Surprise & the Yom Kippur War

H - Z

The focus here is on intelligence-related aspects of the Yom Kippur War. For a substantial bibliography of English-language items on the Yom Kippur War generally, see Janet L. Seymour, "The Arab-Israeli War, 1973 (Yom Kippur War)" (Maxwell AFB, AL: Air University Library, Nov. 2006):

Handel, Michael I.

1. Perception, Deception and Surprise: The Case of the Yom Kippur War. Jerusalem: Hebrew University Press, 1975.

2. "The Yom Kippur War and the Inevitability of Surprise." International Studies Quarterly, Sep. 1977: 461-502.

Hawley, Edmund S., and Bruce Reidel. Intelligence Failures in the October War. Providence, RI: Brown University, 1976.

Heikal, Mohammed. The Road to Ramadan. New York: Quadrangle, 1975. New York: Ballantine, 1976. [pb]

Herzog, Chaim. The War of Atonement: October 1973. Boston: Little, Brown, 1975. London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1975. London: Futura Publications, 1977. [pb]

Kahana, Ephraim. Ashraf Marwan: Israel's Most Valuable Spy: How the Mossad Recruited Nasser's Own Son-in-Law. Lewiston, NY: Mellon Press, 2010.

For Peake, Studies 55.3 (Sep. 2011), "[t]he really important question of Marwan's true allegiance as an agent remains unanswered." This book "is a good case summary of what is already known, nothing more."

Kahana, Ephraim. "Early Warning versus Concept: The Case of the Yom Kippur War 1973." Intelligence and National Security 17, no. 2 (Summer 2002): 81-104.

"A close examination of the case of the Yom Kippur War reveals how difficult it is to abandon a firm concept, even though it is wrong. The result in this case was that the decision-makers were not provided with early warning in due time, despite an abundance of good and relevant information."

Powell, Bill C. "Did Israeli Intelligence Fail? The October 1973 War." Military Intelligence 4 (Summer 1976): 22-27.

Rabinovich, Abraham. The Yom Kippur War: The Epic Encounter that Transformed the Middle East. New York: Schocken, 2004.

Brown, FA 83.3 (May-Jun. 2004), calls this a "big, informative book" that offers a "readable narrative." The author's "story fits with the generally accepted interpretation of the war" and "is a worthy account." For Bolia, Parameters 35.1, "[f]ive years of research and 30 years of perspective make The Yom Kippur War a much more complete account than was possible in the works ... which appeared shortly after the war's conclusion.... [T]his account is [also] superbly written." The book does have some drawbacks: There is a "dearth of maps" and the author presents "an almost uniquely Israeli perspective, due to the relative lack of Arab sources."

Richardson, Rodney C. [MAJ/USMC] "Yom Kippur War: Grand Deception or Intelligence Blunder." []

"The surprise attack was a result of actions from both sides. The Arab's intense preparation and keen use of deception, denial, and disinformation were certainly factors in their initial success. The Israelis were able to be surprised because of widespread problems in the intelligence community, the lack of perception in identifying the Arab's intentions, the allowance for distractors to take them away from their real enemy, and the high regard for their own military ability."

Rip, Michael Russell. "Military Photo-Reconnaissance during the Yom Kippur War: A Research Note." Intelligence and National Security 7, no. 2 (Apr. 1992): 126-132.

Rip, Michael Russell, and Joseph F. Fontanella. "A Window on the Arab-Israeli 'Yom Kippur' War of October 1973: Military Photo-Reconnaissance from High Altitude and Space." Intelligence and National Security 6, no. 1 (Jan. 1991): 15-89.

Safran, Nadav. "Trial by Ordeal: The Yom Kippur War, October 1973." International Security 2, no. 2 (Fall 1977): 133-170.

Calder finds that this article provides an "especially insightful discussion."

Sheffy, Yigal. "Overcoming Strategic Weakness: The Egyptian Deception and the Yom Kippur War." Intelligence and National Security 21, no. 5 (Oct. 2006): 809-828.

The success of the Egyptian deception "can be attributed to it being unpretentious, sober, realistic and synchronized [intentionally or not] with its environment." The "greatest benefit" to Egypt "was retardation of any cognitive transformation among Israeli decision-makers. In consequence, the IDF's military response was delayed to a date that was, by itself, irrelevant to Egypt's war aims."

Shiels, Frederick L. Preventable Disasters: Why Governments Fail. Savage, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 1991.

Seymour: "Israel's October Surprise: The 1973 War as a Case Study of a Preventable Disaster, pp 17-54."

Shlaim, Avi. "Failures in National Estimates: The Case of the Yom Kippur War." World Politics 28, no. 3 (Apr. 1976): 348-80.

Stein, Janice Gross.

1. "'Intelligence' and 'Stupidity' Reconsidered: Estimation and Decision in Israel, 1973." Journal of Strategic Studies 3 (Sep. 1980): 147-177.

2. "Military Deception, Strategic Surprise and Analysis of Egypt and Israel 1971-1973." In Military Deception and Strategic Surprise, eds. John Gooch and Amos Perlmutter, 94-121. London: Frank Cass, 1982.

Zeira, Eli. "Israel's Intelligence Failure of 1973: New Evidence, a New Interpretation, and Theoretical Implications." Security Studies 4, no. 3 (Spring 1995): 584-609.


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