Publication Date: February 24, 2009
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Beaufort. To the handful of Israeli soldiers occupying the ancient crusader fortress, it is a little slice of hell—a forbidding, fear-soaked enclave perched atop two acres of land in southern Lebanon, surrounded by an enemy they cannot see. And to the thirteen young men in his command, twenty-one-year-old Lieutenant Liraz “Erez” Liberti is a taskmaster, confessor, and the only hope in the face of attacks that come out of nowhere and of missions seemingly designed to get them all killed. But in their stony haven, Erez and his soldiers have created their own little world, their own rules, their own language. And here Erez listens to his men build castles out of words, telling stories, telling lies, talking incessantly of women, sex, and dead comrades. Until, in the final days of the occupation, Erez and his squad of fed-up, pissed-off, frightened young soldiers are given one last order: a mission that will shatter all remaining illusions—and stand as a testament to the universal, gut-wrenching futility of war.
The basis for the Academy Award-nominated film of the same name.
Ron Leshem is deputy director in charge of programming at Channel Two, Israel’s main commercial television network. Beaufort won the Sapir Prize—Israel’s top literary award—in 2006. The film version of Beaufort, which Leshem coauthored with director Joseph Cedar, won the Berlin International Film Festival’s Silver Bear for Best Director. Leshem lives in Tel Aviv and is at work on his second novel.
"Evocative, heartbreaking and haunting ... [Israel's] "Red Badge of Courage." Because Leshem, like Stephen Crane, never saw combat, this is not a work of autobiography or observations but one of empathy and reconstruction—and all the stronger for that because the author has deployed both qualities without judgment. Beaufort is that rare thing, a novel of deep moral concern in which sympathetically drawn and beautifully realized characters are allowed to speak for themselves."—Los Angeles Times
“Thirteen young soldiers spring to life with voices at once self-critical and brash, tender and darkly flippant…. Though firsthand accounts and combat memoirs line the shelves of bookstores, Leshem's fiction rivals them in the completeness of his cosmos of war.”—San Francisco Chronicle
“Ron Leshem has succeeded in creating an entire world, simply through language.”—David Grossman, author of The Yellow Wind
“A gripping, viscerally powerful tale.... An alternately grim and blackly comic war/coming-of-age novel.”—Kirkus Reviews
“An important novel…. This is a picture of war from a soldier's point of view. Its language is crude, the body count rises, and yet the tenderness of the bonds among the men is extraordinary.”—Library Journal, starred review
“Beaufort is that rare thing, a novel of deep moral concern in which sympathetically drawn and beautifully realized characters are allowed to speak for themselves.” —Chicago Tribune
“A book we couldn’t put down.” —Penthouse