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Paperback The Liberty Incident: The 1967 Israeli Attack on the U.S. Navy Spy Ship Book

ISBN: 1574885367

ISBN13: 9781574885361

The Liberty Incident: The 1967 Israeli Attack on the U.S. Navy Spy Ship

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Format: Paperback

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Book Overview

On June 8, 1967, at the height of the Six-Day War between Israel and its Arab neighbors, Israeli air and naval forces attacked the USS LIBERTY, an intelligence-collection ship in the service of Israel's closest ally, while that vessel steamed in international waters off the Sinai Peninsula. The Israelis killed 34 Americans, wounded 171, and nearly sank the ship. Dozens of theories exist about what happened that day. Official inquiries conducted in...

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

Great Military Fiction

I found Mr. Cristol's book a great read. It provides an engrossing fictional account of Israel's attack on USS Liberty during the middle of the Six Day War. The author does an excellent job of portraying highly skilled and experienced Israeli fighter pilots as being dazed by the "fog of war" and thinking they saw a high-speed, enemy destroyer when in fact, it was a slow-speed, WW2 cargo type ship -- laden with antennas. Mr. Cristol's description of only two aircraft making several attack passes at the front of ship, and firing only 30mm cannon in few second bursts, followed by two others attacking from the rear with a couple of napalm bombs, while flying at 600 knots, makes you feel like you're in the pilot's seat. Unfortunately, the fictional elements of this account don't hold up as well as others because photographs of attack damage clearly show the ship was hit from the front, side and rear by many rockets and 30mm cannon; i.e., the attack involved more than four aircraft, and rockets were the primary weapon. Nonetheless, it's a good piece of story telling. The torpedo attack is well explained too. While reading about how seasoned Israeli Motor Torpedo Boat commanders confused the modern looking USS Liberty with an old Egyptian horse carrier, I almost came to believe it was possible. Both vessels were cargo type ships and they both had a bow and stern. The author's treatment of this phase of the attack is a brilliant work of fiction. I highly recommend this book to anybody who may be interested in reading a fictional account of the USS Liberty Incident.

A Comprehensive Review of the Facts

I am a former Cryptologic Technician (76-80) and served with personnel who were aboard USS Liberty when she was attacked. I have read most of the mainstream books and articles about the attack and had the opportunity to read some classified reports while in the Navy. While Ennis makes a powerful emotional argument that he and his shipmates were the victims of a premeditated attack, his information is based on hearsay and incomplete information. It did not convince me that the attack was intentional. Bamfords work is flawed by his misquotations and mistatements and while he has written some interesting stuff about the NSA, he comes to the Liberty investigation late and with his mind already made up. Judge Cristol's book is very well researched and documented, since it was derived from his Doctoral Disseration, where shoddy research is not tolerated. It does require some flipping back and forth between the text and the notes, but any reader who truly wants to understand what happened on the June 8, 1967, should be willing to do that. Unless, of course, they have already reached a conclusion. This isn't fiction. It can be dense, but at the end, I felt that Judge Cristol wrote an excellent, well researched book on the topic. I hade some lingering doubts, but those were dispelled. Some people claim the book attacks other points of view. It does not attack, but does refute, with facts, other points of view where, in Cristol's judgement, those points of view are not based in fact. The arguments over the attack on USS Liberty will continue for years. While I agree that this has been thorougly investigated by the CIA, NSA, JCS and Congress, if it takes a full Congressional investigation to put this into the past, then I am fine with it. Mark

The Peril of Collective Memory

The Liberty survivors, it seems, suffer from "collective memory," which simply put means they have convinced each other of the veracity of certain "facts." Unfortunately, a few leaders among them have created a cottage industry of denigrating the US and Israeili governments for their part in this tragic event and distorting reality. Fortunately, a judge-scholar-aviator of Cristol's caliber has come along to set the historical record straight. As far as I'm concerned, this is what history is all about.

Accidental Friendly Fire

The term "friendly fire" has always been controversial. Some tend to see a conspiracy behind each such incident. A case in point is the Israeli attack, during the 1967 Six-Day War, on the U.S. Navy spy ship-- the USS Liberty. Israel has expressed deep regret for this tragedy, which resulted from an unfortunate mistake of the Israeli intelligence and faulty communication between the two nations. Israel was in a state of war with its neighbors and the vessel was thought to be an Egyptian warship. No American ship was known to be in the vicinity. The United States forgave Israel for that tragic mistake, but the issue has not disappeared. Some are still claiming it was an intentional attack, and several books have been published attempting to show that it was an Israeli conspiracy. A. Jay Cristol, a federal judge and a former naval aviator, after studying tapes, pictures and interviews with all relevent people, reached the conclusion that the attack was a case of accidental "friendly fire." After more than twelve years of diligent research, he published The Liberty Incident: The 1967 Israeli Attack on the U.S. Navy Spy Ship, in which he proved the conclusion he has reached. This book is a true example of what research is all about-- facts and not baseless accusation.

Excellent Analysis

Cristol has written a thorough analysis of a tragic mistake. The book is detailed yet exciting. He presents the incident from many points of view and lets the reader really understand what happened.As you read the book you step from fighter pilot to military commander to politician to attacker to defender. As you see the tragedy unfold, each point of view only sees their personal experience.Cristol pulls all of this together and the reader sees the events unfold in the greater context. He provides the reader the proverbial fly on the wall point of view.Cristol's unparalleled access to all those involved has created not only a thorough historical account but an intriguing and enjoyable novel. For those hung up on details, the book is extensively footnoted and all relevant sources are disclosed. While one has to sympathize deeply with the brave men who lost there lives on that fateful day, the myriad of conspiracy theories are shown to be without merit. If you want a book that is well researched, objective and well written, this is it.
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