One Day in September

The Full Story of the 1972 Munich Olympics Massacre and the Israeli Revenge Operation "Wrath of God"

About The Book

At 4:30 a.m. on September 5, 1972, a band of Palestinian terrorists took eleven Israeli athletes and coaches hostage at the Summer Olympics in Munich. More than 900 million viewers followed the chilling, twenty-hour event on television, as German authorities desperately negotiated with the terrorists. Finally, late in the evening, two helicopters bore the terrorists and their surviving hostages to Munich's little-used Fürstenfeldbruck airfield, where events went tragically awry. Within minutes all of the Israeli athletes, five of the terrorists, and one German policeman were dead.

Why did the rescue mission fail so miserably? And why were the reports compiled by the German authorities concealed from the public for more than two decades? Reeves takes on a catastrophe that permanently shifted the political spectrum with a fast-paced narrative that covers the events detail by detail. Based on years of exhaustive research, One Day in September is the definitive account of one of the most devastating and politically explosive tragedies of the late twentieth century, one that set the tone for nearly thirty years of renewed conflict in the Middle East.

About The Author

Simon Reeve is a bestselling author and an award-winning television presenter. His book The New Jackals: Ramzi Yousef, Osama bin Laden and the Future of Terrorism, which warned of apocalyptic terrorist attacks, was the first in the world on bin Laden and al Qaeda. Originally published in 1998, it has been a New York Times bestseller. He is based in the UK, but has spent the last few years traveling around the world filming award-winning BBC travel documentaries.

Product Details

  • Publisher: Arcade (September 25, 2018)
  • Length: 336 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781628729221

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Raves and Reviews

"Highly skilled and detailed . . . it's a page-turner. As the rest of the world looked on in horror and amazement, the hostage crisis played itself out as a sinister comedy of ineptitude, a moral and military disaster whose ironies, to this day, are almost too excruciating to bear." —New Yorker

"The 1972 Munich Olympics were dubbed 'the Games of Peace and Joy.' But following 24 hours of mismanagement and murder, that dream had died. Here, at last, is the full story." —Esquire

"A gripping account." —Times of London

"This astonishing record of the massacre at the Munich Olympics should be compulsory reading . . . I read in one sitting the gripping narrative." —Daily Mail

"Simon Reeve, a journalist who specializes in the history of terrorism, was just a few months old in September 1972, but achieves the considerable feat of retelling the details of the massacre and its aftermath as if he were a witness. His account is rounded and frequently gripping. Very moving testimony." —Financial Times

"For the first time, hostages, terrorists and German police tell the extraordinary story of the day in Munich that all but extinguished the Olympic flame." —Observer

"Simon Reeve pulls off another master stroke." —Village Voice (New York)

"A splendid, disturbing, and gripping account . . . stands among the best of its kind." —Publishers Weekly, Starred Review

"[A] brilliant investigation into the Olympics' darkest day. This book, which brilliantly recaptures the tension of the day as well as the human cost of the botched police operation, is a masterclass in investigative journalism." —International Herald Tribune

"The strength of Reeve's book is that it starts before the beginning. It details not only the crisis itself, but also the historical background that led to the crisis. It is an important book, a thorough primer on the origins of the Israeli-Palestinian standoff. It does not provide excuses for the terrorists, but it does provide context. Reeve reconstructs the day moment-by-moment." —Chicago Tribune

"[A] controversial, engrossing new account of the slaughter. The governments of Israel and Germany have criticized Reeve's book for exposing state secrets; he may have done so, but he avoids passing judgement on any one group. Instead he tries to show why the countries and people involved felt compelled to act the way they did, even when their actions led to horrible consequences."—Time Out New York

"Fascinating . . . a gripping account which reads like a thriller. Reeve is a very thorough investigator, and the book encompasses German archives, news programs, quotes, decisions, and international reactions."—Jewish Book World

"A gripping, often moving, account of the bloodiest sports day on record."—Jewish Chronicle

"Reeve's research reads as slickly as a good thriller. Unlike the documentary, the book has more room to recreate the Munich Olympics massacre in a context stretching back to King David. It's hard to believe there'll be a more definitive account." —Sunday Herald

"Powerful . . . recounts in horrifying detail the tragedy that claimed the lives of 11 Israelis. One Day in September describes the savagery of the 'Black September' Palestinian terrorists and the monumental ineptitude of the German forces that tried to rescue the hostages at Fürstenfeldbruck airport." —Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

"This is an important book. It helps us understand what really happened in Munich, what went so tragically wrong at the airfield. It helps us understand why Middle East peace is so fragile, so elusive. It helps us understand why Israel refused to negotiate with the terrorists. And why, in an incredible operation named 'Wrath of God,' the key people involved in the Munich slaughter were hunted down by Israeli secret agents and killed." —Philadelphia Daily News

"Written with all the pace of a thriller, this is a genuinely moving account of one of the most tragic, and shameful, episodes of recent history. Excellent."—Birmingham Post

"The Munich Games should have been a showpiece, a symbol of Germany's rehabilitation in the democratic world. They should have provided new images for Munich, the city close to Dachau and closely identified with the Holocaust and the murder of six million Jews. But everything went wrong for the new Munich and the new Germany as the world watched Jews suffering once again on German soil. Reeve tells the sad and human story of the trauma that has continued to haunt the families of the Israelis killed in Munich." —Irish Times

"Highly skilled and detailed . . . it's a page-turner. As the rest of the world looked on in horror and amazement, the hostage crisis played itself out as a sinister comedy of ineptitude, a moral and military disaster whose ironies, to this day, are almost too excruciating to bear." —New Yorker

"The 1972 Munich Olympics were dubbed 'the Games of Peace and Joy.' But following 24 hours of mismanagement and murder, that dream had died. Here, at last, is the full story." —Esquire

"A gripping account." —Times of London

"This astonishing record of the massacre at the Munich Olympics should be compulsory reading . . . I read in one sitting the gripping narrative." —Daily Mail

"Simon Reeve, a journalist who specializes in the history of terrorism, was just a few months old in September 1972, but achieves the considerable feat of retelling the details of the massacre and its aftermath as if he were a witness. His account is rounded and frequently gripping. Very moving testimony." —Financial Times

"For the first time, hostages, terrorists and German police tell the extraordinary story of the day in Munich that all but extinguished the Olympic flame." —Observer

"Simon Reeve pulls off another master stroke." —Village Voice (New York)

"A splendid, disturbing, and gripping account . . . stands among the best of its kind." —Publishers Weekly, Starred Review

"[A] brilliant investigation into the Olympics' darkest day. This book, which brilliantly recaptures the tension of the day as well as the human cost of the botched police operation, is a masterclass in investigative journalism." —International Herald Tribune

"The strength of Reeve's book is that it starts before the beginning. It details not only the crisis itself, but also the historical background that led to the crisis. It is an important book, a thorough primer on the origins of the Israeli-Palestinian standoff. It does not provide excuses for the terrorists, but it does provide context. Reeve reconstructs the day moment-by-moment." —Chicago Tribune

"[A] controversial, engrossing new account of the slaughter. The governments of Israel and Germany have criticized Reeve's book for exposing state secrets; he may have done so, but he avoids passing judgement on any one group. Instead he tries to show why the countries and people involved felt compelled to act the way they did, even when their actions led to horrible consequences."—Time Out New York

"Fascinating . . . a gripping account which reads like a thriller. Reeve is a very thorough investigator, and the book encompasses German archives, news programs, quotes, decisions, and international reactions."—Jewish Book World

"A gripping, often moving, account of the bloodiest sports day on record."—Jewish Chronicle

"Reeve's research reads as slickly as a good thriller. Unlike the documentary, the book has more room to recreate the Munich Olympics massacre in a context stretching back to King David. It's hard to believe there'll be a more definitive account." —Sunday Herald

"Powerful . . . recounts in horrifying detail the tragedy that claimed the lives of 11 Israelis. One Day in September describes the savagery of the 'Black September' Palestinian terrorists and the monumental ineptitude of the German forces that tried to rescue the hostages at Fürstenfeldbruck airport." —Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

"This is an important book. It helps us understand what really happened in Munich, what went so tragically wrong at the airfield. It helps us understand why Middle East peace is so fragile, so elusive. It helps us understand why Israel refused to negotiate with the terrorists. And why, in an incredible operation named 'Wrath of God,' the key people involved in the Munich slaughter were hunted down by Israeli secret agents and killed." —Philadelphia Daily News

"Written with all the pace of a thriller, this is a genuinely moving account of one of the most tragic, and shameful, episodes of recent history. Excellent."—Birmingham Post

"The Munich Games should have been a showpiece, a symbol of Germany's rehabilitation in the democratic world. They should have provided new images for Munich, the city close to Dachau and closely identified with the Holocaust and the murder of six million Jews. But everything went wrong for the new Munich and the new Germany as the world watched Jews suffering once again on German soil. Reeve tells the sad and human story of the trauma that has continued to haunt the families of the Israelis killed in Munich." —Irish Times

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