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North Africa - Books

Discussion in 'North Africa: Western Desert Campaigns 1940 to Ope' started by richard g, Oct 5, 2000.

  1. richard g

    richard g Member

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    Here's my list of three excellent and one dud book on the North African campaigns pre Torch.
    Tobruk and El Alamein - Barton Maughan
    El Alamein - Michael Carver
    Tobruk - Frank Harrison.
    The dud is The Desert Generals - Corelli Barnett, which IMHO is mostly rubbish and certainly misleading.
    Any other goods and bads?
     
  2. Mussolini

    Mussolini Gaming Guru WW2|ORG Editor

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    Well, there is a book i am reading now but it is Rommels personall story through his journal and letters to his wife, edited by his son and the current author/editor of the book. It should give a pretty good idea of what the campaign in France, North Africa, and Normandy was like for Field Marshal Erwin Rommel.

    The book is called:
    The Rommel Papers

    Mussolini
     
  3. Marcus Wendel

    Marcus Wendel Member

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  4. Ste

    Ste Member

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    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by richard g:
    Here's my list of three excellent and one dud book on the North African campaigns pre Torch.
    Tobruk and El Alamein - Barton Maughan
    El Alamein - Michael Carver
    Tobruk - Frank Harrison.
    The dud is The Desert Generals - Corelli Barnett, which IMHO is mostly rubbish and certainly misleading.
    Any other goods and bads?
    <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    You have to be careful with Correlli Barnett. Much of his work is excellent, but it many respects he is a bit of a revisionist, and I think gets carried away from time to time.

    The Desert Generals is an interesting and thought provoking book, and certainly useful in that it emphasises that the Eighth Army and its predecssors had been fighting for a long time before Montgomery ever arrived. Things weren't a complete catalogue of incompetence before he showed up - nor an absolutely model procession of victories afterwards, and I think it is woth reminding ourselves of that.

    But if the first book you ever read about the war in North Africa was The Desert Generals, you would probably have a slightly unusual interpretation of events. I think it is best read after a nube of oter works, to provide balance.

    S
     
  5. TIM E

    TIM E Member

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    I HAVE A GOOD ONE :
    THE BATTLE FOR NORTH AFRICA 1940-3 BY W.G.F JACKSON
    PUBLISHED BY MASON/CHARTER 1975
     
  6. Martin Bull

    Martin Bull Acting Wg. Cdr

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    Desert books -
    Three in particular that I like are :
    Two by Barrie Pitt ; 'The Crucible of War : Western Desert 1941' ( Cape, London 1980 ) and 'The Crucible of War : Year of Alamein 1942' ( Cape, London 1982 ).These are large, readable and thoroughly-researched covering high strategy and the 'view from the ground'. Sadly, Pitt ( who served in the Middle East ) died before a planned third volume could be completed. There have been paperback editions.
    Thirdly, it's once again Paul Carell with a classic account from the German perspective, 'The Foxes of the Desert' ( Macdonald, London 1960 ). As with all Carell books, sought-after and scarce but a great read.
     
  7. Friedrich

    Friedrich Expert

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    I have one I liked a lot:

    "Afrika Korps" Erwan Bergott.

    It describes pretty much (with good sense of humour) the way to fight in the desert. It focuses in Rommel's though and kind of nazi personality (Africa's tyrann), the several battles, testimonies of some simple privates and fine stories about the heroes of Africa like Major Von Ponath, Major Bach, General Rammcke. The paratrropers, the "Foreign" Germans of a regiment (don't remember the number right now), the Italians, etc. Very funny book. Photographs are not a lot and the printing is not good, because some times they say XXI Panzerdivision some others they say XX and there seems like there were 5 armoured divisions... But that is the printing and not because of the author. Also, it has some British testimonies and it is a very balanced book. I hope you could read it, and I hope I could read the book you have mentioned.
     
  8. PzJgr

    PzJgr Drill Instructor

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    Panzer Battles by GeneralMajor F.W.von Mellenthin (Oklahoma Press). It is somewhat of a description of the author's assignments throughout the war but he describes in detail tactics used during the different battles. I lost my original copy in the first divorce so I thought it good enough to buy another copy.
     
  9. Martin Bull

    Martin Bull Acting Wg. Cdr

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    Another Desert book I've bought but have yet to read is 'Rommel's War in Africa' by Wolf Heckmann, originally published in Germany in 1976. Anyone read it ? Good or not so good ??

    Absolutely right about the von Mellenthin book, it's essential reading. As well as great detail about armoured tactics in the Desert and Russia, there are von Mellenthin's thoughts about 1940 and the final battles in the West as well as his personal observations of some key German personalities.
     
  10. Stevin

    Stevin Ace

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    A nice account about a obscure unit in Africa (and Italy) is PRIVATE ARMY by Vladimir Peniakoff...
     
  11. C.Evans

    C.Evans Expert

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    I like Knappes book SOLDAT--tells of some of his service in the D.A.K.
     
  12. Stevin

    Stevin Ace

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    Martin, read this post this morning. This afternoon me and my girl went to Leiden, where I usually never come. Came across a obscure bookstore with a big selection of Osprey books. Thought they might have something interesting and picked up Heckmann's Rommels Krieg in Africa for 6 euros! Hehehehe....Of course haven't read it. But couldn't leave this new book lying there....Still, even if it is not any good, it will help me brush up my German.

    Also recieved Heinz Ewald's 'Wo Wir Sind Ist Immer Oben'. Ewald was a pilot with JG52 with 84 victories. He died a couple of months ago. Included with the book is a nice picture-postcard that he signed.
     
  13. Military History Network

    Military History Network Registered Member

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    [ 14 October 2002, 10:15 PM: Message edited by: Military History Network ]
     
  14. Jumbo_Wilson

    Jumbo_Wilson Member

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    I've just finished Wavell's memoirs, which sadly stop before his posting to the Far East. This most thoughtful of British Generals was really dealt a bad hand wherever he went! One amusing story, when Cunningham and his two companions were captured in the Desert Wavell wanted to offer no less that five Italian Generals in return for Cunningham alone, recognising that he was best rid of the other two. Churchill stopped him by saying that "We should not show favouritism towards individual Generals"..So Britains closest answer to Guderian was left languishing in Prison until '43.

    Jumbo
     
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  15. Mussolini

    Mussolini Gaming Guru WW2|ORG Editor

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    I have recently bought a book called:
    The Battle of Alamein: Turning Point of World War II.
    I can remember the name of the author off the top of my head, but i will check on it once i get home. So far, it looks to be a great book.

    I also read a book about Naples i believe, called...hm, cant remember, but it had STREETS somewhere in its title. Its about some 200 children aged 5 - 14 years old, led by an old man, an american soldier, and the old mans daughter. Naples is deserted - the Germans slowly but steadily destroying it. A German Panzer division is about to destroy the last remnants of it (including the castle) and this group of Kids fights them off, using old guns, unexploded shells, and molotov cocktails. Very interesting book if you ask me.
     
  16. De Vlaamse Leeuw

    De Vlaamse Leeuw Member

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    Another book that begins with Operation Compass and ends with the defeat of the Axis in Tunis.

    Very good described and also a map of every battle.

    "The battle for North Africa" by brigadier John Strawson.
    Printed by Ace books, 1120 Avenue of the Americas, NY, NY 10036
     
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