Killing Rommel

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Overview

Autumn 1942. Hitler's legions have swept across Europe; France has fallen; Churchill and the English are isolated on their island. In North Africa, Rommel and his Panzers have routed the British Eighth Army and stand poised to overrun Egypt, Suez, and the oilfields of the Middle East. With the outcome of the war hanging in the balance, the British hatch a desperate plan - send a small, highly mobile, and heavily armed force behind German lines to strike the blow that will stop the Afrika Korps in its tracks. ...
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Overview

Autumn 1942. Hitler's legions have swept across Europe; France has fallen; Churchill and the English are isolated on their island. In North Africa, Rommel and his Panzers have routed the British Eighth Army and stand poised to overrun Egypt, Suez, and the oilfields of the Middle East. With the outcome of the war hanging in the balance, the British hatch a desperate plan - send a small, highly mobile, and heavily armed force behind German lines to strike the blow that will stop the Afrika Korps in its tracks. Narrated from the point of view of a young lieutenant, Killing Rommel brings to life the flair, agility, and daring of this extraordinary secret unit, the Long Range Desert Group. Stealthy and lethal as the scorpion that serves as their insignia, they live by their motto - Non Vi Sed Arte (Not by Strength, by Guile) - as they gather intelligence, set up ambushes, and execute raids. Killing Rommel chronicles the tactics, weaponry, and specialized skills needed for combat, under extreme desert conditions. And it captures the camaraderie of this "band of brothers" as they perform the acts of courage and cunning crucial to the Allies' victory in North Africa.
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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
In his first novel about modern times, Steven Pressfield spins a compelling fiction around legendary German field marshal Erwin Rommel and his would-be assassins. Targeting the famed"Desert Fox" is a British intelligence team that seeks to end his dominance of the North African desert battleground. Against the backdrop of this major war theater, "Chap" Chapman and brainy sexpot Rose McCall search for ways to terminate the masterful tank commander.
Patrick Anderson
By thus combining the true history of the war with his novelistic imagination, Pressfield has produced a splendid tour de force, one that brings to life the heroism, sacrifice, tragedy, frustration, fear and—yes—thrill of war. It should not be missed by military-history buffs or by anyone who wants a moving reminder of the bravery, ingenuity and sacrifice that ordinary men are capable of when given a cause they believe in.
—The Washington Post
Publishers Weekly

After five novels about conflict in ancient times (Gates of War, etc.), Pressfield effortlessly gives fresh life to wartime romance and the rigors of combat in a superior WWII thriller. Framed as the memoir of a British officer, the book is based on an actual British plot to assassinate the "Desert Fox," German field marshal Erwin Rommel, during late 1942 and early 1943 in North Africa. The author painstakingly sets the stage for later fireworks by charting the prewar career of R. Lawrence "Chap" Chapman, especially his relationship with the brilliant but doomed Zachary Stein, Chap's tutor and mentor at Oxford. Chap also falls in love with sexy Rose McCall, whose brains and brass later get her posted to naval intelligence in Egypt. As a young lieutenant, Chap joins the team assembled to go after Rommel. Pressfield expertly juxtaposes the personal with the historical, with authentic battle descriptions. Crisp writing carries readers through success, failure and a final face-to-face encounter with Rommel that's no less exciting for knowing the outcome. (Apr.)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Library Journal

Critically acclaimed and New York Times best-selling author Pressfield (Gates of Fire) returns with this extremely well-researched and gripping work of historical fiction that takes the form of a British officer's memoir and tells of the plot by British special forces to assassinate German field marshal Erwin Rommel in World War II North Africa. Legendary stage and screen star Alfred Molina's superb narration will keep listeners on the edge of their seats. Highly recommended for any library.
—Scott R. DiMarco

Kirkus Reviews
Based on real-life events, Pressfield's moving novel concerns the daring British and Commonwealth soldiers who challenged German General Erwin Rommel's desert forces. The story is narrated by R. Lawrence "Chap" Chapman, a minor player in the dramatic African action of World War II. As a very young British officer, barely out of his teens, the Oxford-educated Chapman was assigned to the Long Range Desert Group (LDRG), a glamorous and much sought-after posting in an outfit prizing resourcefulness and improvisation, qualities essential to surviving LDRG's ridiculously dangerous assignments. Rommel's forces in 1942 dominated Northern Africa west of Egypt. The brilliant general had the willing participation of troops, who were in awe both of his tactics and of his almost knightly approach to warfare. His success in Africa was a major obstacle to the Allied Forces who saw the coastline there as the first step to an invasion of Southern Europe. Even more dangerous, were he to take Egypt from the Brits, he would hand the Arabian oil fields to the fuel-starved Axis armies. To save Egypt, the oil fields and prevent an invasion, the Brits, under future Field Marshall Bernard Montgomery, send the units of the LDRG, including the very green Chapman, on a wild mission to kill Rommel and, with him, the German esprit de guerre. The story Pressfield (The Afghan Campaign, 2007, etc.) tells is so rich in details that it is difficult to read without good maps at the elbow, and, given the conceit of a modest man telling the whopping story, it is sometimes slow going. But it's absolutely worth sticking with for the high-definition picture of a low tech (trucks get repaired in the middle of the dunes) butvicious war, and for the breathtaking gallantry of unpretentious young men and General Rommel. There is, as a lagniappe thrown in at the end, one of the best apologies ever written on behalf of novels as a necessary art form. Brilliant, but not for the Tom Clancy set.
From the Publisher
"No one writes better historical fiction than Steven Pressfield." — Vince Flynn

 "The finest military writer alive, bar none." — Stephen Coonts

Praise for Steven Pressfield
The Afghan Campaign
“Pressfield has done it again. The Afghan Campaign is gripping . . . an intense, fun, and thought-provoking read.” —Marine Corps Gazette
The Virtues of War
“Its expert pace, its vivid detail, its bone-crushing action, and its occasional piercing insights of sad eloquence make it an absolutely gripping read.” —Seattle Times
Last of the Amazons
“Pressfield serves up not just hair-raising battle scenes . . . but many moments of valor and cowardice, lust and bawdy humor.” —Esquire
Tides of War
“Pressfield’s battlefield scenes rank with the most convincing ever written—you can almost feel the slash of sword on skin and sense the shattering mix of panic, bravery, blood lust, and despair." —USA Today
Gates of Fire
“Vivid and exciting . . . Pressfield gives the read a perspective no ancient historian offers, a soldier’s-eye view . . . remarkable.”
New York Times Book Review

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781436132589
  • Publisher: Recorded Books, LLC
  • Publication date: 6/25/2008
  • Format: Cassette

Meet the Author

STEVEN PRESSFIELD is the author of Gates of Fire, The Virtues of War, Tides of War, Last of the Amazons, and The Afghan Campaign. He lives in Los Angeles, California.

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Read an Excerpt

Killing Rommel

A Novel


By Steven Pressfield Doubleday

Copyright © 2008 Steven Pressfield
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9780385519700


1

DURING THE FINAL months of 1942 and the early weeks of 1943, it was my extraordinary fortune to take part in an operation behind enemy lines whose aim was to locate and kill Field Marshal Erwin Rommel, commander-in-chief of German and Italian forces in North Africa.

The operation—the term "raid" was never employed—was authorised by Lieutenant-General Bernard Law Montgomery, commanding Eighth Army; planned by the office of Lieutenant-Colonel John "Shan" Hackett, of G Raiding Force; and carried out by elements of Lieutenant-Colonel David Stirling's SAS, the Special Air Service, reinforced by irregular troopers of Major Vladimir Peniakoff's No. 1 Demolition Squadron, more familiarly known as Popski's Private Army, as well as officers and other ranks of the Long Range Desert Group. The operation placed its hopes of success not in firepower, since its heaviest vehicles were unarmoured one-and-a-half-ton Chevrolet trucks packing no armament bigger than .50-calibre aircraft Brownings and 20mm Breda guns, but on cunning, audacity and surprise. Attempts on Rommel's life had been made before. These, however, had struck at lightly defended rear areas, to which their target had withdrawn temporarily for rest or recuperation. The operation in which I took part aimed to strike at the heart of theGerman Afrika Korps in the field.

If this scheme sounds driven by desperation, it was. At the moment of the operation's initial planning—summer '42—Rommel and Panzerarmee Afrika had just finished routing the British Eighth Army in a series of battles in the Western Desert. German armour had driven our tanks and men across all Libya, over the Egyptian frontier, to the very gates of Alexandria. Churchill had just sacked the army's commanders. In Cairo, the code books were being burned. Rommel stood one push from Suez and the Middle East oilfields. Russia was then reeling under attack from 166 Nazi divisions. With Arab oil, Hitler's war machine could break the Red Army's back. Nor would rescue quickly come from America. The U.S. had barely entered the war; full mobilisation lay months away. The Allies were staring global defeat in the face.

Could a commando raid in North Africa make a difference? It could, the planners in Cairo believed, if it could eliminate Rommel. Rommel was the heart and soul of Axis forces in the desert. "The Jerries have no general who can replace him." This was Major Jake Easonsmith, our commander, speaking at the initial briefing. "Kill him and the beast dies."

But could such a strike succeed? It might, paradoxically, because of Rommel's own personal bravery and his audacious style of command. The Desert Fox led from the front. His mode of leadership was to place himself physically wherever the action was hottest, heedless of his own safety. "Rommel isn't reckless," declared Easonsmith. "He has simply found that in mobile warfare the commander's presence at the point of action is essential."

Rommel was notorious among his own junior officers, we were told, for materialising unannounced at forward positions, stepping down from his Fieseler Storch scout plane or his "Mammoth" Armoured Command Vehicle, occasionally from a tank or a staff car or even a motorcycle upon which he had hitched a ride. It was not exceptional for Rommel to issue orders directly to his regimental commanders or even, in the heat of the moment, to take personal command of units as small as infantry companies.

Such boldness had nearly got Rommel killed more than once. He set his plane down by accident one time amongst an Allied formation and winged away, barely, with bullets whizzing round his head. Another time he escaped capture when he ran out of fuel on the frontier wire, again amidst Commonwealth troops. Rommel was rescued a third time by the staff car carrying one of his own generals who happened, emulating his mentor, to be as far forward as Rommel was.

Rommel's trademark aggressiveness, it was hoped, could render him vulnerable to a surprise thrust. If Allied raiders could use the deep desert routes to move undetected into the German rear; if they could manoeuvre forward undiscovered; if they could fix Rommel's position . . . if a skilled and daring party could do all this, they might be able to land a blow that would change the course of the war.

***

My name is Chapman, Richmond Lawrence. In September 1942 I was a lieutenant in the 22nd Armoured Brigade, 7th Armoured Division. I was a tank officer. I commanded theoretically a "recce" (reconnaissance) troop of four A-15 Crusaders. I say theoretically because in action the turnover was so swift and violent, both from enemy fire and from mechanical breakdowns, that a troop could be down to two tanks or even one of its original kind, then reconstituted overnight with different types fresh from the repair depots—American Grants, British Crusaders, and the U.S.-built aircraft-engined Stuarts that their crews called Honeys. Likewise the men turned over. That is another story. The point for this tale is that, at that time, circumstances conspired to export me from the Armoured Division and translate me into the Long Range Desert Group.

My presence amongst this company was in a technical capacity only; I had been PTDed ("personnel temporarily detached") to the formation with an eye to assessing "the going" over which the patrols would travel—meaning the terrain's suitability on future occasion to bear tanks and heavy transport. I was by no means the first tank officer so assigned. Advisers from the Royal Armoured Corps regularly hitch-hiked on LRDG patrols for similar purposes; Royal Air Force officers did the same, scouting out potential landing grounds in the inner desert.

The mission of the Long Range Desert Group was raiding and reconnaissance in the enemy's rear. At the time I joined it, the unit operated in patrols of five or six trucks, with one officer and fifteen to twenty men. Patrols were entirely self-contained, carrying all their own petrol, water, rations, ammunition and spare parts. In addition to its own combat operations, the Long Range Desert Group conveyed spies and agents on covert assignments and provided transport and navigation for assault parties of the SAS and other commando outfits. The group's greatest joy, however, was to work "beat-ups," their slang term for attacks on enemy airfields, motor assembly areas and convoy routes.

At the time of the British retreat to Alamein in summer '42, the LRDG had been in business for almost two years. Its raids had destroyed and damaged hundreds of Axis aircraft and caused thousands of German and Italian troops to be pulled out of the front lines and redeployed to provide rear-area security. The formation had acquired a certain swashbuckling glamour. Volunteers queued by the hundreds. Getting in was no cinch, however. From one batch of seven hundred applicants, the LRDG took only twelve. Criteria for selection were less wild and woolly than one might imagine. The group was not seeking buccaneers or assassins; what its officers wanted was the solid, mature sort—the type of chap who could think for himself under pressure, work in close quarters with others, and handle extremes not only of danger but of tedium, hardship and privation. The virtues of resourcefulness, self-composure, patience, hardiness, not to mention a sense of humour, were prized as highly as those of bravery, aggressiveness, and raw martial rigour.

In this I believe the LRDG was spot on. One of the factors that has kept me until now from writing of my own combat experiences is the uneasiness I have felt about the genre of war literature. Tales of heroes, the nobility of sacrifice and so forth have always made me uneasy. They run counter to my experience. From what I've seen, the operations of war are constituted less of glorious attacks and valiant defences and more of an ongoing succession of mundane and often excruciating balls-ups. The patrol of which I write, typical of so many, achieved little heroic beyond its own survival, save at the very end, and then less by military or tactical brilliance than by luck and its protagonists' stubborn, even mulish, refusal to quit. Those actions of its men that may legitimately claim the name of gallantry came about largely from attempts at self-extrication from peril, most of which we got ourselves into by our own overzealousness, and the main of which were performed either in the heat of instinct or the frenzy of blood terror. The men who performed these heroics often could not recall them in the aftermath.

Let me say this about courage under fire. In my experience, valour in action counts for far less than simply performing one's commonplace task without cocking it up. This is by no means as simple as it sounds. In many ways, it's the most difficult thing in the world. Certainly for every glorious death memorialised in despatches, one could count twenty others that were the product of fatigue, confusion, inattention, over–or underassertion of authority, panic, timidity, hesitation, honest errors or miscalculations, mishaps and accidents, collisions, mechanical breakdowns, lost or forgotten spare parts, intelligence deficiencies, mistranslated codes, late or inadequate medical care, not to say bollocksed-up orders (or the failure to grasp and implement proper orders), misdirected fire from one's own troops or allies, and general all-around muddling, sometimes the fault of the dead trooper himself. The role of the officer, in my experience, is nothing grander than to stand sentinel over himself and his men, towards the end of keeping them from forgetting who they are and what their objective is, how to get there, and what equipment they're supposed to have when they arrive. Oh, and getting back. That's the tricky part. Such success as the Long Range Desert Group enjoyed may be credited in no small measure to the superior leadership of Colonel Ralph Bagnold and Lieutenant-Colonel Guy Prendergast, its founder and follow-on OC, for whom the applications of preparation and thoroughness far surpassed those of courage and intrepidity.

Before being seconded to the Long Range Desert Group, I served, as I said, with the 22nd Armoured Brigade of the 7th Armoured Division--the famous "Desert Rats." Our regiment was brought forward from the Delta in April and May 1942 as replacement crews during the chaos of the battles of Gazala and the Cauldron. 22nd Armoured Brigade had begun the campaign as part of 1st Armoured Division but was taken under command of 7th Armoured Division in the emergency. Her sister armoured regiments (which at that point had been reduced to composite formations) were the 3rd and 4th County of London Yeomanry and the 2nd Royal Gloucestershire Hussars. We too were a Yeomanry regiment, that is, a home formation of the Territorial Army—cavalry recently mechanised and converted to armour.

To the civilian (and to me as well, before I became familiar with them), tanks appear to be invulnerable behemoths beneath the massive bulk of their armour, their great guns, and the deafening clamour of their engines. In reality, a tank is fragile as a flower. A three-foot slit-trench can snap a track; a too-tight turn can shred the pins that link the treads. An armoured column guzzles petrol; unreplenished, it can stay in action no more than two and a half hours, less over rough going or at speed. The range of a British Matilda was seventy miles; under battle conditions, American Stuarts had to fill up every forty.

Tanks advance tethered to their B-echelon vehicles—the lorries, thin-skinners and ragtops that carry the petrol and rations, water, lubricants and ammunition without which the armoured monsters they serve become nothing but clumsy and stationary targets.

A tank depends utterly upon its supporting combat arms. Without infantry to protect its flanks and rear, to knock out anti-tank guns and to clear minefields, a tank is vulnerable to all manner of evils. Without artillery and anti-tank fire to shield it from the enemy's armour, without aircraft to sling bombs and cannon fire at the foe advancing outside its field of vision, the tank is a plum, a bull's-eye, a sitting duck. High-explosive shells can junk its suspension and tracks; armour-piercing rounds rip through its turret. Anti-tank guns can penetrate its armour at two thousand yards. In a tank, fighter planes and bombers are on top of you before you can hear them. You're deaf and blind in a tank.

The commander in a Crusader or an American Grant rides directly above the gearbox and engine, whose combined din screams at such ungodly volume that an enemy shell can explode thirty feet away and you can't even hear it. At speed over uneven ground, the tank commander bangs and lurches within the cylinder of his cupola, eyes fixed to his field glasses, ears fastened to his headset, concentrating hour after hour not only upon the flats, hummocks, ravines, wadis and dead ground of the desert on all sides of him—and of course upon the enemy manoeuvring, lurking and darting over it—but also and without let-up upon the crackling cacophony of his squadron and regimental wireless nets, over which come his orders and his relief, of which he must miss nothing, as his own life and those of his men depend on it. Then there's the heat. Captain James Mattoon, my original squadron leader and a mechanical engineer in civilian life, calculated that an external temperature of 10 degrees Celsius (50 Fahrenheit) was ideal for a tank on the move. At 10 outside, you rode at 20 inside (70 Fahrenheit). For every degree-Fahrenheit rise outside, interior temperature rose a degree and a half. Seventy out was 100 in; 90, 120. At 100 outside—and the thermometer reached and exceeded that every summer day in the desert—you were broiling inside at 135.

Still, I loved tanks. I loved the Armoured Division. What I hated, what we all abhorred, were the vain and courage-crazy tactics which obsolete doctrine and our own undergunned and underarmoured tanks compelled us to employ. While Rommel's Mark III and Mark IV Panzers advanced in self-covering leap-frogs, backed by crack motorised infantry and screens of lethal 88mm and 50mm anti-tank guns, our Crusaders, Grants and Honeys found themselves again and again on their own, isolated and exposed. Outranged by a thousand yards by the Mark IV's long-barrelled 75s (and nearly as far by the Mark IIIs), our squadrons had no alternative but to dash from one spot of cover to the next, when and if such sites could be discovered, seeking either to flank the foe or to charge at him head-on, usually across open ground, in a desperate attempt to get within gun range before he or his anti-tank screens turned us into flamers or "brew-ups." The enemy reckoned this of course and exploited it with feigned retreats, flanking manoeuvres and ambushes into which we blundered time and again.

The retreat to the Egyptian frontier in summer 1942 culminated for me in a fiasco on a sandy track alongside the Cairo-Mersa Matruh rail line. My troop of four tanks had been reduced to one Crusader and one American Grant, our squadron having lost, over the preceding twenty-one days, no fewer than nineteen others—Valentines, Honeys, A-10 and A-13 Cruisers, even a pair of captured Italian M-13s. Some had been brought up from the repair shops as replacements, others salvaged intact or refitted in the field, along with their crews, who were cycled through so quickly owing to wounds, death or capture that most barely learnt my name and I theirs before their place was taken by the next round fresh from the pool companies. On the twenty-first day I found myself separated from my squadron (who were a mile or two ahead), bottlenecked on the track west of Fuka in a hundred-mile traffic jam, still that distance short of Alexandria, with a hundred more to Cairo. My wife, Rose, was a Navy telegrapher in Alexandria; she was pregnant with our first child. I was desperate to get her evacuated before Rommel and Panzerarmee Afrika overran Egypt all the way to Suez. Suddenly I spotted a break in the column, with clear sailing ahead, cross-country, at least enough to get round the jam and rejoin my squadron. "Driver, hard right," I commanded. Off we rumbled, steamrolling a wire barrier, directly on to a Mark IV mine.

Continues...

Excerpted from Killing Rommel by Steven Pressfield Copyright © 2008 by Steven Pressfield. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 28 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 28 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 25, 2008

    Finding Rommel in severe desert warfare

    This novel presents an excellent account of Desert warfare in Africa during World War II. The account is taken from manuscripts written by R. Lawrence Chapman, ¿Chap¿ as he was called. Chap¿s father had been a mentor and surrogate father to the author of this book who would never consider publishing his ¿account¿ of his minor, as he called it, service to England during the war in the very unfriendly desert areas in Africa and Tunisia. Chap¿s story had me ducking, driving, avoiding bullets and other ammunition, airplanes as they raided the area, and helping repair the vehicles that so often broke down in the desert heat of the days and the cold nights. The Long Range Desert Group is made up of very highly trained Special Forces that are trained to work in the harshest of climates and terrain. The desert is generally thought of as sand and hot with unrelenting sun beating down on any living or dead creature. This is true but at night it can get extremely cold causing such temperature extremes that humans and equipment have a hard time just enduring. Chap is eventually assigned to one of these groups and learns fast that his training did not give him the sufficient knowledge that he would need to endure, not just the climate, but the enemy consisting of German desert fighters led by General Edwin Rommel, also known as The Desert Fox. The LDRG is hunting for Rommel through most of the desert warfare in this story. The purpose of finding him was to kill him. Rommel did not hide behind his forces but rather led them usually out front of them making him exposed to the enemy. Chap was only one small part of the desert action but what he saw and had to do to exist, along with his own men, makes for a great read. The temperature extremes caused trucks, jeeps, guns, and all other heavy-duty equipment to break down frequently, forcing stops in many an inconvenient and unsafe area. They had to make do with the cover they could find such as peaks and valleys of the desert. They could only travel certain hours of the day because navigation in the desert is impossible unless you can find your way by the sun and/or star positions. If it was too bright or nasty weather closed in, they had to sit, wait, and hope they would not be found by the enemy or another group of their own, thinking they were meeting the enemy. These stops gave them little rest, little sleep, while repairing what they could, sometimes by cannibalizing wrecks to get the parts they needed for the equipment that was in fair condition. If they left a vehicle behind, the German¿s would take it, repair it, paint their swastikas on it, and put it in battle against the original owners. One must read this book to appreciate what these men went through while trying to find and kill General Rommel. Steven Pressfield has taken the manuscript of Chap¿s and turned it into a great story, most of which is factual with only a few names and groups changed. It is almost unbelievable but we know from history that such brutal tours of duty did exist and this book only touches a brief part of how severe conditions made men live and die while fighting for their lives practically every minute of every day.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 31, 2012

    Strange Read

    I leave factual reviews to more able reviewers than I. My reviews are of feelings, my feelings that are a result of reading this book. I laughed often during the read. A lot of military jargon normally confuses and aggravates me. Not so with this book. It was a strange read because I should not have liked it, but I did. Very much. Thank you, Mr. Pressfield.

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  • Posted October 20, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Desert warfare, well-captured

    This book falls far short of Pressfield's Gates of Fire, but that's gentle criticism since most books do. It's a novel of the Long Range Desert Group (LRDG), an early version of the Special Forces, in its war against the Germans in North Africa. The strength of the book is, as in Gates of Fire, how Pressfield captures the period. One feels transported to WWII England complete with all the trepidations and hopes that would accompany such a move. Similarly, though I believed prior to reading the book that I had an idea of what desert warfare was like, I realized midway through the book that I did not. Pressfield grants fascinating revelations about the combat that occurred in North Africa. For example, it was largely a civilized war, if one can imagine such a thing, fought without malice, with both sides viewing the other as an adversary rather than an enemy. For example, it was customary when a tank under fire burst into flames to hold one's fire and permit the men to escape. Follow the LRDG as it ultimately is tasked with hunting down and killing Rommel, the Desert Fox. It is an entertaining read, deserving of 3.5 stars, though I was not permitted to be so precise.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 22, 2011

    Shocking

    Could not put this down

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  • Posted August 16, 2011

    Good read

    This book is very well written although it could have given a little more detail about the Desert Fox himself. It did do a nice job keeping you interested though!

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  • Posted November 27, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    The Amazing Desert War (and I don't mean Iraq)

    This is exciting action in a theater of World War II little discussed and most likely unknown to most of the public. Author Pressfield now shows himself to be a master of elucidating modern warfare and its actual effects on people much as he showed, in his earlier Greek works, how Classical Era warfare effected those practicing it. The flow of this story is smooth and keeps the reader interested with each chapter providing some inducement at the end to prompt a turning of the page. You just keep reading and you feel a part of the team doing their duty in the desert. The meeting with Rommel leaves you breathless. I still do not know whether it is real or not. And I don't really care. Pick up this book and take a journey into excitement and feel again the greatness of the "Greatest Generation".

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  • Posted October 17, 2009

    An Excellent Account of the British Endeavor to Track Rommel in the Deserts of North Africa and End His Leadership of the Afrika Korps

    Well written account of a small, speciallly trained unit of British Commandos who track Field Marshall Edwin Rommel, aka "The Desert Fox," leader of the Wermacht's Afrika Korps, in the deserts of Libya and Egypt during WWII. The intent was either to capture or kill Rommel, one of the most successful military leaders of WWII. Although the commandos failed in their mission, the descriptions of life in the desert for both the British and the German soldiers, the effect of the desert on military equipment, the camaraderie experienced amongst all ranks of the commandos and the respect for the enemy that each side had for the other, is riveting.

    My only objection to the book is the title - "Killing Rommel." My opinion, "Chasing Rommel" would have been more appropriate.

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  • Posted July 25, 2009

    WOW

    Pressfield does it again. Steven Pressfield is one of the top historical fiction writers of our time. Killing Rommel is a fantastic vision of the African Campaign in WWII. Highly recommended.

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  • Posted July 25, 2009

    A great World War story

    This is an excellent book. A great beginning, it gets a little slow in the middle but the last fifty pages are really amazing. One of Steven's best and a really fun read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 6, 2008

    READING THIS BOOK WAS LIKE BEING THERE!!!!!!

    This was the best WW2 historical novel that I have read since DUST ON THE SEA by Edward L. Beach. I have read extensively on the desert war in North Africa particularly regarding the LRDG and the SAS. Every word rings true!!! In my mind's eye, I can see it, hear it, smell it, taste it!!! I couldn't put it down!!! This book is a real page turner!!! If this type of book is your thing, get it NOW!!! Your time will be well spent!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 26, 2008

    Wow , don't pass this up.

    This book, no matter what type of reading you prefer has it all. Love during a time of world war. The The desert fox Rommel and his standards while men slaughtered each other as a matter of everyday survival. The lost art of tank warfare and the unbelieveable hardships on both sides while enduring 122 degrees desert heat and freezing nighttime temperatures. Don't pass up a chance to get a feeling of what some were asked to endure for the sake of freedom in the face of an enemy tank commander that one could not help but be awed by. Pressfield brings it all together so that no matter age or profession its all very easy to learn from.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 24, 2008

    Britain's Legendary Long Range Desert Group

    We¿ve come to expect ¿ripping good yarns¿ from best-selling novelist, Steven Pressfield, but usually his historical novels are set in the ancient world and feature the likes of Alexander the Great or Leonidas the Spartan. This time out, however, Pressfield moves the target of his unmatched skills as storyteller 2000 years forward to World War II¿s desert war in North Africa where the Desert Fox, Germany¿s Erwin Rommel, reigned as Britain¿s nemesis in 1942. But, chiefly, this is a compelling, thoroughly-researched story based upon the exploits of Britain¿s Long Range Desert Group 'LRDG', the daring, often eccentric commandos who roamed the vast stretches of North African desert in jeeps and light trucks conducting reconnaissance missions and raids on Axis units far behind the front lines. Rommel himself declared that ¿man for man, the LRDG had done more damage to the Axis cause than any other outfit in the North African campaign.¿ Pressfield shows you how they did it. The story is presented as a first-person account memoir written by a fictional citizen-soldier, Lt. R. Lawrence ¿Chap¿ Chapman, a British Eighth Army armor officer ¿seconded¿ to the LRDG in the summer and fall of 1942. Ostensibly only temporarily joining the LRDG for a single patrol to assess the trafficability of remote routes that large armored formations might take through the forbidding desert, Chap quickly bonds with his new ¿band of brothers¿ mates and defies orders to return to his regular Eighth Army unit ¿ even going AWOL from a field hospital while sick with pneumonia to rejoin the LRDG. Historical personalities, however, are part of the story, too, and legendary desert commandos like Jake Easonsmith, Paddy Mayne, Nick Wilder, Ron Tinker, and Vladimir Peniakoff, aka ¿Popski,¿ appear to help propel the ¿can¿t put it down¿ narrative. These historical personalities and their authentically detailed missions -- and Pressfield¿s extraordinary attention to the historically accurate details and experiences of the desert war -- make the book read more like an exciting unit battle history of the commandos than a work of fiction. As Pressfield explains, ¿Practically no incident depicted in these pages as happening to the men of T3 patrol did not occur in fact to others at other times during the desert war. In other words, if an event didn¿t happen to these soldiers literally, it either did happen to men just like them or it could have.¿ Yet, Pressfield doesn't just tell us a fascinating story about the Long Range Desert Group, he takes us along for the ride! Reading Killing Rommel is the closest thing to actually participating in one of these daring WWII raids in the trackless desert of North Africa that any of us today will ever get. As the title suggests, ¿killing Rommel¿ is the intended purpose of the first mission that initiates Chap into the LRDG brotherhood yet the unique nature of the desert war ¿ in Pressfield¿s 'and Rommel¿s' words, a ¿war without hate¿ ¿ meant that the commandos set about their job with a calculating, businesslike efficiency, not overwhelmed by some intense desire to rid the world of a brutal, Nazi monster. Rommel was targeted because he was the driving force and battlefield genius behind the Afrika Korps¿ and Axis forces¿ success in the theater, and at the time the mission was planned, he had British and Commonwealth forces reeling on the ropes ¿ his panzers were only a short drive from Cairo and the strategically important Suez Canal. ¿Killing Rommel¿ was devised as a bold stroke to reverse Britain¿s North African battlefield fortunes, and the only military unit that offered any hope such a daring, risky mission might succeed was the LRDG. While British and Axis forces faced each other across the battlefield of El Alamein, an LRDG patrol 'with Chap along' strikes out across the desert to find the Desert Fox and kill him ¿ if they can. Pressfield¿s thrilling story of how that raid and Chap¿s subsequent adventures with the LRDG play

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