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Memoirs of Field-Marshal Kesselring Hardcover – Apr 1989


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 319 pages
  • Publisher: Presidio Press (April 1989)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0891413537
  • ISBN-13: 978-0891413530
  • Product Dimensions: 3.2 x 16.5 x 24.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,977,723 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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About the Author

Kenneth Macksey joined the Royal Armoured Corps in 1941, saw action in Normandy in 1944 and Germany in 1945, and after World War II spent more than twenty years as an officer of the Royal Tank Regiment. He is internationally known for his works on military history, including Guderian: Panzer General, Kesselring: The Making of the Luftwaffe and his recent Why the Germans Lose at War. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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15 of 19 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 29 Jun. 1998
Format: Paperback
Albert Kesselring was the commander of German forces in Italy during World War 2, but his memoires cover his entire military service, from pre-WW1 through WW2. He waxes nostalgic on the friendly pre-WW1 relations between the German troops stationed near France, and the ladies across the boarder. (What would the Boarder Patrol think of it!) His discussion of the post-WW1 period focusses largely on the circumstances of his transfer from the army to the air force. An intermediate amount of coverage is given to the early WW2 period, with the latter part of the war in Italy dominating the memoires, much as it dominated his career. Hauptsturmfuhrer Otto Skorzeny (the commando leader who freed Mussolini) commented in his own memoires about his differences in methodology from those of Kesselring, and Kesselring takes this opportunity to provide his side of the matter. In addition, Kesselring discusses why he was chosen as the commander most uniquely qualified to serve as a liason with the Italians. Several sections cover the important steps he took to preserve historic art treasures in the midst of the destruction of war, and his views on the criminal nature of guerillas who disguise themselves as civilians in violation of the Geneva Convention.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 7 reviews
48 of 48 people found the following review helpful
More than he could chew? 17 Jun. 2007
By M. G Watson - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
His troops called him "Smiling Albert", but his enemies considered him something between a strategic mastermind and a bloodthirsty war criminal. Hitler considered him too honest for his own good, and everybody knew he was tough. In 1944, when his staff car collided with the business end of a howitzer, a joke circulated among his armies during his convalescence: "The Field Marshal was only slightly injured, but the gun had to be retired." Such was Albert Kesselring, General Field Marshal of the Luftwaffe and one of the few of that rank to leave his memiors behind.

Kesselring had one of those military careers that is actually several careers in one -- army officer, air force general, theater commander. Considering his many achievements, he should probably be more famous, but it was his fate to be the "other field marshal" in the Southern Theater - the principle one being, of course, Rommel, with whom Kesselring often bitterly quarreled. Indeed, it was Kesselring's relations with men like Hitler, Goering, and Rommel that I was arguably looking most forward to reading about - among other things. And therin lies the problem. It turned out there were too many "other things" in MEMIORS. Kesselring was attempting too much. His life story is simply too damned big to cram into a single volume. Considering the vital importance he played in the development of the Luftwaffe, the French campaign, the Battle of Britain, the invasion of Russia, the war in North Africa and the defense of Sicily and Italy, it would have been better to split this into a two or even a three-volume series.

The problem of biting off more of his life than he could chew was exacerbated by the fact that he wrote these pages wholly or partially while imprisoned for war crimes, and thus had very limited access to research materials - he seems to be operating from memory, and from postwar literature produced by his ex-enemies. Finally, Kesselring's writing style, while not precisely bad and showing flashes of talent here and there, isn't what you would call aesthetically pleasing. Having read a lot of German military literature to use as comparison, I would rate him in the bottom half of the ex-generals: he often generalizes when he should speak specifically, and sometimes bogs down in details when he should have spoken broadly.

I also have some issues with the book itself. The pictures are low quality -, grainy, dot-matrix style, and the translation from German to British English leaves something to be desired. Ranks are incorrectly translated on many occasions and some of the sentences have that unweildy, unnatural quality that an overly literal translation tends to create. There are also some misspellings, and a comment or two in the forward which is/are downright nonsensical.

MEMIORS are by no means all bad. Kesselring's career is breath-taking in its sheer scope, and his criticisms of Allied battle strategies, the cumbersome and inefficient leadership structure of Hitler's armed forces, and the Axis failure to seize Malta (which cost them the North African war) are all fascinating. His diplomatic criticisms of Rommel shed interesting light on the less pleasing aspects of that legendary soldier. Furthermore, in defending himself against charges of war crimes in Italy, he makes a number of valid points about the hypocrisy of the Allies, who encouraged and facilitated the brutal partisan movement knowing full well how the Germans would respond to it, and then used ex post facto laws to prosecute German leaders after the war.

MEMIORS are most definitely not a smooth and easy read. In some ways they is not even as well-written as Field Marshal Keitel's death row memiors, which were cut short by his execution at Nuremberg. But they are an important contribution to war literature.
35 of 40 people found the following review helpful
The safeguarding of historic art treasures. 29 Jun. 1998
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Albert Kesselring was the commander of German forces in Italy during World War 2, but his memoires cover his entire military service, from pre-WW1 through WW2. He waxes nostalgic on the friendly pre-WW1 relations between the German troops stationed near France, and the ladies across the boarder. (What would the Boarder Patrol think of it!) His discussion of the post-WW1 period focusses largely on the circumstances of his transfer from the army to the air force. An intermediate amount of coverage is given to the early WW2 period, with the latter part of the war in Italy dominating the memoires, much as it dominated his career. Hauptsturmfuhrer Otto Skorzeny (the commando leader who freed Mussolini) commented in his own memoires about his differences in methodology from those of Kesselring, and Kesselring takes this opportunity to provide his side of the matter. In addition, Kesselring discusses why he was chosen as the commander most uniquely qualified to serve as a liason with the Italians. Several sections cover the important steps he took to preserve historic art treasures in the midst of the destruction of war, and his views on the criminal nature of guerillas who disguise themselves as civilians in violation of the Geneva Convention.
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Any collection seeking source material and definitive first-person exposes will want this. 6 Aug. 2007
By Midwest Book Review - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Field-Marshal Albert Kesselring was one of Germany's top military strategists who commanded air fleets during the invasion of France and Battle of Britain. This edition of his memoirs blends in introductions from James Holland and Kenneth Macksey which surveys Kesselring's background and effects, providing a fine survey to the focus of Kesselring, who details both military background and his involvement in World War II - including the war's end and his subsequent trial. Any collection seeking source material and definitive first-person exposes will want this.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
A difficult read but worth it for the right people 25 Aug. 2010
By James D. Crabtree - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Field Marshal Kesselring was a senior Wehrmacht leader during WWII who was commander of Axis efforts in the Mediterranean at one point. His memoirs avoid some subjects of discussion and glosses over others. It would have been helpful if the book was annotated to explain some of the items being discussed, to clarify in footnotes perhaps. Kesselring seems to have identified the key to defeating the British in North Africa (Malta) but it seems to me he never really discusses the proposed invasion or the suppression of the island at length. Kesselring does seem to have been aware that there was some sort of security leak in the Axis effort in Africa but when this was initially published he had no way of knowing about Ultra, the Allied system which allowed them to read at least some military messages.
Well Written and Researched 28 Feb. 2014
By Eggnog - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Field Marshall Kesselring was, in the opinion of many, one of the top three military leaders that Germany produced during WW 2. Although Kesselring was a field marshal, he wore many hats and was not the publicity seeker as was Rommel. Kesselring was the only major military leader to hold one of Germany's highest military positions from the start of the war to the finish.

Kenneth Macksey takes an in-depth look at Kesselring, the great tactician who must be ranked among some of the other great tacticians of that period such as Gudrian, Model,, and Von Manstein.
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