Lost Victories: The War Memoirs of Hilter's Most Brilliant General

Lost Victories: The War Memoirs of Hilter's Most Brilliant General


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Originally published in Germany in 1955, and in England and the United States in 1958, this classic memoir of WWII by a man who was an acknowledged military genius and probably Germany's top WWII general, is now made available again. Field Marshal Erich von Manstein described his book as a personal narrative of a soldier, discussing only those matters that had direct bearing on events in the military field. The essential thing, as he wrote, is to "know how the main personalities thought and reacted to events." This is what he tells us in this book.His account is detailed, yet dispassionate and objective. "Nothing is certain in war, when all is said and done," But in Manstein's record, at least, we can see clearly what forces were in action. In retrospect, perhaps his book takes on an even greater significance.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780760320549
Publisher: Voyageur Press
Publication date: 08/15/2004
Series: Zenith Military Classics Series
Pages: 592
Sales rank: 146,837
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.40(d)

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From the Publisher

Wall Street Journal, October 7, 2006"Generals don't make the best memoirists, mainly because they embellish while writing for posterity; the higher the rank, the worse the tome. The exception is the breathtaking autobiography of Field Marshal Erich von Manstein, the brilliant author of many Germany victories against the Soviets in World War II. Dismissive of oft-cited ‘turning points,’ such as the German defeat at Stalingrad, von Manstein contends that the war was never winnable for Germany because of the leader prosecuting it. As for Hitler's once much-vaunted kinship with regular soldiers, he says the Fuehrer had ‘as little in common with the thoughts and emotions of soldiers as had his party with the Prussian virtues which it was so fond of invoking.’ Coming from Hitler's greatest general, it's a most effective filleting.”

WWII History, December 2005“Manstein’s Lost Victories is definitely one of the more interesting and informative German autobiographies to emerge from World War II. New publisher Zenith Press is to be commended for republishing it.”

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Lost Victories: The War Memoirs of Hilter's Most Brilliant General 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Manstein was the premier operational brain on the German side in World War II. He was also a war criminal who partly succeeded in covering his bloody tracks in Russia. Regarding the previous reviewer's remarks, I cannot agree that Zhukov, let alone Eisenhower, outshone von Manstein. Eisenhower was a great chairman of the board in World War II, but as a tactician he was hopeless. Zhukov was better than Eisenhower from an operational perspective, but no Manstein. I would point in particular to Manstein's conduct of the Third Battle of Kharkov in 1943, which restored the German front after Stalingrad. This is perhaps the most brilliant battle of riposte ever fought. No Russian, and probably no American commander (with the possible exception of Patton), could have pulled it off. As for the attempt to relive Stalingrad, it was doomed from the start, but Manstein's plan was by no means 'amateurish.'
Guest More than 1 year ago
By the end of WWII, General von Manstein was widely recognized by most German soldiers as the Wehrmacht's most brilliant strategist, a man of honor, and easily the most obvious choice for the Wehrmacht's Commander-in-Chief. Manstein was responsible for formulating most of the strategy that won Germany its great early victories using blitzkrieg tactics in Poland, France, and the Crimea. From Fall 1942 - Spring 1944, Manstein's heroic efforts against hugely overwhelming odds consistently frustrated every attempt to cut off and destroy Germany's armies in the Ukraine. With tight battlefield coordination, he focused his armies' efforts on the decisive point in each desperate Russian Front battle and ALWAYS snatched a tantalizingly close victory away from huge encircling Russian army groups. Manstein recalls the internal struggles within the Wehrmacht regarding strategy formulation, internal organization, and resource allocation. He was apparently one of the few German generals to seriously and openly challenge many of Hitler's decisions. His analysis of Hitler as a military leader is quite fascinating and unusually balanced. Manstein actually gives Hitler some credit in his strategic analysis. But, Manstein also rightfully and strongly critiques Hitler's disorganized, dictatorial leadership and his increasingly blind faith in the power of will versus massive, well-supplied Soviet armies. Time and time again, Hitler's interference in Manstein's army group operations left much of Manstein's forces perilously exposed to Soviet encirclement. By Spring 1944, Hitler tired of Manstein's repeated demands for a Wehrmacht C-in-C and feared his increasing personal prestige - forcing Manstein's resignation and retirement from the army. I've read several other books on the Eastern Front, as well as books on the Wehrmacht's internal organization, and I still learned a lot about the Russian Front battles. Manstein analyzes Poland, France, the Crimea, Stalingrad, Operation Winter Storm, the fighting withdrawal from the Caucasus, Kursk, and his desperate battles in the Ukraine. Sometimes the action is difficult to follow. While there are several maps, the text often refers to locations not indicated on the map. (My standard gripe - not enough detailed maps to go with the text.) Overall, a well-written, informative, and excellent account of most of Germany's main war efforts by the man who was there leading them.
nabo1er on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Another clear conscience nazi who just did his duties.
Guest More than 1 year ago
If you dare to issue a criticism of Manstein in military historian circles you will be stirring a hornets' nest- there is no doubt of that. Manstein's reputation is so solid as to be virtually unshakeable. Of course this reputation is fundamentally based on the 'Sichelschnitt' (the sickle cut) through the Ardennes (1940) and the crossings of Meuse at Sedan and Dinant which negated the planned repetition of the Schlieffen plan of WWI by the German General Staff and substituted something far better. One should only read Alistair Horne's book '1940 How to Lose a Battle' to conclude that while Manstein's plan was very good, given the abysmal leadership and quality of the opposing French army of 1940, we will never know how good it really was. A good French leader would have immediately attacked the flanks of such salient, which were unprotected during much of the German advance and things could have turned very dicey. De Gaulle tried that but did not have anywhere near the adequate forces required. Gamelin simply was not the leader to conduct such countermeasures. So we will never know if Manstein's plan would have truly defeated France in such case. In Russia Manstein's operations are divided into average and brilliant. On the brilliant side his tactical advance to the Dvina bridges in the initial phase of Barbarossa while in command of the 56th Panzer Corps was extremely well tactically executed.His 'backhand' check on the Mius in 1943 was also brilliant tactically. However his attempted relief of Stalingrad with the indaquate forces of Hoth's 4th Panzer Army was ill prepared and amateurish. His conquest of Crimea lacked originality and was a frontal attack siege warfare at its average. The Kursk operation 'Citadel' was a hopeless undertaking which was doomed to failure by the combination of Russian tactical defense - strategic offense combination,and the Battle of Prokharovka at the Kursk Salient against Rotmistrov was amateurish to say the least (very poorly executed by SS Obergruppenfuehrer Hassuer). So while I respect the Field Marshal greatly I do not in retrospect agree to worship his achievements. Both Zhukov and Eisenhower outshine him.