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Arik: The Life of Ariel Sharon [Kindle Edition]

David Landau

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“Comprehensive and readable. . . . [Arik] chronicles Sharon’s epic military and political battles, serving as a kind of national history.” —The New York Times Book Review

“[An] expertly written biography . . . that unpicks many of the controversies around Sharon’s record, and promises to become the definitive account of his career. . . . This is no panegyric. . . . [Landau] is an elegant writer and a superb journalist, making this book an engrossing read.” —Financial Times

“Landau captures the combativeness and contradictions of one of the major figures in Israel’s history. Sharon played a role in nearly every stage of the nation’s development since its independence.” —The Washington Post

“Landau does an excellent job in presenting a fair portrait of a man who strove to do what he thought was best for his people, to the alternating consternation of both the Left and the Right.” —The Daily Beast

“A big biography worthy of its subject, an outsized figure in the history of Israel. Sharon led a long, controversial public life. . . . Landau’s book covers all of it and then some.” —The Oregonian

“Landau is an elegant writer. . . . The heart of this exceptional biography is the transformation of Sharon from a loose cannon—as menacing to his allies as to his enemies—into a respected statesman, the hope of a nation.” —Haaretz

“Nuanced, insightful. . . . It will be regarded, in the years to come, as the definitive work on the eleventh prime minister’s life.” —The Times of Israel

“Important and extremely readable. . . . Those wanting to draw their own conclusions [about Sharon] will find a great deal to work with in David Landau’s Arik. . . . Sharon’s radical change from virulent hawk to moderate peace seeker is one of the more interesting political changes in recent times. Landau skillfully and engagingly chronicles the how and why of that change and other fascinating details of a life well lived.” —Washington Independent Review of Books

“[Landau] is perfectly placed to write the biography of one of Israel’s seminal, and at times most controversial, leaders. . . . What the reader comes away from Arik with is that Sharon was not easily pigeonholed into one political camp. . . . [He] took the ideas of others and made them into reality.” —The Jerusalem Post

“[Landau] has done a superb job here in attempting to chisel away the myths that surround Sharon and to isolate his essence without theatrics or ideological fanfare. . . . A complex and compelling portrait of Sharon that forces the reader to reevaluate his or her preconceived notions.” —Jewish Journal

“Landau’s background as a journalist gives the biography a raw immediacy. . . . [Arik] paints a comprehensive picture of Ariel Sharon, a man easy to hate, but harder to understand. Mr. Landau does what good biographers should do, explain the life of his subject, but questioning his subject’s motivations every step of the way.” —New York Journal of Books

Compelling. . . . Landau’s is the most objective and nuanced book assessing the life [of Ariel Sharon].” —The Jewish Week

“With great research and noticeable interest, Landau depicts Ariel Sharon as a man who is more complex than any one of his multitude of titles and the subsequent criticism he endured as a public servant.” —Publishers Weekly

“Splendid reporting, comprehensive research and probing analysis inform this unblinking view of a complicated man and a sanguinary geography. . . . A thorough, extremely candid description and assessment.” —Kirkus (starred)

“[A] colorful, insightful, and deftly written biography. . . . Landau brings considerable analytic gifts to bear in explaining the contradictions and vicissitudes of the complex man who evolved from brilliantly unorthodox but unruly solider, radiating controversy, recalcitrance and naked aggression, to become Israel’s sober and grandfatherly 11th prime minister.” —The Jerusalem Report


From the former editor in chief of Haaretz, the first in-depth comprehensive biography of Ariel Sharon, the most important Israeli political and military leader of the last forty years.

The life of Ariel Sharon spans much of modern Israel's history: A commander in the Israeli Army from its inception in 1948, Sharon participated in the 1948 War of Independence, and played decisive roles in the 1956 Suez War and the six day War of 1967, and most dramatically is largely credited with the shift in the outcome of the Yom Kippur War of 1973. After returning from the army in 1982, Sharon became a political leader and served in numerous governments, most prominently as the defense minister during the 1983 Lebanon War in which he bore "personal responsibility" according to the Kahan Commission for massacres of Palestinian civilians by Lebanese militia, and he championed the construction of Israeli settlements in the West Bank and Gaza. But as prime minister he performed a dramatic reversal: orchestrating Israel's unilateral disengagement from the Gaza Strip. Landau brilliantly chronicles and analyzes his surprising about-face. Sharon suffered a stroke in January 2006 and remains in a persistent vegetative state. Considered by many to be Israel's greatest military leader and political statesman, this biography recounts his life and shows how this leadership transformed Israel, and how Sharon's views were shaped by the changing nature of Israeli society. 


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Die hilfreichsten Kundenrezensionen auf (beta) 3.9 von 5 Sternen  22 Rezensionen
3 von 3 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
4.0 von 5 Sternen Biography of a fascinating character 19. März 2014
Von Robert Meyer - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Kindle Edition|Verifizierter Kauf
Sharon is responsible for settling Israelis on conquered territory. His military exploits from the 1948 war of independence thru the war to invade Lebanon to displace the PLO and try to make peace with a compiant Lebanese Christian government are fascinating. The unlikely path of his political career, when an older and wiser Sharon became head of the government and led Israel to unilaterally disengage from Gaza, and probably would have withdrawn from parts of the conquered territoy if he had not suffered a stroke, is illuminating. The dirty side of Israeli political life with almost all figures, including Sharon, compromised, is a revelation.
2 von 2 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
4.0 von 5 Sternen The "Bulldozer" 10. September 2014
Von David C.Nathanson - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Kindle Edition|Verifizierter Kauf
A very good and relatively objective review of the life of an extraordinary man written by someone who was not especially favourably disposed to him. Had he lived, he may very well have changed the course of Israel for the good.
4 von 5 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen great book 9. Februar 2014
Von Roberto - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Kindle Edition|Verifizierter Kauf
So interesting ! I could not stop reading it
It gives a complete picture of Ariel Sharon
I recommend it
1 von 1 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Putting aside any political or emotional views I found this ... 7. Dezember 2014
Von Casual Reader - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Kindle Edition
Putting aside any political or emotional views I found this one of the most informative books I have read about the current middle east issues while following the life of Arik. I also came to see Arik as Israel's McArthur! Well worth your time. Very, very readable.
2 von 3 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
4.0 von 5 Sternen A quick summary of the political history of Israel through the life of one man 5. August 2014
Von totally dude - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
Other reviews have tarred the author as a leftist. I don't really detect that here. The author is certainly center-left, but he does not take some of the more extreme left wing positions which are regularly aired on The Nation magazine.

In fact, I detect that for the most part the author rather likes Arik Sharon. He takes us through the life of Arik from before the founding of Israel to its early days following independence. He follows him through the wars which anchored Israel's existence. The early parts I found genuinely thrilling to read, as Arik the war hero cuts through the Arab armies with brilliant abandon. The enthusiasm is tempered with genuine criticism of some human flaws. He seems to have built up a little ego at times. But the author generally stays within conventional wisdom about the wars. He does not dismiss the major wars as land theft (1948), Israeli aggression (1967) or overblown fear-mongering (1973) which again, I see regularly in The Nation magazine and general leftist discourse on the Israel issue.

So while the first half of the book is thrilling, the second half bogs down considerably as Arik enters political life and has to fight with various politicians here and there, jostling for cabinet appointments, party primaries, that kind of stuff. It isn't much fun, but it does provide a good overview of what actually happened in Israel for the past 15 years or so. So you get a very intricate view of the Camp David negotiations and the details leading up to the infamous ascent to the Temple Mount. In fact, it was then that I first even heard about Ariel Sharon. The author again emphasizes Israeli losses during this and the second intifada. We move on to Sharon becoming Prime Minister and his tenure, the withdrawal from Gaza, and his eventual stroke and coma. In this part I suspect that we see the author's true motivation for writing this book, as he seems to genuinely admire Sharon for pulling Israeli settlers out of Gaza, though as he pulls them out Hamas does take over and starts firing rockets at Israeli cities...which is still on-going today in 2014.

So in short, I found this book to be enjoyable to read. It is a little dense and packed with details. Each chapter has like 4-5 pages of footnotes to go along with it. The only thing I wish that there were more of was some explanation of the factions and forces going on here. There isn't much explanation on the settler movement, for instance. The author just assumes that the reader (I suppose his intended audience are people already intimately familiar with the Israel issue) knows about them already.
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