El Alamein The Battle That Turned the Tide of the Second World War (Book) Review
by Mark Barnes - War History Online
Publisher: Osprey Publishing
Author: Bryn Hammond
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There is a lot of hyperbole about Alamein, but let’s be fair it matters to us because it was a British and Commonwealth victory that came after so much anguish. We’d had all those years of failure elsewhere and the seesaw warfare across the desert blue. Now at last we had a success to grasp for our very own before the true impact of junior partnership in a coalition became unpleasant reality. Well, that’s the sensible way to look back at it in the warmth of hindsight, isn’t it? Not quite how it was seen on the factory floors or in the public bars or in the blacked out parlours of a hopeful Britain, a distant Melbourne or Wellington. Victory is sweet.
But it wasn’t easy and it certainly wasn’t straightforward. Hard lessons had to be learned and some things never really were understood on a universal level. Good men were swept aside, egos clashed and reputations were sealed. We know the chief of them; Bernard Law Montgomery. His star rose in the desert and his place in history set. But the sands were cruel and others who deserved much, much better fell by the wayside having done so much to build the foundations on which Monty’s glory stands. It isn’t right and it isn’t fair, but it was war, literally so.
This isn’t just a tale of the British Army; there were Germans and Italians in North Africa, too, of course. We discover they had plenty of problems of their own with logistics and body count and above all with the pipe dreams and ego of their much trumpeted leader Erwin Rommel and, by the by, we cannot forget the lunacy of the Fuhrer back in Berlin.
To read the full review of El Alamein, click here
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