With such an emotionally and politically-charged topic, one of this novel's greatest accomplishments is its objectivity. Its other accomplishments include some of the most thorough research I've seen in a while, superb writing, and a style that keeps such thorough reporting interesting. Reeve reports on every aspect of every crime related to the events of September 5, 1972, including preceeding terrorist attacks that explain the future behavior of Black September, and attacks by Israeli Wrath of God agents following the games. What still strikes the reader hardest is Reeve's unwavering objectivity, even when dealing with the mass murder of civillians, whether by Black September Terrorists or by Israeli inteligence operatives. Reeve is not once lured into editorializing on the events, but rather presents all the facts, both sides of the story, and others' opinions and allows the reader to draw his or her own conclusions. Consider this purchase money well-spent.
Simon Reeve has offered a compelling and definitive treatment of the events of September 5, 1972, when members of Black September occupied the building housing the male members of the Israeli Olympic team at the Munich Olympics. The book also covers the "revenge" against the perpetrators by the Israeli Intelligence organizations. What I enjoyed most about the book was that it incorporated journalistic-style reportage with pathos that brought to life the dead Israeli athletes, and also provided a human element to the motivations of the members of Black September who planned and participated in this extremely sad and tragic event. There will, perhaps, be those who would prefer the demonization of the individuals who were part of Black September, but by treating these individuals as human beings, the events of September 5, 1972 have an added resonance for the reader that does not lesson the horror of the event.
This is a spectacularly compelling read. Anyone who liked Black Hawk Down will find much to fascinate here. The book is also fair-minded, and does not minimize the role played by any of the many groups (not just Jews and Arabs) who were party to Munich. Superb.
I started this book the other day. Whilst reading it I recoiled in amazement at the blunders and blatantly incompetent German officials and their complete lack of regard for the seriousness of the situation. Their determination for the Games to continue. I am Jewish and my opinion may be clouded, however, the book represents the various parties involved well. It captures the wariness of the Israeli team in entering the Games, and reflects individual athletes feelings about stepping once more onto German soil. I for one completely understand for the obvious reason. I still have trepidations now 50 years on. Imagine their trepidation not even 25 years on! Above all this book reflects the way people tend to ignore or trivalise major events. Not just where they involve Jews, but other events throughout the world. Someone has reviewed this book saying 'if you liked Black Hawk Down'. Black Hawk Down involved American soldiers, trained and employed to fight. The incompetencies involved may be similar, but these were Israeli athletes. Their fate was in the hands of a country who had tried to wipe out the religeon. I realise that the Germans were well aware of this and the book makes this very clear. But I can't help feeling that more was possible to prevent tragedy. Why weren't the assualt team properly equiped? Why was there no communication between the Israelis (who have dealt with similar situations) and the German officials. The list goes on. This book is deeply moving, and the events of 5th September 1972 will echo for eternity.