Mitla Pass

by Leon Uris

Book, 1988



Call number




New York : Doubleday, c1988.


Writer Gideon Zadok leaves the glitter of Hollywood for the newly created State of Israel, where he learns much about himself and love on a dangerous military operation he covers as a war correspondent.

User reviews

LibraryThing member gypsysmom
I usually really like Leon Uris's books but this is the second one that I have read recently that didn't seem as high a caliber as his earlier books.

Gideon is an American Jewish writer who served as a Marine in World War II. Coincidentally, Leon Uris was a Marine in World War II and saw battle in
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the same places as Gideon. Is this autobiography posing as fiction? I suspect it is although I don't know that Uris was at Mitla Pass.
In 1956 Gideon is present in Israel when the Suez Crisis erupts. As a Jewish American he has been given many privileges by the Israeli government. He is also the lover of Prime Minister Ben-Gurion's secretary, Natasha. Gideon is given the opportunity to go with the Lions (an elite military unit) to close off Mitla Pass so the Egyptians can't get through to the Sinai. Although he has never jumped out of a plane before he decides to go. He lands badly and hurts his hip. He could have been evacuated with other injured soldiers but he elects to stay and during the several days the Lions are holed up outside of Mitla Pass he reviews his life and his family's history. The Lions wait for Colonel Zechariah to lead his troops to them so they can be assured of defeating the Egyptians. Interestingly, Wikipedia reveals that Colonel Zechariah in the book is Ariel Sharon in reality.

There is lots of interesting stuff here but I felt it jumped around too much. One chapter might be in 1956, the next 1949, the next 1910 and then maybe back to 1956 briefly before delving into the First World War. There was also a number of different narrators besides Gideon which made the book seem disjointed. I also found Gideon to be a non-sympathetic character because of his treatment of his wife Val. He says he regrets cheating on Val but he continues to see Natasha. He says he is upfront with Val but then he sneaks off to a hotel room with Natasha. I suspect that Uris was a womanizer and this comes out in Gideon. I've lost some of the respect I always felt for Uris but his novel about the Warsaw uprising, Mila 18, is still one of my favourite books.
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Original publication date



0385187920 / 9780385187923
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