A brief review of Bibi: My Story
Benjamin Netanyahu's book was really good in the beginning. His life's story, and that of his family, is interesting and compelling. His early military career was also fascinating; he was very young and served as a commando in "the Unit" from age 18 to 23, and was almost immediately called back to duty for another year for the Yom Kippur War.
Bibi's older brother, Yoni, was a founding member of the Unit and was killed in the famous Israeli raid on Entebbe, Uganda, in a hostage rescue mission in 1976. He is an Israeli national hero.
The story of Israel is intertwined with his own family's. Again, very compelling.
The rest of the book covers Netanyahu's political career. I was disappointed to learn that Israel's politics is cutthroat and partisan. I would have thought that a country whose existence always seems to be precarious would not have the space for political brinkmanship. In retrospect, however, passions must run high in a place that faces so many challenges. Still, it was disappointing to learn of the faux scandals and - in Netanyahu's persuasive telling - petty maneuvering by his political opponents.
The biggest turnoff for me was Netanyahu's assessments of his policy initiatives. His policies were always right and his accomplishments were always brilliant. His opponents were always shortsighted and self-serving, and described derisively as "leftists" and "the Left".
Overall though, an enjoyable read. I learned a lot. And I've picked up Will Durant's first volume of his The Story of Civilization opus because Netanyahu praised it. He also described an awkward meeting with a Chinese diplomat until he mentioned Durant. The diplomat was also a big fan of Durant's work, and the two hit it off from that point onwards.