Spent the last couple of weeks reading Academy Chicago Publishing's Sharon: Israel's Warrior-Politician. The book is approximately 520 pages long, of which approximately 100 pages covers Ariel Sharon's life through 1980. Another 100 pages covers 1980 to the early 90s. And 300+ pages covering the period from the start of the Oslo accords. I learned a lot in that 200 pages.
But not enough. Essentially, this biography is crap. It's a re-hash of newspaper accounts and a little bit mixed in that is stolen from other biographers. Even presuming that the biographer wanted to stick scrupulously to Sharon's public life, there is so much more material that could be covered. Israel's invasion of Egypt in the 1950s, a subject I had never heard of before reading this. I would love to know more about Sharon's role. Unfortunately, if it didn't appear in a newspaper account, we're not going to read about it here. From reading this book, Sharon is just another relatively minor character in Israel's war of independence in 1948, and in the 1967 war and the 1973 Yom Kippur war. Except that he wasn't. He was one of the most important commanders in the first war and the guerrilla fighting that ensued. There ought to be a lot in the public record (though maybe not newspapers) about the tactics he developed, the discipline he instilled, and the politics he played. In later years, after he retired from the I.D.F. and became a farmer (though he was in the I.D.F. reserve for years even after that), there ought to be a ton in the public record about the farm and his business. He held numerous cabinet posts from the late 1970s onward, yet other than his dealing with the Palestinian issue in these posts, this book is silent.
I was hoping to get an idea of what made Sharon tick. Will have to continue to look.