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1948
Cover of 1948
1948
A Soldier's Tale--The Bloody Road to Jerusalem
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Acclaimed as the Middle East's "All Quiet on the Western Front"
The first eye-witness account ever published of the 1948 Israeli War of Independence, this riveting memoir of a young Israeli soldier became an instant bestseller on publication in 1949, and is still recognized as the outstanding book of that war, in the tradition of Erich Maria Remarque's All Quiet on the Western Front. First joining the Givati Brigade and later volunteering for "Samson's Foxes", the legendary commando unit, Avnery took part in almost all the major battles on the Jerusalem and southern fronts. Written from the trenches, and from a military hospital bed, he offers an extraordinarily detailed account of the war, of fast-paced battles, and acts of extreme bravery, as well as the camaraderie and off-duty exploits of young men and women thrust into the front line. This is a gripping, sensitive, and at times deeply poignant account of the day-to-day brutalities of one of the most significant wars of our times.
Acclaimed as the Middle East's "All Quiet on the Western Front"
The first eye-witness account ever published of the 1948 Israeli War of Independence, this riveting memoir of a young Israeli soldier became an instant bestseller on publication in 1949, and is still recognized as the outstanding book of that war, in the tradition of Erich Maria Remarque's All Quiet on the Western Front. First joining the Givati Brigade and later volunteering for "Samson's Foxes", the legendary commando unit, Avnery took part in almost all the major battles on the Jerusalem and southern fronts. Written from the trenches, and from a military hospital bed, he offers an extraordinarily detailed account of the war, of fast-paced battles, and acts of extreme bravery, as well as the camaraderie and off-duty exploits of young men and women thrust into the front line. This is a gripping, sensitive, and at times deeply poignant account of the day-to-day brutalities of one of the most significant wars of our times.
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About the Author-
  • Uri Avnery, journalist, writer, and politician, has fought for peace for over fifty years, co-founding the peace organization Gush Shalom. He has received numerous awards for his extensive humanitarian work, including the Alternative Nobel Peace Prize in 2001. He lives in Tel Aviv.

Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    November 10, 2008
    Two moving books by Avnery, originally published in 1949 and 1950, appear here in their first English translation. A former member of the Israeli Knesset and outspoken peace activist, Avnery was the first Israeli to meet with Yasser Arafat in 1982. Fighting in Israel’s 1948 war of independence, he sent battlefield dispatches to an Israeli newspaper describing the fluctuating morale of his platoon. As a new recruit, Avnery’s enthusiasm quickly dampens, and he reflects on the cruel arbitrariness of war when a comrade dies next to him during their first battle. After another important and successful battle, Avnery writes of how survivor’s guilt leaves him unable to face the parents of fallen comrades. In the book’s most profound moments, Avnery describes how his friends risked their lives to save his when he was critically wounded. His excruciating recovery is told in the book’s more ambitious and controversial novelistic second half, which also suggests that Israel should form an alliance with the Arab national movement. Although written more than half a century ago, Avnery’s colorfully detailed eyewitness accounts of battle are still potent, authentic and relevant. Photos, maps.

  • Booklist

    January 1, 2009
    Avnery is a longtime peacenik who has been a fixture of the Israeli political and literary scene for decades. As a 25-year-old soldier, he served throughout the 1948 Israeli War of Independence, including the drive to relieve the besieged Jewish-held portions of Jerusalem. Originally published as two separate works, this book, in its first half, is a gritty and brutally honest memoir of a confusing war as seen through the eyes of a young and idealistic fighter. Avnery describes the prolonged stretches of boredom interrupted by short, violent episodes during which the enemy soldiers are often unseen, and deserted Arab villages are a reminder of the toll taken upon civilians. In the preface to the new edition, Avnery acknowledges that his views of the struggle were a bit narrow and have been contradicted by subsequent revelations. The second half of the book is a fictionalized account that was widely criticized in Israel as unpatriotic because it offers an unromantic view of the conflict in which Israeli soldiers and the struggle itself are portrayed in realistic rather than heroic terms. Combined, these narratives provide a hard-edged look at the effects of combat on young and largely inexperienced men and women.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2009, American Library Association.)

  • The Good Book Guide

    "The two books by this remarkable man are brought together here for the first time."

  • Christian Science Monitor

    "1948” is a tenacious attempt to communicate the reality of war. It has invited comparison to Erich Maria Remarque’s 1928 classic “All Quiet on the Western Front,” and deserves it.

  • The Jerusalem Post

    “This is an essential read for anyone interested in the history of Israel and the War of Independence.”

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    Oneworld Publications
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1948
1948
A Soldier's Tale--The Bloody Road to Jerusalem
Uri Avnery
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