Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Man of War and Peace Detailed Sharon Biography Fails to Deliver a Clear Portrait

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Man of War and Peace Detailed Sharon Biography Fails to Deliver a Clear Portrait

Article excerpt

"ARIK: THE LIFE OF ARIEL SHARON"

By David Landau, Knopf ($35)

Its dust jacket hails "Arik," published this month, as "the first in-depth, comprehensive biography of Ariel Sharon, the most dramatic and imposing Israeli political and military leader of the last 40 years."

Comprehensive it certainly is, and author David Landau's timing is fortuitous. Sharon died Saturday at age 85. Born Feb. 26, 1928, in Kfar Malal in central Israel to parents of Russian Jewish descent, Ariel Sharon (originally, Scheinerman) joined the Haganah, the underground Jewish army during the British Mandate, at age 14. He fought bravely in the war of independence and joined the Israel Defense Forces after creation of the state of Israel in 1948.

Sharon remained in the IDF until 1973, rising to the rank of major general. In 1953, he founded and commanded Unit 101, a commando unit charged with launching retaliatory strikes against Palestinian terrorists. He commanded a brigade of paratroopers in the 1956 Arab-Israeli War, and an armored division in the 1967 war.

Sharon's greatest military triumph came when he took his armored division across the Suez Canal during the 1973 Yom Kippur War, cutting off the Egyptian Third Army and forcing Egypt to sue for peace.

A national hero as a result of that daring action, Sharon went into politics. He helped found the right-wing Likud Party and became defense minister in the government of Menachem Begin in 1981.

As defense minister, Sharon designed and presided over the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 1982. He was forced to resign a year later when Lebanese militias allied with the Israelis massacred hundreds of Palestinians in the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps. …

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