A TOP TEN BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR PICK BY PUBLISHERS WEEKLY
A gripping account of the 1978 Camp David summit when President Jimmy Carter persuaded Israeli prime minister Menachem Begin and Egyptian president Anwar Sadat to sign the first peace treaty in the modern Middle East, one which endures to this day.
With his hallmark insight into the forces at play in the Middle East, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Lawrence Wright takes us through each of these historic thirteen days, illuminating the issues that have made the problems of the region so intractable and exploring the scriptural narratives that continue to frame the conflict. What emerges is a riveting view of the making of this unexpected and unprecedented peace treaty.
‘Reminds us why Camp David is so important… The story has a tragedy of ambivalence, and is not easy to tell… Wright finds the drama in all the frustrations, and brings the unlucky 13 days to life'
‘A magnificent book [from] one of our finest nonfiction writers ... In his minute-by-minute account of the talks Wright intersperses a concise history of Egyptian-Israeli relations dating from the story of Exodus. Even more important is Wright's understanding that Sadat, Begin and Carter were not just political leaders, but exemplars of the Holy Land's three internecine religious traditions.'
‘It is brilliant penetrating scholarship ... Wright expertly captures every move of the three-way realpolitik chess match. By using each man's biography to illuminate the history of his respective nation, he not only chronicles Camp David but elucidates the issues that continue to plague the Middle East.'
‘Exceedingly balanced, highly readable, and appropriately sober.'
‘In fine sketches of the personalities — not just Carter, Sadat, and Begin, but their eccentric minions — Wright shows just how difficult it was to achieve a lasting truce, and makes old news only more relevant in a region where something new happens every day but nothing really changes.'
‘The best part of Thirteen Days in September — edging out even its breakneck pace and utterly confident narrative style — is Wright's almost Plutarchian skill at character sketches.'
‘Fascinating personal and historic detail.'
‘A splendid and suspenseful account of the Camp David negotiations.'
‘An engrossing chronicle of Carter's marathon peace negotiations with Menachem Begin and Anwar Sadat at Camp David ... an illuminating view of a vital event that has been all but forgotten — and of a single-minded, even messianic president whose White House years have been denigrated and discredited ... In examining the three, Wright is both fascinated and fair-minded, seeing men of faith and fortitude, and ultimately of vision, with stark similarities and even starker differences ... A wonderful book.”
‘Spellbinding ... A cliffhanger ... What makes the story a page-turner isn't the day-by-day details of the negotiations. It's Wright's seamless, compelling backgrounding of the region's violent history, the enmities and peculiarities of the players who came to the remote presidential retreat in the Maryland mountains to reach a monumental, if flawed, accord that endures to this day.'
‘A psychologically astute and lively history of the Arab-Israeli conflict told through the lens of the negotiations that brought one of its most bitter and bloody chapters to an end.'
‘A chronicle of diplomatic success ... The heart of the book is the daily, sometimes hourly shifts in tactics and postures, stands and counterstands, that unfolded over 13 days in 1978.'
‘Mr. Wright displays a sensitive understanding of the region and a fine pen as he sketches in the characters and motivations of the three main players.'
‘A unique moment in history superbly captured ... a day-by-day account of the tense negotiations that shaped these historic talks ... Yet another triumph for Wright.'
‘Meticulously researched ... almost nail-bitingly tense ... an authoritative, fascinating, and relatively unbiased exploration of a pivotal period and a complicated subject.'