Thirteen Days in September
The Dramatic Story of the Struggle for Peace in the Middle EastLawrence Wright
In September 1978, President Jimmy Carter met with Israeli prime minister Menachem Begin and Egyptian president Anwar Sadat to broker a peace agreement between the two Middle Eastern nations. After thirteen tumultuous days a treaty was forged which would go on to last for more than three decades.
With his hallmark insight into the forces at play in the Middle East, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Lawrence Wright takes us through each day of this historic conference, illuminating the issues that have made the region’s troubles so intractable and exploring the scriptural narratives that continue to frame the conflict. Featuring vivid portrayals of the three leaders and other key participants, Thirteen Days in September is a riveting depiction of an unprecedented diplomatic triumph. Named as one of the best books of the year by the Financial Times, Economist, The New York Times and The Washington Post, it captures the extraordinary and profoundly difficult process by which an agreement was reached, providing us with a timely reminder that peace in the Middle East is possible.
‘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.’
‘A splendid and suspenseful account of the Camp David negotiations.’
‘Fascinating personal and historic detail.’
‘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.’