656 pages, 9.59 × 6.57 × 1.71 in
January 10, 2014
Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
The following ISBNs are associated with this title:
ISBN - 10: 1400042410
ISBN - 13: 9781400042418
Read from the Book
Preface · Land of Hope My grandfather was a Hebrew teacher in Rehovot at the beginning of the last century.” Ariel Sharon, corpulent, white-haired, looked up over his reading glasses at the half-full Knesset, the Israeli parliament. Members were listening politely or quietly reading. “I have a deep love for the Hebrew language,” he read on in his incongruously high-pitched voice. “For the miracle of its revival, for the historical wellsprings from which it draws its words and phrases.” There was no tension in the chamber that afternoon in January 2005. No catcalls, no heckling. A parliamentary moment without politics. Sharon could have asked one of his two deputy prime ministers to represent the government at the largely ceremonial debate marking Hebrew Language Day. But he wanted to speak himself. He had a point to make. Mordechai Scheinerman, Sharon’s grandfather, came to Palestine in 1910 and settled with his wife and children in the still-tiny Jewish village of Rehovot, southeast of the barely existent Jewish town of Tel Aviv. That made him sort of aristocracy. Not quite a Mayflower man of the First Aliya (1882–1902), but still an early Zionist pioneer of pre–World War I days. Palestine was a derelict corner of the crumbling Ottoman Empire then. The dream of the Zionist visionary Theodor Herzl (d. 1904), that it would one day become a Jewish state, seemed just that: a dream. In his native town, Brest Litovsk in White Russia, Mordechai was an early convert to Zioni
From the Publisher
From the former editor in chief of Haaretz, the first in-depth, comprehensive biography of Ariel Sharon, the most dramatic and imposing Israeli political and military leader of the last forty years.
The life of Ariel Sharon spans much of modern Israel’s history. A commander in the Israeli Army from its inception in 1948, Sharon participated in the 1948 War of Independence, played decisive roles in the 1956 Suez War and the Six-Day War of 1967, and is credited here with the shift in the outcome of the Yom Kippur War of 1973.
After leaving the professional army, Sharon became a political leader and served in numerous governments, most prominently as the defense minister during the 1982 Lebanon War in which he bore “personal responsibility,” according to the state’s commission of inquiry, for massacres of Palestinian civilians by Lebanese militia. As a general and as a politician, he championed the construction of Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank and Gaza. But as prime minister, he performed a dramatic reversal: orchestrating Israel’s unilateral disengagement from the Gaza Strip.
Landau brilliantly chronicles Sharon’s surprising about-face, combining the immediacy of firsthand reportage with the analysis and independent insight of a historian’s perspective. Sharon suffered a stroke in January 2006 and remains in a persistent vegetative state. This biography recounts the life of the man who is considered by many to be Israel’s greatest military leader and political statesman, illustrating how Sharon’s leadership transformed Israel, and how his views were shaped by the changing nature of Israeli society.
About the Author
David Landau immigrated to Israel from the United Kingdom as a young man. His career in journalism began in 1970 at The Jerusalem Post, and he joined Haaretz in 1993 as news editor. He founded of Haaretz’s English edition and was its editor from 1997 to 2004, and was editor in chief of Haaretz’s Hebrew edition until 2008. He is the longtime Israel correspondent for The Economist. Landau collaborated with Israel’s president Shimon Peres on Peres’ memoir, Battling for Peace, and he published, with President Peres, Ben-Gurion: A Political Life. He is also the author of Piety and Power, an account of the increasingly significant role the ultra-orthodox (haredi) play in Israel, the United States, and Europe. Landau graduated with a degree in law from University College London and studied in leading yeshivas in Israel. He is married with children and grandchildren and lives in Jerusalem.
“A thorough, extremely candid description and assessment of the military and political lives of the controversial Sharon, who has been in a vegetative state since a massive stroke in 2006. The author...displays a deep familiarity with the details and contexts of Sharon’s career....[and] is also adept in the descriptions of the labyrinthine political world of Israel during Sharon’s era. Splendid reporting, comprehensive research and probing analysis inform this unblinking view of a complicated man and a sanguinary geography.” —Kirkus (starred review)“[Landau’s] thorough, balanced, and scrupulously fair biography makes clear why Sharon was capable of winning respect and admiration, even from his staunch political opponents….This is an outstanding, warts-and-all portrait of an arguably great, if not a particularly likable, Israeli leader.” —Jay Freeman, Booklist (starred review)“It is Sharon’s wholly surprising journey from ruthless military commander to what Landau calls ‘national father figure,’ from territory-expanding champion to Palestinian state advocate, that most interests Landau in ‘Arik: The Life of Ariel Sharon,’ his fine, comprehensive and readable biography. Five years in the making and published just after Sharon’s death last month, the book closely chronicles Sharon’s epic military and political battles, serving as a kind of national history….Whether or not we understand why he changed, we are given a close look at how and when, including Sharon’s sudden use of th