A recently retired Israeli Air Force general and its second-highest-scoring fighter ace, Iftach Spector is one of Israel’s living legends. He was the leader of the flight that attacked the USS Liberty in 1967. After the 1967 and 1973 wars, in which he commanded a squadron of fighter-bombers, he rose to head the IAF’s Training and War Lessons Section and later became its the Chief of Operations. He was one of the eight Israeli pilots who attacked Saddam Hussein’s nuclear reactor at Osirik in 1981.
In 2003, his career took an even more dramatic turn: he was the senior signatory of the famous “Pilots’ Letter,” in which Spector and 27 other Israeli pilots stated their refusal to bomb targets in Palestine where collateral damage would likely be severe. His maverick conscience is well on display in this artfully written memoir, which is currently a 10-week-and-counting bestseller in Israel and has been licensed in Brazil as well.
The son of a family that immigrated to Palestine at the turn of the 20th century, whose father and mother served in the Palmach, Israel’s early clandestine commando force, Spector has written a rich and reflective meditation on loyalty, on what is right and wrong in war, and on his dedication to the idea and reality of the state of Israel.
The Pilots’ Letter ended Spector’s military career, but also made him one of the most compelling and celebrated defenders of the conscience of the Jewish state. In that battle, as in his previous battles against Nasser’s MiGs, his mother’s constant lesson to him sustained him: “All from within.”
General Spector’s first book, A DREAM IN BLACK AND AZURE (1992; never translated into English), won the Sade Literary Award, given to him personally by Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. He has a B.A. in history and Middle East Studies from Tel Aviv University and a masters in political science from UCLA, both with honors.
|Sold by:||Barnes & Noble|
|File size:||3 MB|
About the Author
Iftach Spector is a retired Brigadier General of the Israeli Air Force. Since 2001, he has been active in the Movement for Disengagement from the Palestinians. Spector’s first book, A Dream in Black and Azure (1992; never translated into English), won the Sade Literary Award, given to him personally by Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. He has a BA in history and Middle East Studies from Tel Aviv University and a master’s in political science from UCLA, both with honors. General Spector lives in Ramot-HaShavim, Israel.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
SUPERB!! Unexpectedly brilliant! So glad I got this book on a whim during a rare mosey around Foyles. Iftach Spector has written the best military auto-biog and maybe the best auto-biog I've ever read. His writing is at once intimate and warm as he confides in his reader. The early chapters and the dominant thread is obviously about his impressive career as a fighter pilot and later expands on the fascinating events during the wars of 67, 68-70, and 73. Those sections alone would make a very good book. General Spector's originality is the way he expands on his professionalism and integrity through his evolving life-view as he ages. Integrity is the dominant trait that comes across.His description of how he gradually fell out of step with the strategic thinking with his own radical ideas and exceptional foresight is the beginning of his self-disciplined, and self-respecting 'opposition' - which culminates where the book begins: his signing of the Pilots' Letter to the Israeli Air Force command in late 2003 following the IDF's indiscriminate bombing of a terrorist target in Gaza. I salute him for making that small but important sacrifice.The chapters come thick and fast as the ace pilot becomes a ground-breaking squadron leader and first class leader of men. A frightening episode on the way to Damascus during the Yom Kippur war is retold breathtakingly. As are countless others - a disastrous dog-fight with the ethereal 'Hasan' over Jabal Druze is edge of your seat stuff, and a virtually fuelless getaway through the wadis of south Sinai is almost unbelievably dramatic right to the last word of the chapter. All the aircraft he flies from the Mystere to the Mirage, the Phantom to the F-16, come alive with their own personalities in the author's thoughtful words.I was ready to give this book 5 stars before the final chapters, but they just exceeded everything up to here. The reunion evening 20 years after the raid on Iraq's Osirak nuclear reactor is incredibly moving, especially the passages about the personal fears and the tragedy of astronaut Ilan Ramon. And then, to finish we're taken back to the beginning and the reason he signs the Pilots' Letter. His assessment of where Israel has gone wrong, and why, is spot on, and his proposals for their remedy are exactly how I see it and would want the leaders of Israel to see it. Israel needs men of Iftach Spector's integrity and calibre right at the very top. A great book and a great man.
I very much enjoyed this book written from an Israeli pilots perspective. It broke new ground for me, and I found his discriptions of all his missions gripping. It's a relatively easy read, and yet the author is able to convey much. I highly recommend it for anyone interested in the subject.