The Lion's Gate: On the Front Lines of the Six Day War

Sentinel  2014


The significance of Israel’s victory in the Six Day War is such that 47 years after the event, new books continue to be published about it. Steven Pressfield’s The Lion’s Gate: On the Front Lines of the Six Day War focuses almost exclusively on the war from the perspective of individual soldiers and pilots of the Israel Defence Forces (IDF).

The book’s strength derives from the manner in which the individual stories are told. While most of the stories relate to the wartime experience, the author includes background information on the interviewees which provides a welcome context to the stories. In addition, sufficient facts are included from the interviews that one could gain a decent understanding of the causes of the war itself as well as the political milieu in which the combatants were operating.

The book is most interesting when relying on actual interviews of the soldiers/pilots of the IDF. It is the case, however, that the book is weakest when the author imagines interviewing Moshe Dayan and includes such “interviews” in the book. In the book’s preface, the author warns the reader that some of the interviews included in the book are fictional and he has included them as part of the “New Journalism” method of writing about history. Notwithstanding the fictional interviews, the book remains worthwhile because of the fascinating stories of the soldiers and pilots who did the fighting.

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