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26 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A most definite victory.
Field Marshal Von Manstein called his war-time memoirs- "Lost Victories".Unlike them this book by Major General Melvin is a most definite victory!Manstein,(unlike the much inferior Rommel) is little known in the west, because apart from the latter part of the French campaign, he spent the entire war on the Eastern Front.Major General Melvin makes a convincing and highly...
Published on 14 Feb 2011 by Dalgety

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Manstein
Too much of the book dwells on the postwar trial and ramblings on generals' mindsets. Good for background of Wehrmacht.
Published 5 months ago by George Hay


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5.0 out of 5 stars Melvin or "Lost Victories"?, 14 Jan 2014
By 
N. S. A. Edgar (The Netherlands) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Manstein: Hitler's Greatest General (Paperback)
Any good WWII military libray must include both Melvin's "Manstein" and Manstein"s "Lost Victories".

The only question is: What to read first?

If you want a brilliant and incisive overview, then it's Melvin.

If you are looking for detailed descriptions of battles and maps at the Division level, then it's "Lost Victories".

I have nothing further to add to the other excellent reviews, except to point out that Melvin includes a comprehensive chapter on the prosecution of Manstein for war crimes, which you will not find elsewhere.
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5.0 out of 5 stars An important contribution, 27 Aug 2013
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C. Simmonds (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Manstein: Hitler's Greatest General (Paperback)
This book does cobver the life of Manstein warts and all. It does not overlook Mansteins evasion of responsibility for the truly awful events that went on in his sphere of responsibility. It also draws you closeer to the mind and personality of one of the world's greatest generals. I would have liked to read more personal anecdotes about him as this would perhaps have given us a greater insight into this amazing man's personality.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A very balanced and well written biography - Excellent, 8 Jun 2013
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This is an excellent biography of a man rightly regarded as one of the great generals of history. The book is no hagiography however and offers a very balanced picture, and is a valuable counter to his own memoirs. Whilst well known to those with a keen interest in the second world war the name Manstein may not be familiar to many outside of Germany and the former USSR (although it is also true most British and American readers will have a very limited knowledge of the commanders who led their own armies in that war) and he has never had the recognition of lesser generals such as Rommel in the English speaking world. Manstein is revered by many as a military genius, an almost infallible titan who could have defeated the red army if only Hitler had given him a free hand. This school of though was encouraged by Manstein's own memoirs and supporters such as Liddell Hart after the war. These memoirs (Lost Victories) are one of the three essential memoirs to be published by a German participant after the war (the others being those of Speer and Guderian) and are quite simply required reading for anybody with an interest in that terrible war, however as with many memoirs of great leaders they are also self serving, selective with memory and far from balanced. There is another view of Manstein which is that he was a war criminal with hands drenched in blood and that he failed in his moral duties by co-operating with the ghastly crimes committed by the German regime. This view gained support many years after the war when research established that the idea of the good German army fighting a clean war unsullied by involvement with the crimes of the SS, SD and Nazi Party was a myth and that the German army was deeply implicated in the crimes of the Nazi regime. This book navigates a way through Manstein's career and neither falls into hagiography nor revisionist character assasination and does it in a very engaging way with a narrative drive. The book is a quite normal chronological biography and there is a large section on Manstein's performance at Nuremburg and his own trial for war crimes, both of which tend to be ignored in most histories of his military career. The book pays due attention to his military campaigns and paints a picture of a supremely gifted soldier. Manstein's plan for the defeat of France alone would merit a golden reputation as a military commander, however his performance in the Crimea and the military recovery following the Stalingrad disaster show he was most definitely not a one hit wonder. The book also shows that his performance during the Stalingrad relief efforts was certainly not beyond criticism and his views of the Kursk operation displayed a very real error of judgement. In his fighting retreat across the Ukraine it is hard to imagine any other commander matching his attempts to hold his front together and hold off the red army. Manstein's relationships with both Hitler and other German commanders is given good attention and the picture is of a commander loved by his subordinates but an awkward and irritating subordinate. With regard to the other side of things, the book raises questions over what Manstein did and did not know, where the picture blackens for Manstein is not so much in the review of his wartime career but rather the sections on the post war trials where the picture is of a man already re-writing history, being extremely selective with memory and pursuing a blind defence of the honour of the German army for the sake of posterity in the face of evidence that now shows that the myth of the good German army clean of any involvement in crimes was just that, a myth. Throughout his career this book demonstrates how Manstein fought with Hitler and other superiors on questions of military policy and command yet he never objected or questioned the ghastly crimes happening around him in the former USSR. His memoirs were a key part of rehabilitating the German army and constructing a myth in which every blunder and crime was laid at Hitler's door and of infallible generals. At a military level Manstein along with some (though by no means all) other German generals held on to the idea that the red army won the war thanks to a combination of Hitlers incompetence and sheer numbers and never accepted that far from just being a formless mass that after the initial disasters of 1941 the red army learned quickly and ended up as an extremely well led, well equipped and courageous army that defeated the German army in the field by both numbers and military merit. Perhaps the most telling verdict of this book was that Manstein was an operational genius but no strategist, a verdict which is well argued and persuasive.
Overall the impression I took from this book was of a brilliant but far from infallible military commander, of a decent and honorable man corrupted by his environment and of a man who never accepted his own role and responsibility for the crimes of the Hitler regime. The book is fair and balanced, and before being judgemental about those like Manstein we should all take a pause to consider our own likely behaviour if we were living in a totalitarian and morally corrosive society such as the Germany of Hitler. Very highly recommended indeed, a 5* book.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Thoughtful, 17 Jan 2013
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R. G. Lappage "Ritchie" (wiltshire) - See all my reviews
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A very interesting look at "the Other side" of the war. A man, a tactical genius and a soldier who would not go against or plot against the goverment of the day no matter his personal opinions. How much he actually knew about the war crimes he was accused of is uncertain. He comes across as an honest and decent soldier who was concerned about his troops and his country and ultimately tried his best for both of them. An excellent read.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Manstein: Hitler's Greatest General, 28 Dec 2012
By 
M. AZMITIA "Den" (Newport, RI USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Manstein: Hitler's Greatest General (Paperback)
It is a good book that give you with facts a good understanding of Manstein and his battle skills in WWII.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A must for knowing Manstein, 20 Aug 2012
This review is from: Manstein: Hitler's Greatest General (Paperback)
This is one of those books that sets a standard and leaves one wishing the author had another title on another German general. I'll leave it to other reviewers to break down the content, but I just wanted to say it's worth the time and money. Five stars!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Manstein: Hitler's Greatest General, 13 Feb 2012
This review is from: Manstein: Hitler's Greatest General (Paperback)
As someone who is endeavoring to become an Army Officer, one feels it is incumbent on any erudite soldier to study
the axiom's of friend and foe alike.
Strategies and tactics from yesteryear can still be utilized now and well into the future, Clausewitzian doctrine
is still in vogue and will remain relevant for sometime. ''A swift and vigorous assumption of the offensive--the flashing sword of vengeance--is the most brilliant point in the defensive''
General Rupert Smith whose excellent new conception The Utility of Force, which has at its kernel: ''War amongst the People'' agrees with this assertion.
One must not discriminate upon the sources of constructive military theory, put simply, the criteria; if it is useful,
one should embrace and assimilate it.
Framed within this context much biographic material has been published in recent times, but General Mungo Melvin's book on the pre-eminent
Field marshal Manstein is a significant pièce de résistance on one of the greatest military minds the world has produced.
Yes, ingenious, yes, a master of operational design, yes, a master of all facets of the art of arms.
General Melvin's acute ability at being able to comprehensively dissert the essence of Field Marshal Manstein, not only in a
chronological sense, which he does superbly, but also getting inside the internal dynamic, the intrigues, the innovation, the
frustration and also on a psycho-social level with much needed pointillistic detail, academic nuances, impeccably researched
with much attention to detail with regard to sources and background developments.
Manstein's development of post WWI military doctrine (influenced in no small part by British General JFC Fuller), his innovative planning of the invasion of France via the Ardennes, known as the Manstein plan, his conquest of the Crimea and the conduct of his campaign in the Eastern Theatre.
A lot of tributaries and confluences are encountered, lateral light is thrown on many areas that we have linearly taken for granted,
if only they had...How? Well...New needed thinking is generated.
It truly is a fascinating work that will stand the test of time and should be studied by any intending or serving Army Officer
who is serious about his profession.
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4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Flawed general, 3 Sep 2012
By 
Dr Barry Clayton (United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Manstein: Hitler's Greatest General (Paperback)
This book is a good read if you want detail about operations during WW2. Whether or not Manstein was a military genius is open to question. I certainly would not give L.Hart's opinion too much credence as he was so dreadfully wrong about so many things. Also,his admiration for German Generals despite their behaviour in the war has been well documented.
For me the weakness of this book is that the author skates too quickly over Manstein's involvement in the murder of Jews, and the barbaric treatment of Russian men women and children during the invasion of the Soviet Union. Having read all the available documents, including German and Russian, I have no doubt whatsoever that Manstein was fully aware of the Holocaust and what his troops were doing in Russia and elsewhere.
He is one of thousands of Germans who after the war found it very convenient to pretend to be ignorant of Nazi atrocities, and, sadly, many in this country fell for it.Better organised criminal procedures for trying Nazis in 1945 may well have found Manstein guilty of systematic murder and sentenced him to death instead of a derisory prison sentence.
Manstein's military competence in the Ardennes offensive has also been much exaggerated. His logistical errors were hardly those of a 'genius'.
If indeed Manstein was a genius, he was an evil one.
At times this book smacks of an exaggerated admiration by one military man for another. Such views were, unfortunately. not uncommon after 1945. Many British senior ranks were in favour of dropping all charges against senior German officers on the spurious grounds that they were only obeying orders. No matter that those orders were evil. A number of historians have wondered what would Manstein and many other German Generals have done if Hitler had won the war.I doubt if there would have been any regrets about what they ordered to be done.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Profile of a skilled man, doing a nasty job well., 7 Jan 2014
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Well written - yet not entirely exonerating.

Von Mansteins job was made much more difficult by two general staffs - an ill equipped army in several respects - and a commander in chief who seems to have declined in mental stature between 1939 from moderately talented to a dribbling retard in 1942-43 (possibly caused by Syphilitic infection? - one passage regarding Hitlers health does show a striking similarity to tabes dorsalis, a late stage symptom of Syphilis) . Notwithstanding Von Manstein managed to hold things together and ignore, and more importantly cause to be ignored, some of the more stupid & unpleasant orders from Berlin.
A portrait of an Honourable man in what became a dishonorable war treated dishonorably later for events he had arguably nothing to do with and no control over.

Well worth making into a historical documentary to be honest - after all a little more honesty in the reporting of WW2 wouldn't go amiss...
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Manstein by Mungo Melvin, 22 Sep 2011
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This review is from: Manstein: Hitler's Greatest General (Paperback)
From ordering to delivery only took a few days and the book arrived in excellent condition. Eric von Manstein is not a well known name amongst the elite of German
generals but was credited with being the brains behind many of the European and Russian campaigns in WW2. The fact that he spent a major portion of his carrier in
the OKH (German Army High Command) meant he never became a household name like Rommel. Mungo Melvin makes reference to other books which have been written about Manstein, including his autobiography, and gives a balanced view about his strengths and weaknesses. There are a number of detailed maps which help you understand the various campaigns but limited analysis of why Manstein was considered by many a military genius. Still a worthy addition to the many books on WW2.
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Manstein: Hitler's Greatest General
Manstein: Hitler's Greatest General by Major General Mungo Melvin OBE (Paperback - 3 Mar 2011)
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