Thirteen Days in September: Carter, Begin, and Sadat at Camp David

Knopf. Sept. 2014. 352p. notes. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780385352031. $27.95; ebk. ISBN 9780385352048. HIST
OrangeReviewStarNew Yorker staff writer Wright (Going Clear) brilliantly chronicles the impossibly complex negotiations of the Camp David Accords, where President Jimmy Carter, Egyptian president Anwar Sadat, and Israeli prime minister Menachem Begin came close to an impasse but persevered over the course of 13 days to make peace between Egypt and Israel. The author alternates among each day's events, biographical sketches of the central and supporting players, and insightful sociopolitical essays on the three leaders and their countries as he explains the process that led to a Nobel Peace Prize for Sadat and Begin and laid the foundation for the subsequent Oslo Accords. The pacing is skillful, and the author's insight—bolstered with interviews and writings of the three teams' members—brings the process alive for modern readers. All three men were flawed visionaries, and the ministers and aides who attended the meetings had their own opinions and agendas. The passages about the effects of the three Abrahamic religions on the members of the delegations add an illuminating depth to this thoroughly footnoted work.
VERDICT This fascinating account is sure to be an in-demand resource and is a must-buy for any Middle East or foreign affairs collection.
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