Yes, “Ally”, Michael Oren’s account of his time as Israel’s ambassador to the U.S. from 2009 to 2013, is non-fiction. But it’s also one of the best thrillers I have ever read. This is all the more amazing because he’s talking about a recent period and events that I, a news junky, remember well. It takes a very talented writer to create a gripping page-turner out of events whose outcome is known.
Of course, Oren provides background, insights and details that ordinary consumers of printed and broadcast news aren’t aware of. He also includes intriguing random nuggets of information. For instance, did you know that Michelle Obama has a cousin named Capers C. Funnye who is a rabbi in Chicago? Then there is Richard Gere’s advice on how Israelis could make peace with Hamas; ‘Just invite Hamas parents over for coffee and talk about your kids’.
It’s such a good book that I feel bad that I didn’t pay for it. In fact, I only read it by accident, because friends attended a lecture by him and were given signed copies. As husband and wife they didn’t need two copies, so they gave one to me.