- Paperback: 231 pages
- Publisher: Stackpole Books; 1st Edition - 1st Impression edition (1 Feb. 2007)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0811733831
- ISBN-13: 978-0811733830
- Product Dimensions: 22.7 x 15.7 x 1.6 cm
- Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 412,654 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- See Complete Table of Contents
Colossal Cracks: Montgomery's 21st Army Group in Northwest Europe, 1944-45 (Stackpole Military History) Paperback – 1 Feb 2007
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"Incisive, eminently objective, and literate, this thoughtful study advances considerably our understanding of the war's most controversial field commander and his Normandy campaign."
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Top Customer Reviews
Having said that, Hart has mined the archives very well indeed and shed light on so many aspects which have been ignored. For example, far too much has been made of Montgomery's personal foibles, to the detriment of the constraints and imperatives which he - and his two army commanders - Dempsey and Crerar - had to work within. Among them was the fact that this was literally Britain's last army, which had to be preserved - and was. Faced by a superior German army (an equally underrated aspect of the conflict) the chosen path for a force made up of largely untested conscripts included heavy use of firepower via artillery and the air force. Ironically, while many critics, including the Americans, failed to recognise what was going on, the Germans were on the ball and called it Materielschlacht.
Some of the chapters were, for me, page-turners as I trod unfamiliar ground and Hart deserves much praise: hopefully future historians will be less biased and present the Normandy conflict and the European consequences more accurately. The only reason I have not given this book 5 stars is because of the poor style. If you can cope with that, this book is a rare treat and genuine eye-opener.
Again, like other reviewers, this only gets four stars because of a)the author's style, which is a bit dry and b)annoying proofreading and typographical errors. That said, if you have any interest in World War II, this book should be on your bookshelf.
Hart explains how political considerations of having a sizeable British presence on the continent in post war Europe played a role in how operations were to be conducted; he also explains how casualty conservation and the upkeep of moral also played their part. Hart also goes at length to discuss the pivotal roles Henry Crerar, commanding the Canadian First Army, and Miles Dempsey, commanding the British Second Army, played in the campaign.
The amount of information available in the book is amazing it ranges from casualty information, what strategy was used in Normandy to Dempsey playing his hand ensuring that a brigade would only be used on his exact instructions.
For anyone wanting to understand how the 21st Army Group fought in Europe and to get an alternative point of view from the one expressed in more popular literate then this is the book for you.
Nevertheless, the book is extremely well researched, the number of biographical notes speaks for itself, and the author mantains a scientific approach throughout the whole document, chastising where it's needed and giving credit where it's due. It opens a new understanding of 21st Army Group strategy and performance, especially when relating to US Army strategic motions.
A good adittion to any WWII library.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I found this book via Amazon's self generated recommendations system and was pleasantly surprised to see material that focused solely on 21st Army Group (i.e. Read morePublished on 13 Jan. 2010 by N. Brown
After the War, Monty was eulogised as a great general in hagiographies such as Chester Wilmot's "Struggle for Europe". Read morePublished on 24 Nov. 2009 by IAN CAMERON-MOWAT
Bernard Law Montgomey was never one of my favourite generals,but always willing to concede to better informed sources , I bought this book. Read morePublished on 10 Sept. 2009 by Hugh McPhilemy
I was tipped off to read this book by a commenter to one of my previous reviews, which was for Carlo D'Estes Decison in Normandy. Read morePublished on 13 Aug. 2009 by Donaldo
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