Days of Lead: Defying Death During Israel’s War of Independence

Moshe Rashkes, trans. from the Hebrew by Arik Rashkes. Apollo, $16.99 trade paper (208p) ISBN 978-1-948062-91-6
Originally published in Israel in 1962, this searing memoir recounts Rashkes’s experiences on the front lines of Israel’s War of Independence in 1948 and his severe wounding in a battle outside Jerusalem. In the opening scene, an 18-year-old Rashkes kills an enemy soldier by beating him over the head with a grenade: “The grenade in my hand was red. Blood dripped from it. The warm touch of the blood made me even more insane.” Later, Rashkes describes firing at the enemy with a machine gun:“A man straightened up, clasped his chest, stood stoutly, then sank down. The clasped hands fell to his sides in a rapid, staccato movement, as if they belonged to a mechanical doll whose spring had run down.” Occasionally, the book’s constricted viewpoint expands to include Rashkes’s poetic appreciation of the natural world and the gallows humor of his fellow soldiers, but the mood throughout is overwhelmingly bleak: “No, there was no salvation from heaven. The machine gun was the only thing I trusted.” Though Rashkes’s impressionistic style successfully evokes the chaos and terror of combat, readers less familiar with the events described will wish for more historical context. Still, this is a powerful portrait of what it feels like to go to war. (Sept.)
Reviewed on : 06/10/2021
Release date: 08/01/2021
Genre: Nonfiction
Hardcover - 208 pages - 978-1-948062-02-2
Open Ebook - 978-1-365-71123-7
Paperback - 184 pages - 978-1-365-71321-7
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