Thirteen Days in September: Carter, Begin, and Sadat at Camp David.

Position:Book review




Thirteen Days in September

Carter, Begin, and Sadat at Camp David

By Lawrence Wright

New Yorker staff writer Lawrence Wright is the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11 (**** Nov/Dec 2006) and Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison on Belief (***1/2 Mar/ Apr 2013), among other books. Thirteen Days in September recounts the 1978 Egypt-Israeli Camp David peace accord.

THE TOPIC: "From the beginning of his presidency, [Jimmy] Carter had been persuaded that God wanted him to be an instrument for bringing peace to the Middle East," Lawrence Wright asserts in his chronicle of the American president's efforts to resolve the longstanding animosity between Egypt and Israel. Beginning on September 5, 1978, the peace summit organized by Carter at Camp David brought together Egypt's Anwar Sadat and Israel's Menachem Begin. Neither was an innocent in the fight, and an agreement that Carter thought might take three days was dead in the water on more than one occasion. Still, after two weeks (during which many of advisors on both sides brought to the wilds of Maryland nearly went stir crazy), a peace of sorts was brokered and, in a memorable ceremony in Washington on March 26, 1979, signed.

Knopf. 368 pages. $27.95. ISBN: 9780385352031

Cleveland Plain Dealer ****1/2

"[Wright] remains an effortless prose stylist, writing with consistent precision and lucidity.... Against the relentless backdrop of anarchies and brutalities that seem to frame the current landscape of the Middle East, Wright's book is a simple reminder that hope--even against massive odds, even, it seems, in the face of history itself--is still conceivable." EARL PIKE

NY Times Book Review ***1/2

"In his minute-by-minute account of the talks Wright intersperses a concise history of Egyptian-Israeli relations dating from the story of Exodus.... [He] makes a masterly case that it is time we gave Jimmy Carter full credit for all the lives his inspired diplomacy saved." JOE KLEIN

Los Angeles Times ****

"Much of Thirteen Days details the fractured personal and public histories that brought Carter, Begin and Sadat to power and eventually to Camp David. And it portrays the negotiations themselves as a tense series of meetings between powerful men who whined, pouted and screamed to get their way." HECTOR TOBAR

Minneapolis Star Tribune ****

"Thirteen Days in September ... provides a splendid and suspenseful account of...

To continue reading