The Battle of Alamein: Turning Point, World War II

The Battle of Alamein: Turning Point, World War II

by John Bierman, Colin Smith
     
 

In the most devastating global conflict in history, the Battle of Alamein stands out as one of the great triumphs of the Allied forces. In October 1942, the little Egyptian railway stop became the showdown between two legendary commanders -- German Field Marshal Erwin Rommel, the notorious "Desert Fox," and British Lieutenant General Bernard "Monty" Montgomery. When…  See more details below

Overview

In the most devastating global conflict in history, the Battle of Alamein stands out as one of the great triumphs of the Allied forces. In October 1942, the little Egyptian railway stop became the showdown between two legendary commanders -- German Field Marshal Erwin Rommel, the notorious "Desert Fox," and British Lieutenant General Bernard "Monty" Montgomery. When Rommel's Panzerarmee Afrika clashed with the imperial British forces under Monty, the entire dynamic of World War II changed. Now, in this superb account, John Bierman and Colin Smith unfold the whole story of the decisive campaigns of the desert war, from the Italian invasion of Egypt in September 1940 to the mass surrender of the Axis forces in Tunis in May 1943.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Bierman and Smith are, respectively, ex-BBC and ex-Observer correspondents currently based in Cyprus; they co-authored Fire in the Night, a biography of Orde Wingate. Despite its U.S. title (the book goes by a different title in the U.K.), their popular account covers the entire three-year North African campaign. The descriptions of the battles are well-crafted and easily accessible to the nonspecialist. The account of the battle of Alamein itself is only slightly more than 50 pages long, but the British defense against Axis tanks at "Snipe" (a code name for a crucial position) was one of its turning points, and is well described here. Major and minor personalities and fighting units come to life, among them the British Special Interrogation Group (a forerunner of the special forces) and the Axis spy Laszlo Almasy, whose exploits were very loosely adapted for the novel and film The English Patient. The authors' treatment of well-known figures, however, is fairly uncritical, especially when dealing with Montgomery, who looms large at Alamein. The book follows Axis forces as they retreat to Tunisia; British forces, along with American forces that had landed in Algeria and Morocco in November, fight them there together until their surrender in May 1943. (On sale Nov. 11) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal
Alamein represented a turning point for the Allies during World War II. The battle was particularly significant to the British as the first and last victory of the war without significant U.S. involvement. Bierman and Smith, authors of Fire in the Night, provide a broad overview of the events leading up to the Battle of Alamein and a detailed description of the battle, the final victory of the Allies in Northern Africa. As journalists they bring the story to life using numerous interviews and personal accounts. The maps are easy to understand, and the photos provide a visual reference to the players, terrain, and events. Unfortunately, several chapters on raids, the battle for Malta, etc., interrupt the flow of the book while failing to provide sufficient explanation of their importance to the main event, Alamein. Recommended to libraries with large military collections. After a brief introduction to the war in North Africa, Latimer, a former British officer and author of Deception in War, focuses on the battle of Alamein proper. His extensive research is evident both in the book's organization and in the endnotes. Latimer explains why logistics were so important to both sides and weaves the battle for Malta and the Mediterranean into the story. He even provides the requisite Clausewitz quote. The maps are easy to understand and use military unit symbols. This well-written and -organized book is highly recommended for larger public, academic, and military libraries. (Photos not seen.)-Lt. Col. Charles M. Minyard (ret.), U.S. Army, Mt. Pleasant, MI Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780670030408
Publisher:
Viking Adult
Publication date:
09/30/2002
Pages:
400
Product dimensions:
6.34(w) x 9.32(h) x 1.57(d)

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