Six Days of War

by Michael B. Oren

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Last Updated September 5, 2023.

Six Days of War: June 1967 and the Making of the Modern Middle East is a 2002 critically acclaimed, historical non-fiction book written by American-born Israeli writer, historian, politician, and former Israeli ambassador to the US Michael B. Oren. The story chronologically describes the events that happened during the Arab-Israeli war in June, 1967, which lasted only six days. Oren provides a very detailed diplomatic and militaristic account of the conflict, explaining its origin, causes, the US and Soviet Union intervention and their relations with Israel and the Arab World, Israel’s victory, and the Middle Eastern crisis, in general.

Oren did a lot of research for his work, carefully reevaluating and reconstructing the data he received from his available sources. However, I find it noteworthy to mention that, while the book has a very objective and unbiased narrative, Oren seems to make the Israeli actions a bit more understandable and more humane in comparison to the Arab alliance. He mentions how the Arabs wanted to weaken and defeat the Israeli state and suppress the Jewish culture, tradition and legacy; Jordanian and Syrian soldiers were killing and torturing civilians; many Jews were banished from their homes in Iraq and Syria, hundreds were imprisoned in Egypt, and countless of Jewish structures and synagogues were burned all over Egypt, Tunisia, Lebanon, Yemen, and Morocco.

These violent actions were some of the reasons why America chose to support Israel, while the Soviet Union diplomatically backed up Egypt, Jordan and Syria; however, neither the US nor the USSR were able to stop the war from happening. Thus, those readers who are pro-Palestinian will find Six Days of War to be a bit biased towards the Jewish culture and homeland, while those who are pro-Israeli will find it not biased enough. The average reader would probably enjoy the very informative, detailed, impartial, and historically accurate narrative.

The book received mainly positive reviews and even won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for History. Many literary critics praised Oren’s thought-provoking prose, and even called Six Days of War one of the most important books ever written about the 1967 Arab-Israeli conflict.

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