Sharon: The Life of a Leader

Gilad Sharon; Mitch Gins­burg, trans.
  • Review
By – May 18, 2012
Ariel Sharon as por­trayed in this biog­ra­phy is a fer­vent Zion­ist, states­man, sol­dier, farmer, and ded­i­cat­ed father. The book’s strength and weak­ness is that his youngest son, Gilad, is the author.

As a con­fi­dant of his father, Gilad Sharon is able to give us an inti­mate por­trait of the man most of us know only as an Israeli politi­cian. Ariel Sharon was first a man of the land, Eretz Israel, and pro­tect­ing her bor­ders was his pre­dom­i­nant con­cern first as a mil­i­tary man, and lat­er as Prime Min­is­ter. With­in the pages of this book one will encounter a per­son­al side of Sharon that explains his love for his coun­try and years of ded­i­cat­ed service.

Gilad Sharon draws upon exten­sive per­son­al records his father kept and uses many inter­views with world lead­ers to paint a reveal­ing por­trait. As a politi­cian he could be tough but sought com­pro­mise when he felt it would ben­e­fit Israel. As a mil­i­tary sol­dier he could be a dif­fi­cult leader who eas­i­ly won the uncon­di­tion­al sup­port of the men he led in bat­tle, but sel­dom those above him.

This book is also a his­to­ry of Israel from the ear­ly set­tler days until cur­rent times, but not nec­es­sar­i­ly an objec­tive his­to­ry of the peri­od or the man. There­in lies its weak­ness, as his son attempts to build the foun­da­tion for Ariel Sharon’s lega­cy. More will be writ­ten about this fas­ci­nat­ing and com­plex man, but for now we have a lov­ing por­trait by a lov­ing son.
Bar­bara Andrews holds a Mas­ters in Jew­ish Stud­ies from the Uni­ver­si­ty of Chica­go, has been an adult Jew­ish edu­ca­tion instruc­tor, and works in the cor­po­rate world as a pro­fes­sion­al adult educator.

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