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Tank Men [Paperback]

Robert Kershaw
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
RRP: 8.99
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Book Description

16 April 2009

'I thought Tank Men was a triumph ... it is a really fine piece of work' -

Richard Holmes

'Some of the eye witness accounts Kershaw has collected for this comprehensive review of tank warfare have the power to chill the reader to the bone. This is warfare at the sharp end' -NOTTINGHAM EVENING POST

The First World War saw the birth of an extraordinary fighting machine that has fascinated three generations: the tank.

In Tank Men, ex-soldier and military historian Robert Kershaw brings to life the grime, the grease and the fury of a tank battle through the voices of ordinary men and women who lived and fought in those fearsome machines.

Drawing on vivid, newly researched personal testimony from the crucial battles of the First and Second World Wars, this is military history at its very best.

Frequently Bought Together

Tank Men + Troop Leader: A Tank Commander's Story + D-Day to Victory: The Diaries of a British Tank Commander
Price For All Three: 22.47

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Product details

  • Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Hodder Paperbacks; 1st Paperback Printing edition (16 April 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0340923490
  • ISBN-13: 978-0340923498
  • Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 197,041 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


A highly original and valuable piece of military history. It ought to transform our idea of the Second World War, it has mine...a marvellous and origninal book based on the most detailed research. (Sir John Keegan)

I thought TANK MEN was a triumph ... it is a really fine piece of work (Richard Holmes)

Some of the eye witness accounts Kershaw has collected for this comprehensive review of tank warfare have the power to chill the reader to the bone. This is warfare at the sharp end. (Nottingham Evenong Post)

Very well written, with excellent photographs, it's an indispensable addition to the body of knowledge about modern warfare. (South Wales Argus)

Book Description

TANK MEN is the gripping first-hand story of the men and women who fought in tanks by a top military historian

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb, no other word for it... 19 April 2008
By Bobby Smith TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Wow! This is the book that sees Robert Kershaw take a deserved place at the top table of military historians in the UK. With the publication of 'Tank Men' he fully deserves to sit next to John Keegan, Richard Holmes, etc. 'Tank Men' is an outstanding book - full of interesting stories from men on the front line - from many different nationalities. Concentrating on the two world wars, Mr Kershaw manages to achieve the difficult task of breathing new life into subjects such as, Kursk, The Blitzkrieg in the West and the Desert campaign. Warning! This is not a book full of cliches. Oh no. Instead it is a thought provoking, respectful collection of interviews and concise historical narrative. In short a book that anyone interested in military history should buy. Truly an outstanding read (I finished my copy in three days - it was so good.)
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
I agree with other reviewers about the writing and the historical content which are excellent. However, I noted that the index contains references in roman numerals, which have no reference point in the book itself. I haven't seen the hardback version of this book, but I suspect the paperback is missing maps and appendices, which is what the roman numerals refer to. This seems to be a distressing trend and Mr. Kershaw's works have suffered from it before - see review by "kamehouse" of "It never snows in September", which is by a different publisher.

I have always found paperbacks to be simply a smaller format version of the original hardback, but now there seems to be a distressing trend on the part of publisher's to cut costs by simply omitting parts of the book!
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent read 14 Sep 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
As an ex army man who worked on post war tanks I was fascinated by this book. For anyone who thinks that the tank was a safe haven in war read this book. For all AFV modellers and re-enacters ( God preserve us ! ) who have never been involved with the real thing, read this book. To go into battle with a machine that is fundamentally flawed and inferior to your opponents machine requires a special kind of courage and the book exposes the criminal neglect of British tank design before and during WWII. All major combatants and campaigns are covered and it includes many personal accounts. Several people have criticised the book for its gramatical and typo errors and there are several passages that need re-reading before the meaning is understood but this is down to the poor proof reading ( if it ever took place ! )this is nit picking, the reason to read this book is to get an understanding of the horror of war and its effect on flesh, bone and mind. Read it.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stark reality 20 July 2008
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
A book for all politicians to read, especially before sending men off to war. It has changed my perception of the pain, exhaustion and pure terror of a near century of warfare; for example I had read accounts about the battle of Beda Fomm but they certainly did not prepare me for this description of harrowing reality. Although there is a concentration on the men, the material is adequately explained even for those with little preknowledge. There are one or two errors but the do not reduce the 5 stars this books deserves.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Covering both the period from the introduction of tanks during the First World War up to the end of the Second World War the book is a fascinating and well written account of the lives of the men who fought in tanks. This is given by using the history of the tank almost as a backdrop to the experiences of tank men with the use of a many first hand accounts and thoughts of these men. Two of the main themes are how man and machine where either helped or hinder by the tank's design and also the effect on the tank men of being either above of below the technology curve of tank development. This can be dramatically be seen by the Americans crews belief that a Sherman was more than a match for the likes of a Panther or Tiger. This was soon changed when they actually encounted one. As a follow on it is also interesting how the British managed to be left behind in tank design until the end of WWII while the Germans forged ahead from the primitive Panzer I to producing some of the most technically advanced tanks of WWII in just a few short years.

So if you want an insight into the lives of the men who fought in tanks, this is highly recommended. The only warning is that this is the not the history of tanks and so is relatively light on their development and technical aspects.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very moving 26 Aug 2010
I only bought this book on a whim as, although I love history, this wouldn't be the type of book I would normally buy. However what a great buy.

This is one of the best books I have read or bought in a long time. The human stories that unfold are incredable and very moving. This book I feel brought me as close to the horrors of war as I want to get to. To be any closer I think I would actually have to be there.

I would recommend this book to anyone, regardless of whether they are interested in tanks or not. It's not a technical piece of work but a human story of the tragedy of war, anyone who thinks war is glorious should read this - it may change their view. Very well written
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great book about unenviable job 31 July 2010
LIFE as a 'tanker' doesn't seem that attractive, it must be said.
Although, compared to the infantry, they are well protected, the chances of a grisly death are pretty high.
Taken from the view point of the crews, Tank Men begins with a quick run through the first ever appearance of these vehicles on the First World War battlefields.
Tank warfare only really took off in the next big conflict, and it is surprising to learn that Nazi tanks were significantly inferior to the British and French variants at the start of the war.
That was to change though, with the super-heavy Tigers and Panthers. The author reveals how the vastly inferior Shermans, which were made in huge quantities, were called 'Tommy Cookers' by the Germans, and 'Ronsons' by the British after the lighter which, according to the adverts 'lights first time, every time', due to their unfortunate capacity to catch fire after the first hit.
Gallows humour was widespread. One story recounted in the book has a new recruit asking: "How do you destroy a Tiger in a Churchill?" (another useless British tank), to be told: "You get within 200 yards and put a shell down its periscope."
"Has anyone ever done it?" was met with the inevitable answer: "No."
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 1 month ago by david jones
5.0 out of 5 stars personal accounts and more importantly what it's like to operate in...
I don't think the review which gave it a two is anyway close to the truth. As an ex tankie I'd vouch for this book any time and it full of facts, personal accounts and more... Read more
Published 2 months ago by N
5.0 out of 5 stars A reasonable history
It wouldn't have been my favourite book on tank men but it's well written and is a useful addition to my bookshelf. Read more
Published 4 months ago by GDD
2.0 out of 5 stars Jumbled, derivative
This is a hodgepodge of a few well-worn personal accounts together with a cursory strategic view, and will be a disappointment for anyone moderately familiar with the WWII... Read more
Published 6 months ago by Kindle Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars gripping
very factual book well written true to life.. makes you feel humble to these men who put their lives on the line for future generations
Published 10 months ago by Mr. W. J. D. Murphy
4.0 out of 5 stars Good read.
More about how the tanks were deployed rather than what they were like to live with day in day out.
Published 11 months ago by M. E. Finch
5.0 out of 5 stars The definitive account of early tank warfare. Outstanding!
Tank Men is simply put one of the most fantastic, well researched and illuminating books relating to WW2 that I have ever read. Read more
Published 15 months ago by Chief.
4.0 out of 5 stars Tank men
More interesting than many histories because it focuses more on the men in the tanks and the experience of tank war than just the historical events, whilst still providing the... Read more
Published 17 months ago by Dgb
4.0 out of 5 stars Tank men
A very good read which goes a long way towards making the reader appreciate the horrors that these brave men from whatever country endured
Published 18 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Cant put down book
Wow, such a well written and descriptive book, a good page turner and facinating insidght to tank battles and the men who suffered in them. Have no hesitation in getting this.
Published 18 months ago by Mr J Stanley
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