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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A soldiers view, 26 Nov. 2002
This review is from: Alamein (Hardcover)
The danger with Alamein is that it has been written about ad nauseum so it is hard to find a fresh aproach, Mr Latimer has managed to do this. He is not afraid to challenge conventional myths and is very convincing in demonstrating that the Italian troops were very good indeed and would fight well despite their equipment. They surrendered in such large numbers as they had no transport to escape in, given a choice of surrender or dying of thirst there is not much choice. The treatment of the great men themselves is very even handed. Rommel is shown as the vital dynamic leader he surely was but this is balanced by his poor understanding of the logistic problems caused by desert warfare which is why he consistantly failed to finish off the Commonwealth army. Monty gets a similar critical treatment. In the past books I have read on the subject the generals are saints or sinners, its nice to have an overview.
The strength of this book is the detailed treatment of the individual regiments and their backgrounds with the effects this had on their performance. This in particular shows the authors military background and his understanding of the regimental system with all it inherent strengths and weaknesses.
However this does not mean that the bigger picture is not covered and I was surprised to learn that Alamein was won as much from Malta as in the desert. Likewise the authors previous work is shown by a lengthy treatment of the actions leading to the battle. In fact the book is more about the campaign than the battle of Alamein which in my view is a good thing.
A very readable book bringing together many threads and can only be heartily recommended.
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30 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Desert Fox Out-foxed, 18 Jun. 2002
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S Greaves (Chippendale, NSW Australia) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Alamein (Hardcover)
Alamein, a new book by Jon Latimer on this pivotal Desert War battle, is one of the best accounts I have read of a major engagement in any period. The author pays attention not only to the tactical events of the battle itself, but also to its strategic importance, with particular emphasis placed on logistics. Too often, military historians write about battles as occurring in some sort of vacuum where the troops and vehicles need no supplies and need not contend with the effects of climate. Reading this book, with its extensive quotes from participants of all ranks and nationalities, has given me new insights into this important theatre of the Second World War. For example, Latimer portrays Rommel as a brilliant tactician but an indifferent quartermasterm,and elevates Montgomery's deliberate approach to the preparations for the battle (such as burning all plans for retreat)to a higher level than the usual criticisms of Monty as cautious and solely relying on greater numbers of men and weapons. Latimer gives great emphasis on the role the Commonwealth artillery had in securing victory over the Axis forces, in detail and clarity I have not read before.
Many of the photographs were new to me,and the Orders of Battle in the Appendices make clear the organisation of both armies, helpful for readers doing their own research.
The maps are helpful in understanding a battle with (to a Western reader) unfamiliar Arabic place names; however I would have liked more maps of battalion-level actions, as these figure so prominently in the text.
This small point aside, I thoroughly recommend Alamein to all those interested in WWII or military history in general. Its readable and informal style will make it most accessible to a wide audience.
Stan Greaves, Sydney, Australia.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Good all round effort on the great desert battle...., 19 May 2014
This review is from: Alamein (Paperback)
My father recommended this book to me and said I wouldn't be able to put it down, he was right and I found Latimer's style easy to follow and was pitched at just the right level for me at the time. The book manages to cover all the aspects of the book you would expect, from first hand accounts of the thick of the battle, to the political and high end military points, and all the strategical aspects such as the need to control the Mediterranean approaches from Malta down to Africa. It was not just a battle won from Montys persistence and ability to muster the necessary forces to increase the chances of victory, but also the total war effort right throughout the British high command when they eventually started to get their act together. Still after all that it takes thousands of individual acts of bravery and brilliance to make victory complete against a still very powerful foe. This book provides all you need in this respect and I thoroughly recommend it even if you are well versed on the battle or you are not.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent condition and Good read, 28 May 2014
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This review is from: Alamein (Paperback)
For a second hand book it looks as though it has hardly been opened. A perfect companion for those with an interest in the second world war desert campaign--particularly if relatives fought in that campaign
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Alamein
Alamein by Jon Latimer (Paperback - 20 Mar. 2008)
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