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Hardcover Beaufort Book

ISBN: 0553806823

ISBN13: 9780553806823


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Format: Hardcover

Condition: Very Good

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Book Overview

Beaufort. To the handful of Israeli soldiers occupying the ancient crusader fortress, it is a little slice of hell--a forbidding, fear-soaked enclave perched atop two acres of land in southern... This description may be from another edition of this product.

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

An invisible line between historical fiction/nonfiction

Leshem creates a powerful story of an Israeli soldier's life at Beaufort in Southern Lebanon in 98- 00. Its an intense story, following a young commander in the army as he tries to keep his troops sane and alive while fighting for Israel's retention of land in the southern part of its northern neighbor. What emerges is this juxtaposition of a seriously unsettled political and military matter with the life of many young "kids" (as leshem refers to the soldiers). Its hard to imagine that this is how life is for these soliders, but as we know this is how life is. Many of the soldiers in the story are "wasted" and you see how the soldiers learn to cope or at best learn to try. This book received a lot of praise when it first was published in Israel in 2006 (under the title "If Heavens Exist") and was popularized when read by many soldiers who were fighting in the 2nd israeli-hezbollah conflict. Somewhat of a foreshadowing of the dangers of hezbollah gaining strength and returning an attack, this book must have hit home for the soldiers who read it in 2006 and their families; especially those who lost a son or daughter in battle. The English translation is okay. At times it feels a little choppy but that's an innate problem with translating from one language to another. I feel that for anybody who is interested in Israeli culture, this book is a powerful exploration into what it means to be an Israeli soldier in recent years (especially compared to the soldier of the 40s, 50s, 60s, 70s and even 80s). Definitely recommend reading. Perhaps get the hebrew version if you can read hebrew.

Israeli Band of Brothers

As I read this I kept thinking about Stephen Ambrose's Band of Brothers. Only because, like that book, it is designed to try and help us understand how "normal" people become transformed and forever altered in battle and being surrounded by death. Because this story is written with the extra layer of the Israeli culture, that never should be seen as "almost american" or "almost european", we might begin to understand how the internal struggle there is deep seeded and difficult to pigeonhole. His Lesham's writing is clear and concise and while often humorous, in a Catch 22 kind of way, it is still affecting and meaningful. This is definitely worth the time.

Gripping story!

There are many books that address what it feels like to be a soldier. I haven't read many about what it feels like to be an Israel Defense Force (IDF) soldier. I did read the excellent "Adjusting Sights" by Haim Sabato, which, like "All Quite on the Western Front" by Erich Remarque" talks about what it's like to be a soldier in an apolitical world. Beaufort, however, markedly deals with what it's like to be an Israeli soldier. This might be disturbing to some based on your own personal politics. For me, it was eye-opening. It contained so much of the emotional side of war from the point of view of platoon leader Lieutenant Liraz "Erez" Liberti. I felt the bravado, the terror, and the love that pervaded the soldiers' souls during their station at Beaufort, an Israeli-occupied outpost in Lebanon. I'm not a person who gladly reads war novels. However, I thought I'd give this one a try because I discovered it was about Israel (and not about North or South Carolina as I had previously guessed from its title of "Beaufort") and, within a few pages of the opening of the book, mentioned Qiryat Shemona, a town in Israel in which I had lived when I was younger. A note by the author at the end of the book made it very clear that all of the characters except for one were fictitious. However, they were based on some real stories of IDF (Israel Defense Forces) soldiers. What stood out in my mind was how true the details - the denied fear, the camaraderie, the agony - of their situation seemed. In addition, I entered a world I'd previously denied in my mind - the utterly horrific situations faced by IDF soldiers (and, most likely, soldiers of other countries as well). Whether their own politics beliefs had a role in placing them there or not, they had a job to do. It had to be done well or it ultimately would place their own lives and those of their comrades in jeopardy. While on civilian leave, the ugly truth of their lives as soldiers had be squelched and only its perceived beauty be allowed to shine forth (Think bravery, honor, patriotism, etc.). There is one part of this book I found especially touching. It was the part about Mickey Bayliss, a soldier usually wearing a knitted kippa (skullcap used for religious Jews) who decided to remove it while on base. I could see how this was disheartening to Erez. It was also disheartening to me. It was as if Bayliss were saying that his level of spirituality was decreasing. That was so sad. The story is a brutal but realistic account of the lives of a platoon of soldier. It should be read with the thought how devastating the effects of war are everywhere. It would be wise to note as well that there is ultimately no absolute right or wrong to war. Sadly, war exists and will continue to exist forever.

Boys to Men

Leshem, Ron. "Beaufort", (translated by Evan Fallenberg), Delacorte Press, 2008. Boys to Men Amos Lassen If you haven't heard of Ron Leshem's "Beaufort" you will. "Beaufort" which is now available in English (translated beautifully from the Hebrew by Evan Fallenberg, author of the amazing "Light Fell") is the book that the Academy Award nominated Israeli film is based. In its original Hebrew the book won Israel's top literary award and the film went on to win the award for best director at the Berlin International Film Festival. The story is set in 1999 in the north of Israel and in southern Lebanon during the conflict between the two countries. Lieutenant Erez Liberti, nee Liraz (but nicknamed Erez because his commanding officer feels that Liraz is too feminine) is the main character as well as narrator of the book. Beaufort is a military outpost that Israel captured from Lebanon in 1982 and it is the focal point of the book. It is at Beaufort that relationships are built between the young Israeli soldiers stationed there and this is what this book is about. Leshem manages to blend historic fact and fictional personages as he tells the story of that period before Israel withdrew from Lebanon. In order to enjoy the book, no prior knowledge if the situation is necessary and the writing is beautiful--something that does not necessarily happen in a translated work. It reads as a black comedy but what it really is, it seems to me, is a coming of age story. We get a picture of what war is from the point of view of a soldier and even with its crude language and mounting death tolls, this is a story of friendship and Leshem shows us what the bonds of manhood are. Subversively funny and funny at the same time, we read about the horrors and ridicularity of war as well as of the camaraderie of men. To the very few Israeli soldiers who occupy the fortress, Beaufort is hell and is surrounded by the enemy. Liberti, for the thirteen men that are with him, wears many hats--he is a confessor, a slave driver and a hope for survival against the terrible attacks leveled at the site. It is a tense rime for the young men and death seems imminent. Liberti and his men create their own world and spend a lot of time talking--talking about the things that all young men talk about--women and sex; however they add another topic to their discussions--death and their dead comrades. The guys are frightened, angry and tired. They receive one last order; they are to perform a mission that is to change everything and thereby show just how futile war is. At a time in out own history when we are engaged in a war with an enemy of which we know little about and in a place of which we also know nothing, it is to our advantage that we read about the horrors and futility of battle. Ron Leshem and his translator Even Fallenberg give that to us and do so beautifully.


The Israeli author Ron Leshem wrote this in Hebrew in 2006 and won Israel's top literary award - "The Sapir Prize". Leshem co-authored the film version of "Beaufort" which won the Berlin International Film Festival's "Silver Bear" for Best Director. And now in 2008 it has been wonderfully translated into English. The story takes place in February 1999 in Northern Israel and Southern Lebanon during the Israel/Lebanon conflict. The main character and narrator in the story is Lieutenant "Erez" Liberti. His real first name is Liraz, but in basic training, at the very first roll call, the platoon commander said: "What kind of a name is that? Liraz? That's a chick's name. From now on you're "Erez", like the cedars of Lebanon." And from there on out he was Erez. Though this entire story takes place during war, as Israel enters and mans the infamous Beaufort outpost that was taken from Lebanon in a historic battle in 1982, the powerful emotional strength of this story isn't in constant grisly battles of weaponry and uncountable deaths and killings. Though any amount of death is too much and there are horrendous emotional heartbreaking deaths on the battlefield, the strength, power and heart rendering beauty of this story is in the building of the relationships between the young Israeli soldiers. I am a Viet Nam era veteran and when I entered the military I wasn't old enough to "legally" drink, but I was old enough to "legally" kill. I understood that, having been raised to respect and appreciate the price that America has paid for the freedoms we possess. Looking back on my life I thought I was already a man when I entered the service, but I was nothing but a boy. When I got out of the service I was a man, knowing things I wished I never got to know. That's what this story is about. Erez, though only a couple of years older than his troops was not happy with the discipline he saw in his "KIDS" as they got ready for battle, so he runs them into the ground. As the story unfolds the reader gets to learn intimate details about Erez and the thirteen boys/kids/men under his command. Friendships are earned, not born, when everyone's life is on the line every second. I can attest to the fact, that the true mettle of a man, even with all the training in the world, mixed with all the youthful male "bravado" and braggadocio, is not proven or understood fully, until the first mortar's, the first missiles, and the first rockets land in the middle of your platoon! That's when a true "man" is forged. After the first death in Erez's squad, by my experience, it becomes a necessity to inoculate a close knit group on the battlefield with some form of "dark-gallows-humor" and that's what Erez's "kids did. They invented a game called "WHAT HE CAN'T DO ANYMORE" and it's what everyone played when a friend was killed. I.e. "Hetzl" (I've used a fake name so I won't reveal an individual's death before you read it.) won't be able to get laid anymore... he won't be able to piss
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