To many close students of World War II, von Manstein is already considered to be the greatest commander of the war, if not the entire 20th century. He devised the plan that conquered France in 1940, thence led an infantry corps in that campaign; at the head of a panzer corps he reached the gates of Leningrad in 1941, then took command of 11th Army and conquered Sevastopol and the Crimea. After destroying another Soviet army in the north, he was given command of the ad hoc Army Group Don to retrieve the German calamity at Stalingrad, whereupon he launched a counteroffensive that, against all odds, restored the German front. Afterward he commanded Army Group South, nearly crushing the Soviets at Kursk, and then skillfully resisted their relentless attacks, as he traded territory for coherence in the East.
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About the Author
Table of ContentsIntroduction
I. From the Imperial Army to the Reichswehr
II. The Wehrmacht: Army of the Third Reich
III. Manstein and the March to War
IV. The Polish “Laboratory”
V. The Manstein Plan
VI. Disgrace and a Dramatic Turn of Events
VII. The Incomplete Victory of the Sickle Cut
VIII. Between Two Campaigns
IX. The Conquest of the Crimea
X. The Wehrmacht and the Genocidal War in Russia
XI. Manstein, the Eleventh Army in the Crimea, and the Final Solution
XII. The Winds of Berezina: The Stalingrad Tragedy
XIII. From Retreat to Backlash
XIV. Clash of Titans: The Battle of Kursk
XV. Manstein and the Military Resistance to Hitler
XVI. The Legend of an “Honorable and Upright” Wehrmacht
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Written by a French-Canadian historian of who I'd like to know more, while this book feels a little uneven on the strictly operational level of military history that is not the main point. The main agenda here is to place the higher military leadership of the German Third Reich back in the context it so desperately tried to escape after defeat in World War II; a pillar of the Hitlerian regime that was willing to sacrifice professional integrity so long as its supposed caste privileges were honored. The Manstein depicted can be seen as a man so driven by ambition that he willfully blinded himself to all the crimes he helped to enable; Lemay does little to disguise his contempt and one suspects that it this flavor even more evident in the original French edition of 2010.As mentioned, my criticisms of this book tend towards the more strictly military side of things. The Polish air force was not destroyed on the ground in 1939 without warning. Lemay's phraseology regarding the German breakthrough in returning mobility to warfare in 1939-1940 suggests that he hasn't quite grasped the new operational thinking on just what the "blitzkrieg" was really about. It would also be nice to see some of the works of David Glantz in the biography.However, what would have most strengthened this work is to have considered Isabel Hull's "Absolute Destruction," which is probably the most insightful work to date in terms of putting the roots of German operational expediency into context.
Fine scholarship, translated from the German and reads like it. Manstein's memoirs (Verlorene Siege) are one of the sources used for the memoirs of the fictional character Armin von Roon in Herman Wouk's "The Winds of War" and "War and Rememberance".
Unfortunately I barely started this book when I could no longer finish the book. Granted, Manstein was a complex and controversial Field Marshall of major magnitude but he deserves more hindsight based on directly relatable evidence. that his actions were based on, rather than the rather broad-dased opinions of the author. This is not work by a worthy historian but the pre-conceived dreams of a francophile. Manstein was found guilty of war crimes for actions that took place in his area of responsibility and since he was the 'captain of the ship' his sentence was fair. But to attribute all of the author's opinions to the taint of national socialism is a 'bridge too far'.
Excellent detail of planning to conquer terriotory