This is the true story of the greatest special forces' operation of the 20th Century and the first shot in the West's long war against international terrorism. It is a tale of human drama and unbearable tension in which courage, comradeship, fanaticism, incompetence and luck all play their part.
'The definitive work on the subject....This is the achievement of a masterly, first-rate historian' New York Times Book Review
'It's a brilliantly orchestrated book, wonderfully rich in detail, but at the same time roaring along at a heart-thumping pace...' Mail on Sunday
'A brilliant, breathless account that reads like the plot of an action movie.' Sunday Telegraph
On 3 July 1976 Israeli Special Forces carried out a daring raid to free more than a hundred Israeli, French and US hostages held by German and Palestinian terrorists at Entebbe Airport, Uganda. The legacy of this mission is still felt today in the way Western governments respond to terrorist blackmail.
Codenamed Thunderbolt, the operation carried huge risks. The flight was a challenge: 2,000 miles with total radio silence over hostile territory to land in darkness at Entebbe Airport in Idi Amin's Uganda. On the ground, the Israeli commandos had just three minutes to carry out their mission. They had to evade a cordon of elite Ugandan paratroopers, storm the terminal and free more than a hundred hostages. So much could have gone wrong: the death of the hostages if the terrorists got wind of the assault; or the capture of Israel's finest soldiers if their Hercules planes could not take off. Both would have been a human and a PR catastrophe.
Now, with the mission largely forgotten or even unknown to many, Saul David gives the first comprehensive account of Operation Thunderbolt using classified documents from archives in four countries and interviews with key participants, including Israeli soldiers and politicians, hostages, a member of the Kenyan government and a former terrorist.
Both a thrilling page-turner and a major piece of historical detective work, Operation Thunderbolt shows how the outcome of Israel's most famous military operation depended on secret diplomacy, courage and luck-and was in the balance right up to the very last moment.
Long fuse. Slow burn. Big bang. A Krakatoa of a tale. - Damien Lewis, author of Operation Certain Death
Totally thrilling, totally poignant. Bringing the greatest special forces operation of modern times blazingly to life, David's book, full of new revelations, written with the excitement of an action-movie, the authority of a historian, is great drama, superb storytelling - and yet tells us much about the Middle East today. - Simon Sebag Montefiore, author of Jerusalem
Combining exceptional research with gripping storytelling, Saul David's Operation Thunderbolt is an unputdownable account of perhaps the most extraordinary Special Forces mission in history. I loved it. - Rowland White, author of 'Vulcan 607'
A brilliant, breathless account that reads like the plot of an action movie. - Sunday Telegraph
Better than fiction can ever hope to be and true to Saul David's characteristically authentic style, this breathtakingly tense and incredibly moving account of history's most audacious Special Forces operation is one of the best true stories I've ever read. Gritty, visceral and edge-of-the-seat dramatic, Operation Thunderbolt ticks all the boxes and is destined to be one of the military history classics of the decade. - Major Chris Hunter, author of Broadcaster and Former Special Forces Bomb Disposal Operator. - Major Chris Hunter, author of Eight Lives Down
Gripping... will introduce a whole new generation of readers to an extraordinary story... The climax of the rescue itself is brilliantly told; nearly 40 years on, you still heave a sigh of relief when the last when the last Hercules lifts off from the Entebbe runway and lumbers off into the night and a new daw for the hostages - and for Israel. - Jewish Chronicle
It's a brilliantly orchestrated book, wonderfully rich in detail, but at the same time roaring along at a heart-thumping pace... I embarked on this book as someone not particularly interested in the Middle East, or in adventure tales of soldiers in action; I finished it in a state of high tension, buzzing through the pages in the need to know what happened next. - Mail on Sunday
For the first time in my reading life I felt physically thrilled by a book... Wonderful. - Literary Review