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Panzerkrieg: The Rise and Fall of Hitler's Tank Divisions Hardcover – 27 Jun 2002

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Constable (27 Jun. 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1841193925
  • ISBN-13: 978-1841193922
  • Product Dimensions: 24.1 x 16.5 x 3.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,232,426 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


'(a) well organised and well written study.' -- Contemporary Review, August 1, 2002

Book Description

The epic story of the German fighting machines and the men of the Panzerwaffe

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Franklin Wilberforce on 12 Aug. 2002
Format: Hardcover
This is THE book for anyone who wants to learn all about Nazi Germany's mighty panzers. Panzerkrieg is the only book I know of that covers the whole story from the tank's debut in WWI to Germany's final collapse in May 1945 and it manages to do so in an extremely readable way. Along with a fast paced narrative which keeps you turning the pages, the book features a good selection of pictures and uncluttered maps of the major battles.
Even though I'm a WWII fan, I hadn't realised how significant the panzers really were until I read this book. It puts their achievements into true perspective. They were at the forefront of every German battle and campaign of the war from the invasion of France to the Battle of the Bulge and in the final analysis were only defeated by airpower and the sheer weight of material the Allies brought to bear. And of course Hitler's bungling played a major part in the Panzerwaffe's destruction. The reader is left wondering what they could have achieved without his interference.
McCarthy and Syron have really brought this epic to life along with the amazing men and machines who made up the Panzerwaffe. The real star of the book is Heinz Guderian, the charismatic general acknowledged as the father of the Panzerwaffe, but generals Rommel and Manstein also play prominent parts in the story. As far as the tanks go, I'm still having nightmares about the mighty King Tiger, an armoured behemoth which could hold its own even on today's battlefields.
Whether shivering on the Steppes or sweltering in the North African desert, the German tankmen always gave it their best shot. This book is a worthy record of their victories and defeats and I recommend it to anyone who wants to know more about their story, regardless of whether you're a student of military history or a general reader.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Thaddeus G. Blanchette on 28 Dec. 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I picked this book up for a pound during Amazon UK's Christmas 2013 Kindle sale. I am ever so glad I didn't pay the suggested retail price!

While not a horrible book, "Panzerkrieg" suffers from a lack of serious editting and from its own authors' relative lack of historical research. This wouldn't be such a bad thing if it weren't for the fact that German panzers and the development of the blitzkrieg are hardly obscure topics.

"Panzerkrieg" reads as if it were a master's thesis cobbled together at the last moment by a lazy yet intelligent student who plagarized the existing literature in a half-assed manner. Furthermore, although the authors have some talent as writers - and at times this is just enough to keep one reading, even though the material itself is lackluster - this book apparently never passed through the hands of a competent editor. We are thus subjeced to repeated descriptions of how and why the Pz I and II were inadequate, for example, along with clumsy composition and a narrative thread that often runs forward years in advance before dropping back to a given chapter's topic.

In short, it's not at all a satisfying read.

But what makes things really frustrating are the obvious historical errors which could've been easily remedied with a simple wikipedia search.

Knowledgeable readers will thus be surprised to hear, for example, that attack chariots were significant, war-winning components of Ceaser's and Alexander's armies. American military historians will be tickled to learn that George S. Patton, well-educated and born into a priviledged middle-class Californian family, was a "redneck".
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By T. D. Welsh TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 27 Mar. 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
For a comprehensive, balanced, and extremely readable introduction to the German armoured forces in WW2, this book is unbeatable. In less than 300 pages it manages to combine a brief history of the development of tanks in WW1 and the interwar period, the emergence of German Panzer forces and philosophy, all the major campaigns undertaken by the German army and Waffen-SS in WW2, pen portraits of such luminaries as Heinz Guderian, Erwin Rommel, Gerd von Rundstedt, Hans Hube, Hermann Balck, and Hyazinth von Strachwitz, descriptions of all the important armoured fighting vehicles (AFVs), and analysis of the lessons learned. There are 11 campaign maps, 50 black and white photographs of men and machines, bibliography, glossary, index, and three appendices giving details of equivalent ranks, Panzer division establishments, and brief histories of the leading Panzer divisions.

The authors have a deep knowledge of their subject, and don't pull any punches in exploding myths and misconceptions. For instance, they pour scorn on William L Shirer's awed description of the fully mechanised German army that invaded Poland, with self-propelled guns travelling at 40 mph - pointing out that only a tiny fraction of the German troops got to ride in vehicles, while the great majority were left to march "with no better mobility than Napoleon's armies". (And no tank during WW2 could do much better than 20 mph, even on good roads - which were the exception).
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