Okay, first the good part: this book is full of detail about a group of Panthers slugging it out in an uneven match with the Allies in the later stages of the Normandy campaign. It extends all the way across some rare territory (pun intended?) as the Germans struggled to get out of the Falaise pocket and across the Seine. There are a bunch of one-of-a-kind pictures, then-and-now pictures, and on-the-scene narrative at a refreshing, small unit level. The book has been done using a high quality printing process.
Now the bad part: This is the worst edited and/or translated history book I have ever read. Not to knock the Chinese, but the book was evidently published in China. I had the sense that I was trying to make sense of an instruction manual on how to assemble something complex that I'd just bought from an Asian source. Or to put it another way, I had the sense that a Chinese speaker had translated the text from the original French into English. Much was lost in the translation! There are many amusing grammatical and vocab crashes. Some are virtually impossible to figure out what the author originally meant to say. Matters are compounded by uneven storytelling, out of sync topics, pictures and the usual inadequate maps. The book has the feel of an unproofed manuscript. Finally, it's hard to tell by the narrative that the book is about the 116th Panzer Division's Panther battalion. The story goes fuzzy right away -- forget about what happened to the rest of the Division -- and a whole bunch of other tanks and personnel from other formations join in for the telling. The book ironically seems to slide into a helter-skelter narration that I think unintentionally mirrors the chaos of the Wehrmacht's retreat from Normandy.
Too bad, because the author's intention to present fresh new angles on an old story, indeed from a French perspective, seem to me to have been run up onto a publishing reef. I wonder what the French version looks like.