image from a Past Olympics", ...more
Cailean
Dare I say I hoped this book would be more exciting? It sounds like an odd criticism, but I think it obviously lies more in the writing style and tone than in what is actually being described and detailed. I'd read other books about massacre in Munich, so while I understood it needed to be retold in this book for those who didn't know, I wished so much of the book hadn't been about that. I was hoping to learn a lot more about the Mossad's actions after. It felt really dry, however, and written i ...more
Ella Burakowski
To say that I was more than a little shocked at the mistakes and incompetence of the Israeli government and security would be an understatement. I chose this book after seeing the movie "Munich". The movie delt with the aftermath and payback of the Munich massacre and this book delt with the actual massacre and how the Israeli athletes were put in a risky situation with not much thought to their saftey. To much trust and too much "passing the buck" quashed any chance these men would have had at ...more
Monica
Eric Bana's hotness inspired me to see Steven Spielberg's Munich, and Munich inspired me to read Striking Back. Munich is based off of a different book (Vengeance: The True Story of an Israeli Counter-Terrorism Team) that puts a rosier spin on the revenge mission following the massacre at the Munich Olympics. Striking Back allows for more reality and talks about how some of these revenge missions had a degree of high fuckery oftentimes. A bit more unbiased. And a good read if you dig the Mossad, ...more
Amanda
3.5 stars - possibly skewed because I just finished One Day in September (which was fantastic) before this book. Wouldn't read this again, but not sorry I read it.
Tom Schulte
This is a fascinating, in-depth behind the scenes look at the Munich Olympics massacrea and the many years of plotted and accomplishing revenge assassiations by Israel's Mossad. The at times casual application of lethal shooting and explosives - with some collateral damage - comes across as irresponsible to do inthe apartments and streets of Europeans cities, etc.

There is also fascinating details on methods and misfires in this well-researched book.

Good narration.
Tom Schulte
This is a fascinating, in-depth behind the scenes look at the Munich Olympics massacrea and the many years of plotted and accomplishing revenge assassiations by Israel's Mossad. The at times casual application of lethal shooting and explosives - with some collateral damage - comes across as irresponsible to do inthe apartments and streets of Europeans cities, etc.

There is also fascinating details on methods and misfires in this well-researched book.

Good narration.
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