Last year I read and reviewed Steven Pressfield’s excellent book The Lion’s Gate, which tells the story of many of the men and women involved in the Six Day War in their own words:
If the cost of the hard-cover edition was putting you off, The Lion’s Gate is now available in paperback. Highly recommended.
I was surprised by this book in a number of ways. My notions of Israel are unavoidably colored by my impressions of the biblical kingdoms of Israel and Judah in the days of David, Solomon, and their successors; though I knew better, from other reading I’ve done, I still rather expected the Israelis to be zealous followers of Judaism. Some were; but many of the early Zionists were atheists and socialists. Also, because today Israel is a modern high-tech state I rather expected the Israelis of 1967 to be more or less like Americans who happened to live in the Middle East. That couldn’t have been further from the case. Most of the younger generation in 1967 had been born in Israel, often on the kibbutz; many of the soldiers he interviews had never been even as far as Tel Aviv until the time came to go to war. And what all of them knew as they were growing up was that their homeland was surrounded by enemies and that it was up to them if Israel were to survive.
Note: The cover shown is the hardback edition. I have a copy of the paperback, but my son David nabbed it before I could scan the cover.
UPDATE: Here’s the paperback cover.