Fortress Israel

The inside story of the military elite who run the country – and why they can’t make peace

Patrick Tyler

Published: 2 May 2013
Paperback, B Format
129x198mm, 576 pages
ISBN: 9781846272752


'Israel, six decades after its founding, remains a nation in thrall to an original martial impulse.'

Born of idealism, under David Ben Gurion and his protégés Dayan, Sharon and Peres, Israel came to prioritize security at all costs, and to seize land and water whenever opportunity arose. The security state erected around the nation is the most agile, relentless, intelligent and skilful in the region. And it is very little understood. Patrick Tyler believes that the way to understand it is to understand the men and women who have created, sustained and directed it. Less an anatomy of institutions and administrations than a searching biographical study of the outsize personalities who headed its operations and in consequence steered Israel's course since its foundation, this book is a landmark in the revelation of the inner workings and innermost desires of the Israeli nation-state.

About the author

Image of Patrick Tyler

Patrick Tyler has spent 30 years as a journalist, dividing his time between Washington, and tours in the Middle East, China, Russia and Europe. He worked for the Washington Post for 12 years, thenfor the New York Times for 14 years, leaving it in 2005 to write books full-time. He was succesively Moscow Bureau Chief, Beijing Bureau Chief and London Bureau Chief. As chief correspondent for the New York Times he reported from Baghdad in the lead up to the first Gulf War and covered the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in 2003. His book A Great Wall, Six Presidents and China won the 1999 Lionel Gelber Prize for best book on international relations and the Helen Bernstein Prize awarded by the New York Public Library. More about the author


‘[An] exceptional book... Tyler demonstrates with meticulous documentation and revealing interviews how Israel's founding military and intelligence leaders were essential to the survival of a young nation. Tyler also tackles the vexed question of our era: will Israel's warrior ethos prevent it from crafting a lasting peace? His analysis of how much the world lost with the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin is definitive and heart-breaking... essential reading’ Howell Raines, former Executive Editor



‘Mandatory reading... The definitive historical and analytical account of the role that Israel's military and the strategic thinking of its national security establishment have played both in Israel itself and in the wider Middle East... very well written and reported’ Peter Bergen, author

‘Readable, informative [and] timely’

‘Tyler knows [his] subject inside out... A heartfelt and uncompromising book’

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