This fast-paced, non-fiction account of the long unsolved murder of a former war hero turned Israeli diplomat, Joe Alon, (aka Jospeh Placzek) is filled with intrigue, deception and conspiracy theories. I was reading several other books at the same time, as I am wont to do, but once I started this one, the others languished on the table as this story consumed me and I concentrated on it, to the exclusion of all else. It is a case of the truth being stranger than fiction. Can he have been a double agent? Was there a cover up of his murder or was it truly unsolvable at the time? There are many mysteries dealt with in this short book, as we are taken from from Brno, Czechoslavakia to Israel and finally to the United States. All of the intervening wars, including the history of Israel and the Middle East conflict, are outlined and somewhat explored in the process. It is a clear and concise explanation that is easily understood and absorbed.
Beginning with the murder of Joseph Alon, in 1973, a tale of intrigue which spans decades is born. Tracing back through the history of this unique man and his family, we are taken from the tragedy of the Holocaust to Israel’s war for independence and right up to the present day. We learn what made him successful and what motivated him to do the things he did. His courage was often tested and his piloting skills in the Israeli Air Force were legend. He was a major force in Israel’s defense forces. He loomed large, once discovered, in the Palestinian terror network. Did politics, international relations and clandestine operations prevent the details of his murder from being explored and solved in a timely fashion? Why was his family kept in the dark about the circumstances surrounding his death?
This is a well written book whose pages turn themselves. You will not be bored as you trace the history of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, through the life of this unusual hero or was he??? There are so many variables that one wonders if the whole story behind his murder can ever truly be resolved? The conjecture surrounding the secrets and ploys of various governments and their enemies create plots that rival those of a modern day spy novel. The subterfuge surrounding the secret deals between different organizations is often unfathomable. In the end, you will turn the final page with more knowledge about the event than you had before but you will still wonder about what to believe regarding the mysterious death of Joseph Alon. It is a true life tale of espionage.
If you would like further information, some can be found here: http://www.the-two-malcontents.com/2007/07/papers-shed-light-on-col-yosef-joe-alons-murder/ and here: http://www.haaretz.com/news/discovery-of-cia-tip-on-israeli-envoy-s-killer-could-revive-1973-case-1.224465 and here: http://lahavnet.co.il/joalon/eng/pilot.htm