The Attack on the Liberty: The Untold Story of Israel's Deadly 1967 Assault on a U.S. Spy Ship

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Simon and Schuster, Jun 2, 2009 - History - 374 pages
3 Reviews
On June 8, 1967, as war raged between Israel and its neighbors, an American spy ship, the U.S.S. Liberty, eavesdropped on communications off the coast of Egypt. When Israeli fighter jets flew overhead, the Liberty's crew assumed that the ship's identifying markings and American flag would be visible to the pilots in the clear skies above. After several passes over a period of hours, the jets suddenly opened fire and began strafing and napalming the deck of the Liberty, which had minimal defenses. When the air attack ended, Israeli torpedo boats appeared and scored a direct hit. By the time the assault was over, 34 crewmen had been killed and 171-two-thirds of the crew-seriously injured. Only heroic efforts by the crew saved the ship from sinking.

Back in Washington, news of the attack on the Liberty was received with a mixture of shock and outrage. Many in the Pentagon and in Congress demanded that Israel be held accountable for the unprovoked attack in international waters. The Johnson administration initially responded by threatening Israel but soon softened its attitude. Israel's stunning victory in the Six-Day War, as it became known, was a source of pride to many American Jews, and their support was crucial to an administration mired in an increasingly unpopular war in Vietnam. With the death toll mounting daily in Vietnam, the attack on the Liberty was pushed to the back pages of the nation's newspapers and ultimately all but forgotten.

James Scott is a journalist and the son of a surviving Liberty officer. In this riveting book, he recounts the story of the horrifying attack and the tremendous impact it had on the lives of the crew. He puts the attack in context, showing how political considerations trumped the demands for justice from the survivors and their supporters in the military and in Congress. Drawing on new interviews and recently declassified documents, he demonstrates that Israel's initial insistence that the attack was a mistake caused by misidentification of the ship is implausible.

Scott documents, for the first time, the fact that the ship was correctly identified by at least one of the pilots prior to the attacks. His descriptions of the crew under fire and their frantic work to save the ship are dramatic and unforgettable. Scott takes readers into the conference rooms at the White House where the most senior officials in the government debated how to respond to the attack and then eventually devised a plan to protect Israel from public outrage.

The Attack on the Liberty is the finest account yet of this tragedy and a remarkable tale of men under fire in an incident that remains bitterly disputed after more than forty years.

 

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User Review  - DeaconBernie - LibraryThing

This describes a most exasperating moment in U.S. History. Nobody, but nobody, who followed this story as it happened, could not have failed to be at least highly suspicious of the explanations. This ... Read full review

THE ATTACK ON THE LIBERTY

User Review  - dieharddeadhead - Overstock.com

I ORDERED THIS BOOK IN APRIL WITH A SHIPDATE OF JULY 1. AS PROMISED IT ARRIVED JULY12. IT IS NICE TO HAVE SUCH DEPENDABLE SERVICE FOR ONLY $2.95 AN ORDER. Read full review

Contents

Section 1
1
Section 2
9
Section 3
22
Section 4
36
Section 5
51
Section 6
67
Section 7
87
Section 8
100
Section 14
190
Section 15
199
Section 16
208
Section 17
226
Section 18
238
Section 19
249
Section 20
269
Section 21
285

Section 9
113
Section 10
131
Section 11
142
Section 12
153
Section 13
167
Section 22
289
Section 23
291
Section 24
293
Section 25
355
Copyright

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About the author (2009)

James Scott is an award-winning reporter. He was named Journalist of the Year by the South Carolina Press Association in 2003 and was a Nieman Fellow at Harvard University in 2006-2007. He lives with his wife and daughter in Charleston, South Carolina.

Bibliographic information