A sweeping epic of Israel from its founding to the Six-Day War, from the #1 NewYork Times-bestselling author: “Full of excitement.”—Entertainment Weekly
From the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Winds of War and The Caine Mutiny, this saga spans from 1948 to 1967, the early decades of the state of Israel as it fights for its life, outmatched and surrounded by enemies—the first of the two-part epic that concludes with The Glory.
Zev Barak, Sam Pasternak, Don Kishote, and Benny Luria are all officers in the Israeli army, caught up in the sweep of history, fighting the desperate desert battles and meeting the larger-than-life personalities that shaped Israel’s fight for independence. The four heroes, and the women they love, weave a compelling tapestry of individual destinies through a grand recounting of one nation’s struggle against the odds.
“Much of the dialogue is witty; the descriptions of back-channel diplomacy between the United States and Israel are fascinating and convincing.”—The New York Times Book Review
“Solid historical research…fictional characters of Wouk's own invention rub shoulders with real-life historical figures like David Ben Gurion [and] Moshe Dayan.”—The Christian Science Monitor
“Rich and satisfying…deftly portrays the human face of inhuman conflict.”—The Cleveland Plain Dealer
“An engrossing and often moving tale.”—Publishers Weekly
In the Historical Notes to this solid saga encapsulating three Israeli-Arab wars, Wouk makes astute reference to the element that gives the novel its considerable power: he refers to his ``arduous personal research . . . which is one reason that my books appear at long intervals.'' Conceding the impossibility of using ``cool perspective'' about events so recent and often still hotly debated, he then clarifies which episodes in the novel are based on fact. These accounts of specific battles, behind-the-scenes political skirmishes in Israel and diplomatic strategy in Washington, D.C., provide the novel's fascinating historical background and true drama. Among and between his accounts of the 1948 War of Independence, the Suez crisis and the Six-Day War, Wouk weaves a story of two protagonists and their fortunes in love and war. Young Polish immigrant Yossi Blumenthal first distinguishes himself in battle in such a reckless manner that he is dubbed Don Kishote; he goes on to become a military hero. His first commander, Zev Barak, is ``sidelined'' into diplomacy and becomes an attache in Washington. Such actual figures as David Ben Gurion, Moshe Dayan, Golda Meir and others are depicted with candor and credibility. While his account is sympathetic to Israel, Wouk does not paint the Arabs with a tarred brush; nor does he put a false gloss on less-than-admirable episodes in the short history of the Jewish nation. Though his prose at times peregrinates into the pedestrian, Wouk has not lost his touch: this is an engrossing and often moving tale.