Departures Podcast featuring Uri Kaufman, author of ‘Eighteen Days in October: The Yom Kippur War and How It Changed the Modern Middle East’

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In October of 1973, Israel’s existence as an independent state was shaken to its core when Egyptian and Syrian forces crossed into the Sinai Peninsula and Golan Heights, triggering a conflict of sprawling geopolitical scale. This week, in October of 2023, following an unprecedented series of violent terror attacks against Israel by the Palestinian group Hamas, the nation once again finds itself in existential crisis – with similarities to the past conflict too numerous to ignore.

Five decades later, public understanding of the conflict, its causes, and its protagonists is evolving as more and more materials and archives are declassified and made available to researchers. Taking advantage of these incredibly valuable resources comes the first new book on the Yom Kippur War in decades, authored by Uri Kaufman, titled, “Eighteen Days in October: The Yom Kippur War and How It Created the Modern Middle East.”

Speaking with Robert Amsterdam on the Departures podcast, Kaufman explains how the book represents a culmination of 20 years of research, including deep dives into English, Hebrew, Arabic, Russian, and German archival source material to draw exceedingly detailed and unforgettable portraits of the main characters who found themselves at the center of the war.

Kaufman also shares his perspective and analysis of the current turmoil and commentary on the complicated political scenario making further escalation likely. The author points out that “the first casualty of war is not truth, although that is a close second. The first casualties are the assumptions you had going into the conflict.”