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

4.21  ·  Rating Details  ·  491 Ratings  ·  39 Reviews
In this galvanizing account of the most dramatic of the Arab-Israeli hostilities, Abraham Rabinovich, who reported the conflict for the Jerusalem Post, transports us into the midst of the 1973 Yom Kippur War.

Rabinovich’s masterly narrative begins as Israel convinces itself there will be no war, while Egypt and Syria plot the two-front conflict. Then, on Yom Kippur, Saturda
ebook, 592 pages
Published December 18th 2007 by Schocken (first published 2004)
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G.d. Brennan
Aug 10, 2012 G.d. Brennan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Abraham Rabinovich has written the best kind of history with "The Yom Kippur War": as focused and detailed as the text under a scholar's magnifying glass, as sweeping and cinematic as the landscapes in a David Lean epic.

The Yom Kippur War itself was as dramatic an episode as any in the modern Middle East. Six short years before, Israel had won one of the most convincing military victories any nation has ever won in war; it had captured 42,000 square miles, swelling the country to three and a hal
Derek Weese
Mar 16, 2012 Derek Weese rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It isn't often that I read a book about a historical subject that I know little about. Usually I tend to read about events that I already have a lot of passion for, this book was not one of such books. The 'Yom Kippur' or October War is an area of history I always found interesting yet never bothered to read more than a magazine article on. To anyone who wants to read a well written, dramatic yet not over done book that is for the common masses yet still delves deep into a very complex and fasci ...more
By far the best general narrative on the war of 1973 written so far. Rabinovich's book, while written necessarily from the Israeli point of view (given the paucity of Arab primary sources on the war, especially from Syria) is objective as it can be. The war itself is covered at all levels, from governmental down to the experiences of individual soldiers. But perhaps the best part is the exploration of the pre-war hubris and arrogance of the IDF and of Israel in general after the victories in the ...more
Tom Nixon
Jul 27, 2011 Tom Nixon rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The history of the modern Middle East is complicated enough to begin with- but when you throw in this rich, detailed examination of one of the most complex and curious wars ever fought between Israel and its Arab neighbors, the word 'complicated' doesn't even begin to do it justice- and one thing is for certain- Abraham Rabinovich, US Army Veteran and journalist in both the United States and Israel has managed to produce what may well be the definitive account of a very complicated war.

So what h
Sep 03, 2008 Jon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Rabinowich provides one of the best tactical-operational accounts of a major modern war I've ever read. Accounting for the fact that only the Israeli archives have been opened or perhaps even kept in the first place, the author does an amazing job of describing the combat and decision-making on the ground in the Sinai and the Golan. Furthermore, he gives an excellent account of the technological, doctrinal, and tactical changes that allowed the Egyptians to make stunning gains in the beginning; ...more
Feb 07, 2013 Antonio rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I finished a couple of books this week. First was The Yom Kippur War: The Epic Encounter That Transformed The Middle East by Abraham Rabinovich. It was significantly better than The Eve of Destruction. If you're interested in the Arab Israeli peace process it is fundamental that you understand this war. This book explains the change in political mindset of the Egyptians and Israelis brought about by this war better than any other I've read. It explains the stalemate created by the 6 Day War and ...more
Scott L.
Feb 03, 2012 Scott L. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I found this to be an excellent book, that tells the story of the Yom Kippur war from the strategic all the way down to the tactical level. The book is very clear about the mistakes that both sides made, and how the Yom Kippur war lead to the later Israeli - Egyptian peace pacts. The only downside to the book is that the Egyptian-Syrian side of the story is not given a lot of the story, Rabinovich preferring to tell the story from more of the Israeli viewpoint. He is, however, very fair when it ...more
Jul 14, 2013 Jonathan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Perhaps the most thorough book on the subject matter. Despite this fact it is tremendously readable. It is a step above 'No Victor, No Vanquished' by Edgar O'Ballance (Which I loved as well) due to the fact it presents more information that is now available that O'ballance didnt have access to when he wrote his book so close to the end of the conflict. Personally I think the pair go together perfectly, No Victor, No Vanquished as an excellent intro laying the ground work and this for the follow ...more
Aug 10, 2014 Jason rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was interested in learning about the Yom Kippur War - and "mission accomplished" having read this book. It is very thorough, and for the most part, an enjoyable and fast moving read. The author goes through the war in great detail, from the events leading up to the start of the conflict--including the incredible arrogance of the Israeli assessment relating to the danger the Arab armies posed--, the treacherous first few days, the strong Israeli recovery and the end game. It is largely told fro ...more
This is as well-researched and well-written a book about a war as you will find. (It helps that the war lasted less than a month, which makes getting into tremendous day-to-day detail comparatively easier than it would have been with a conflict that lasted for years.) Abraham Rabinovich deserves full credit for making the most of the opportunity to put national leaders, international diplomats, military chiefs of staff, field commanders, unit leaders and common soldiers under an unsparing micros ...more
Levie Galapon
Feb 13, 2014 Levie Galapon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Easy to read and offers a lot of military and diplomatic insights to the Yom Kippur War
Michael Seufert
Nov 02, 2015 Michael Seufert rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: porto
Very interesting and well-researched it was a great read.
Nov 01, 2011 Brian rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book does an excellent job of recounting the entire Yom Kippur War from both the military and political standpoints. The first 100 pages cover the lead up to the war and the diplomatic maneuverings on both sides. It assesses the United States and Soviet Unions role and the fear of what detente would mean for the participants. You even see the ironic nature of Jordan's King warning Israel of the impending attack. Israel left itself blind to the possibility of an attack and was caught complet ...more
David Miller
May 08, 2013 David Miller rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a first-rate history: highly informed and reasonable in its conclusions, with a compelling collection of anecdotes and details. It is a balanced book, which considers the motivations of all sides in the war without assigning any of them a villainous status; rather, it's a story about many nations trying to change the course of international politics.

It's the history of a war, and so for people who are weary of history as an endless litany of the dates of kings and battles, that may be of
May 27, 2015 Dale rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Nearly done, but don't expect my opinion to change. It is an excellent overview of the most relevant of the Arab-Israeli Wars to the the crises of 2012.

While focusing on the Israeli perspective (Rabinovich was a war correspondent), it also gives good insights into the Egyptian side of the conflict. There is no Syrian perspective, because the Syrians have not spoken about the war to Westerners. Perhaps understandably: Syria came breathtakingly close to overrunning Israel in the first few days of
Oct 16, 2012 Jason rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fantastic account of the 1973 Yom Kippur War between Egypt and Syria on one side and Israel on the other (with the USSR and USA serving as suppliers and ultimately peace brokers — Kissinger mainly, while Nixon was embroiled in the Watergate scandal), from a mostly Israeli perspective (Egyptian sources are present; Syrian sources apparently almost nonexistent). Rabinovich shows great ability to present both the compelling stories of relatively small battles and of the individuals who fought them, ...more
Eric J. Hartsfield
Good general history of the conflict

I would recommend this book to anyone who wants a general and broad perspective of the October War. While it doesn't delve into the nitty gritty military details of some other works it does provide enough background and information to satisfy the general reader as well as someone more familiar with the subject.
Mohammed Hamad
كتاب جيد جدا ومليء بالتفاصيل عن موضوع في غاية الأهمية في تاريخ مصر الحديث وساعدني في معرفة بعض التفاصيل المجهولة بالنسبة لي.
اعتمد الكاتب على المصادر غير المصرية وبالأخص المصادر الاسرائيلية للموضوع فكوّن صورة جديدة وأكثر شمولية بالنسبة لي عن الحرب لما حاولت أدمجها مع اللي قريته في مذكرات الشاذلي.
فيه معلومات كثير متوافقة مع البيانات اللي حكاها الشاذلي في مذكراته، وفيه بيانات غريبة برده زي حوارات مالهاش علاقة مباشرة بالتحركات العسكرية لو كانت اتشالت كان الكتاب هيبقى أخف، عشان كدة عديت بشكل سريع على
Sep 02, 2010 J rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: middle-east
Meticulously well-researched but and incredibly detailed but perhaps too much so; it did, after all take me five months to get through it. Of course, it's not like I read it straight through, either. Oh well. I do think it needs more maps. I would say a map per chapter is completely justified. A dramatis personae also would be useful, not just a list of interviewees. There were so many minor characters who would be mentioned in one chapter and then pop up again 10 chapters later, after switching ...more
May 12, 2014 Ross rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a highly detailed blow by blow account of the October 1973 war with a lot of technical description, which is what I like. Consequently it takes 500+ pages to cover the 12 days of fighting in which Israel was initially caught totally by surprise when Egypt and Syria attacked.
Israel managed to survive, of course, but it was a close run thing. In less than 2 weeks Israel lost more soldiers on a per capital basis than the U.S. suffered over 10 years in Vietnam.
This book is strongly recommen
Jan 02, 2014 Elaine rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013-reads
I thought this was a well balanced book on the politics, war itself and the troops involved. It was a shocking but sobering war for Israel, but it was very well told and also included how everything fitted in, and panned out.
I must say there are some characters on the Israeli side, that are so stubborn, brilliant and courageous. I am glad that the author included the good, bad and ugly in the book.
Egypt and Syria and the rest of the Middle East that got involved to the 'superpowers' - USA and US
Jun 05, 2015 Amber rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: library-loan
3.5 stars. This was a very detailed and well-researched book. However, the majority of the book focused on military strategy and maneuvers. If you are not well-versed in these subjects, or don't have a passion for them, you may struggle to get through the book. I, for one, can only read so much about tanks before my eyes start to glaze over. I find I prefer books which address the political/social/cultural reasons behind a war, how the overall war progressed, and maybe focus occasionally on one ...more
Jan 24, 2015 Ahmed rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A detailed and highly documented account of a war that led to peace and changed the politics of the region.

The author uses many documented sources, interviews, and biographies of the war generals to write a well-documented account story-telling the unfolding events. You get to live the lives of the soldiers and officers during the war, as well as the sensitive discussions behind closed doors in the political leaders offices.

The author is fairly neutral and uses accounts from both sides of the wa
Rohan Pinto
Jan 12, 2016 Rohan Pinto rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Brilliant book! Tough tough battle for Israel where it had to fight for existence.

"Israel’s battlefield recovery, in turn, reflected a society with a will to live and a capacity to improvise amidst chaos.”

Excerpt From: Rabinovich, Abraham. “The Yom Kippur war"
David Einav
May 07, 2015 David Einav rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Basic history of one of the 3 major wars Israel fought (1948 -- Independence War, and 1967 -- 6 days war being the two other).
Adnan Khan
Jun 08, 2014 Adnan Khan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good narrative book of the 1973 Arab- Israeli war. Unfortunately little input from the Arab prospective .
Sammy Duncan
Jan 27, 2016 Sammy Duncan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very well written history of an important campaign.
Liz McOsker
Jun 05, 2014 Liz McOsker rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Well written, well paced. A good overview of the war, with very interesting insights into israeli, Egyptian, Soviet and American actors. I hope that someday the Syrian side will tell their story.
Donna Herrick
Nov 06, 2011 Donna Herrick rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a really readable account of one of the wars that has shaped the world as we know it. The author makes the case that this war was started to change the status quo in the Middle East, and that it's settlement lead directly to the situation that we have now. This book teaches you about more than just the conduct of the Yom Kippur War, it also teaches you about why the Israelis are so fearful about their Arab neighbors.
Daniel Rosenthal
Dec 25, 2014 Daniel Rosenthal rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Usually taking a month to finish a book is an indicator of a poor book. Not the case here, just didn't have much time to read.
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Abraham Rabinovich is a journalist born and raised in New York City. A graduate of Brooklyn College and a US Army veteran, he worked as a reporter for Newsday and arrived in Israel on the eve of the Six Day War. After completing his first book, The Battle for Jerusalem, he joined the Jerusalem Post as a reporter and feature writer. His freelance articles have been published in The New York Times, ...more
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