Six Days in June

Eric Hammel’s SIX DAYS IN JUNE explains the success of Israel’s military in the 1967 Arab-Israeli war. The book begins by describing the events which led to the war. Next, Hammel offers a remarkably clear and concise history of the Israel Defense Force in the 1940’s and 1950’s, describing how it developed a strategy for a quick, offensive war of motion and strove to obtain the forces needed to carry out this strategy.

The war which broke out in June, 1967 wa thus the war which the Israel Defense force had spent its entire history preparing to fight. Hammel’s account of this war is well organized and vivid. Though he primarily narrates the actions of individual Israeli units, Hammel takes time to evoke the confusion sometimes experienced in the Sinai and the intense feelings of Israeli officers when they first entered the old city of Jerusalem. The book ends by describing the bloody fighting in the Golan heights and the defeat of the Arab coalition.

SIX DAYS IN JUNE is, above all, military history. The story is told mostly from the Israeli viewpoint, for Hammel clearly admires the Israel Defense Force and its officers. Hammel says little about the long-term implications of the 1967 war or about the history of the Middle East since then. But clear writing, strong arguments, and a good glossary, index, and selection of maps help the book succeed very well as a military history which is accessible to novice readers.