Book Review

Book Review: The Last Israelis: An Apocalyptic Military Thriller about an Israeli Submarine and a Nuclear Iran

If you’re looking for an action-packed thriller with lots of naval warfare tactics, then this book is not for you. This book would’ve fared better if the author had made it a non-fiction work because the dialogues are unnatural and the characters are either annoying or forgettable. There is a submarine too, but that has been inserted just to keep things from getting boring. Granted, I now know more about types of periscopes (thermal and night-vision), passive and active sonar systems, buoy-linked antennas, sonar-jamming acoustic waves, and identification of submarine classes by listening to its propeller sounds, but I expected more from this book.

The whole point of this book is to explain the fragile geo-political peace that exists between Israel and the Arab countries. This book discusses an imaginary scenario in which the state of Israel is wiped out by a massive, co-ordinated attack by Arab countries. Firstly, it is difficult to imagine leaders of Arab countries setting aside their ideological differences and uniting but Iraq, Iran, and Turkey did create Central Treaty Organization (CENTO) in 1955. So, these things do happen and Iran’s growing aggressiveness is certainly alarming. But even if the Arab countries do come together in the future, I’m sure the state of Israel has enough defensive capabilities to thwart such an attack. And no matter what anyone says, Israel has a right to defend itself. Frederic Bastiat rightly said that “individuality, liberty and property” are the God-given rights of a human being.

The other thing I liked about this book is that the history of persecution of Jews, not only in Middle East and Germany (during the Holocaust) but also in far flung places like Russia (look up Anatoly Sharansky in Google) and Egypt (under Nasser regime in 1956), was explained rather well. All of them found refuge in Israel. Israelis have often helped non-Jewish refugees too. During the expulsion of Vietnamese in 1977, it was an Israeli freighter that picked up the SOS signals from a Vietnamese vessel lost at sea (ships from other countries ignored it) and helped the survivors re-settle in Hong Kong, then a British colony. That was a poignant tale. Nevertheless, the reason why they were persecuted could’ve been discussed a bit more. Ethnic slurs spewed by zealots could be one of the reasons. At one point, the author does mention that some people maintain that Jews are “descendants of apes and pigs”, implying that Jews are inferior to people of other races. But that’s a truckload of nonsense. Ashkenazi Jews have been known to have the highest IQs in the world.

Lastly, it made me curious about my country’s relations with Israel. Although India has a relatively good relationship with Israel, it hasn’t supported all foreign policies of successive Israeli governments. The Evolution of India’s Israel Policy seems like a good place to start.

Would I recommend this book to everyone? Probably not, but I did learn a few things. So, I gave it 3 stars.

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