SOCIAL SCIENCES

Fortress Israel: The Inside Story of the Military Elite Who Run Israel—And Why They Can’t Make Peace

. September 2012. 546p. 978-0-37428-104-5. 32.
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Tyler (former chief correspondent, New York Times; A World of Trouble: The White House and the Middle East—From the Cold War to the War on Terror) traces a 50-year history of what he considers the excessive influence of Israel’s military establishment on the country’s electoral politics and policies, especially its foreign policies relating to the Arab states and the relations of the Israeli government with the Palestinians. Relying on published articles, histories, diaries, and journals of political and military leaders, as well as dozens of interviews with Israelis who were active participants in the struggles he describes, Tyler makes the case that Israel, following its successful war of independence, soon became a “Spartan” nation, with a political leadership committed to military solutions to the exclusion of diplomatic alternatives.
VERDICT Tyler is best at detailed descriptions of the who, what, when and where of the events described here, with extensive citation of sources, but he falters in explaining the why. Nonetheless, this will be valuable for readers interested in the history of Israel or the ongoing conflicts in the Middle East.

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