Ariel Sharon, Israel's former Prime Minister, was perhaps one of the most controversial public figures in the Mideast. He was born in 1928 in a moshav--an agricultural community in which, unlike a kibbutz, residents own their own property--and was raised by parents who were not only ardent Zionists but also rugged individualists. His father ...
Ariel Sharon, Israel's former Prime Minister, was perhaps one of the most controversial public figures in the Mideast. He was born in 1928 in a moshav--an agricultural community in which, unlike a kibbutz, residents own their own property--and was raised by parents who were not only ardent Zionists but also rugged individualists. His father especially was contemptuous of socialism and believed in individual enterprise, raising his son to be self-reliant and physically strong in order to prepare him for the inevitable struggle to establish a Jewish state. Sharon was perhaps best known as the organizer of what was called Commando Unit 101 and for his original ideas for the training of commando forces, which he later adapted to the training of larger, more traditional armies. During his military career he personally led many raids into Arab territory and has been criticized for his role in the destruction, in 1953, of some forty Arab homes--which he insisted he thought were empty and in which sixty-nine Arabs died. Later, in 1982, he was blamed also for allowing the Lebanese Christian Militia into a Palestinian refugee camp in which hundreds were killed. His political career was of course indelibly colored by his military exploits. What made Sharon tick? What kind of a man was he? How did his childhood and early life condition him to become a brilliant commander, controversial soldier and an as-yet-untested leader of a small democracy which is divided both within and without? This first biography in English--frank, but balanced--will perhaps answer some of the questions raised by his career both as a soldier and politician.
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Publishers Weekly, 2002-07-15 Readers will be left frustrated by the lack of psychological insight in this detailed but unsatisfying biography of controversial Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon. The book' s strength is in its early pages, where the authors detail Sharon' s youth. He was born in 1928 to a strongly individualist father who had moved to Palestine from the Soviet Union. The authors (Anita Miller is a literary scholar, Jordan Miller a poet and playwright, Zetouni a director of Olive Production and a contributing editor to Chicago Life magazine) also lay out clearly Sharon' s early rise through the Israeli army and his developing reputation as a loose cannon. The book competently describes the notorious 1982 massacre of Palestinian refugees by Lebanese Christian troops, for which an Israeli commission later found Sharon indirectly responsible. But three-quarters of the book is devoted to the past decade the rise and fall of the Oslo peace process and the second Palestinian intifada and Sharon' s role in these events. There are few revelations here, and little attempt is made to probe Sharon' s motivations, for example the possible effects of the personal tragedies he' s suffered the early deaths of his first wife and his first-born son. A figure as important and complex as Sharon deserves a more sophisticated treatment. Photos not seen by PW. (Aug.) Forecast: Despite its flaws, many trying to understand the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will turn to this, which the publisher says is the first English-language biography of Sharon. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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