In September 1978, William Quandt, a member of the White House National Security Council staff, spent thirteen momentous days at Camp David, the presidential retreat in Maryland, where three world leaders were holding secret negotiations. When U.S. President Jimmy Carter, Egyptian President Anwar Sadat, and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin emerged on September 17, they announced a monumental accomplishment: the first peace agreement between Israel and one of its Arab neighbors.
Praised by some for laying the foundations for peace between Egypt and Israel, the Camp David Accords have also been criticized for failing to achieve a comprehensive settlement, including a resolution of the Palestinian question. But supporters and critics alike recognize the importance of what happened at Camp David, and both groups acknowledge the vital role played by the United States in reaching an agreement.
There are few eyewitness accounts of the Camp David negotiations. Of the three leaders present, only Jimmy Carter wrote specifically of the talk in Keeping Faith: Memoirs of a President (1982). Neither Sadat nor Begin ever wrote about Camp David.
Quandt's book is not only an eyewitness account but a scholar's reconstruction of the event, with insights into the people, politics, and policies. His Camp David has provided a comprehensive and lasting guide to the difficult negotiations surrounding the talks, including the fraught scenario leading up to the meetings at the presidential retreat and the talks and accord that would lead to Sadat and Begin jointly receiving the 1978 Nobel Peace Prize.
William B. Quandt is an American scholar, author, and professor emeritus at the University of Virginia, USA and former senior fellow in Foreign Policy at the Brookings Institution. During the Nixon and Carter administrations, he served on the staff of the National Security Council and was deeply involved in the first Camp David negotiations, which led to the Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty in 1979.