This book is both a personal account of my experiences as an Irgun fighter and a discussion of the political and military campaign for Jerusalem during the 1948 War of Independence.
The first part of the book deals with the events of 1930s in Palestine, as seen through the eyes of a child and young boy who was born and grew up in the country. Arab pogroms against the Jews, and the British obstruction of immigration and of the development of the Yishuv (Jewish community in Palestine) impelled me to join the Irgun Zvai Leumi (known as IZL or Irgun). I describe my experiences in the Irgun, first as a new recruit and then as a fighter and commander in the Fighting Force. I describe in detail mainly those operations in which I played an active part, and hence this book should not be regarded as a comprehensive history of the Irgun.
After protracted struggle against the united forces of the Irgun, the Lehi and the Haganah, the British finally evacuated the country in 1948, leaving a scene of total chaos in their wake. They left Jerusalem, their last bastion, on May 14, 1948; the following day Arab armies invaded Palestine with the aim of liquidating the Yishuv and preventing the establishment of a Jewish state.
The second part of the book deals with the battle for Jerusalem. In describing the fighting in the city, I go into considerable detail when recounting the battle for the Arab village of Deir Yassin. With the aid of eyewitness testimony and hitherto unpublished archival documents, I refute the accepted myth that a massacre took place there.
In order to understand the course of events in the battles for the city, one has to be familiar with the policy devised by the leaders of the Yishuv at that time. It appears that the Jewish Agency, and later the provisional government of Israel, led by David Ben-Gurion, sought to solve the Jerusalem problem by partitioning the city. According to their plan, only the western part of Jerusalem would be part of the State of Israel, while the eastern sector, including the Old City, would form part of the Arab State. I believe that this explains why, throughout the War of Independence, no serious attempt was made to liberate the Old City and eastern Jerusalem from the Arab Legion (the army of Jordan).