Saturday, August 29, 2015

Book Review: Shield of David

Murray Rubenstein and Richard Goldman
Shield of David
Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1978
Category: Israel Air Force - History

Rating: 3-Stars

At the time that Murray Rubenstein and Richard Goldman came out with their overview of the history of the Israeli Air Force, the wounds from the 1973 Yom Kippur War were still raw, and security surrounding Israel's front-line fighting force was still extraordinarily tight.  Rubenstein and Goldman endeavored to write the first comprehensive history of the IAF to appear in the English language.  The access that they were given to Israel's leading pilots, however, and to the operational details of Israel's Air Force, were strictly monitored and limited.  Active duty officers are seldom allowed the freedom to speak freely regarding their experiences - or to even reveal their names.  It would be another decade before the first, unfettered interviews could be published - providing a more complete and nuanced picture of Israel's Air Force, its men, and their fighting doctrine.

Shield of David therefore stands today as a snapshot of Israel's Air Force, as viewed from the outside, at a time when events that are now considered historic episodes were part of recent memory.  Although overtaken by later writers and publications, who were granted less restrictive access, this book still merits its place as an important element - however circumscribed - of the published record.

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