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2.8 out of 5 stars21
2.8 out of 5 stars
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on 22 January 2012
I have enjoyed many of Conroy's works and was looking forward to this one, but for those who read his last one - 1945 Red Inferno with the Western Allies going to war with Stalin's Soviet Union, you will find this one similar with the Americans holding centre stage and the British and French relegated to limited supporting roles in the war. I dont remember the others - Poles, Canadians, Dutch, Belgians, Czechs, New Zealanders, Indians, South Africans, etc being mentioned at all sadly.

SPOILER ALERT -
A great concept overall, that Hitler is killed in June 1944 and Himmler takes control and in this story makes more rational decisions about the deployment of the Army letting the actual Generals fight the war- for example abandoning Norway, Italy and the Courland peninsula so as to straighten and strengthen the main defence lines. A truce with USSR seemed feasible in this story.

However what is annoying is many mistakes like saying the British 1st Airborne dropped in to Normandy when it was the 6th, many typos but worst of all I felt was showing how the British were clamouring for peace and an end to the war just because Hitler was dead, and with the French divided again (in this story and in the last one) between De Gaulle supporters and Communists the Americans are the main backbone and advocate to continue the war against Nazi Germany! I found this very hard to accept since historically the Americans only joined the war in 1941 after they were attacked by the Japanese and then Hitlers declaration of war on them yet now they and not the British who had been fighting since 1939 want to fight on, and as I said above seem to do all the work.

The inclusion of a German Nuclear weapon team was interesting and key to the plot for a while but not based on reality. History tells us that the Germans were decades behind the Western Allies especially as they had forced/scared off many key German Jewish scientists.

I felt too that could have been more actual battle scenes and fighting. We do get some and glimpses of others but its mainly conversations and some unusual sex scenes thrown in.

Better than many of Turtledove's efforts however but not as good as the great S M Stirling's books.

I would recommend two other great similar stories - Colin Gee's Red Gambit series and Seelowe Nord by Andy Johnson. The Germans invade England in 1940 but on the Yorkshire coast flanking the main defences in south east England, both very interesting and entertaining and much better than Himmlers war.

So, a good idea with some good moments but a missed chance again from a writer who constantly returns to the theme that the Americans won World War 2 by themselves in the alternative worlds, and probably in history too. A bit disappointing overall.
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on 26 May 2012
A missed opportunity. There are better alternate histories. This is worse than many of the plots discussed on AlternateHistory.com.

The book would have benefitted from being better edited. There are glaring errors in the narrative; any non-US ally is relegated to exhausted/cowardly or just ignored; and some of the "facts" used (e.g. calling DUKW an acronym) are simply wrong.

Save your cash.
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on 3 April 2012
What a load of rubbish.I know this is a alternate history but even when referring to real events the author gets it wrong.Of course being american it really is about how America won the war with the odd passing mention of the "English" war effort although this normally takes the form of explaining what a boor Montgomery was and how many of the problems encountered were down to him and the "English" attitude at this time to the war.I dont suppose i have to mention by now how great the American generals were.One other thing,I dont know who these people are on the back cover who gave such first class reviews but hey maybe they were paid to do so. A shame really because the Americans can produce first class authors but this man is not one of them. My Advice give this one a miss.You wont be missing anything
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on 15 February 2014
The initial idea of Hitler being killed and the German army being allowed to fight the kind of war they wanted initially appealed to me. However, it's just another book about how the Yanks won the war all by themselves, totally forgetting everything done by everyone else during the war. Oh, the Russians get quite a lot of a look in but as a whole any country or character that isn't American is treated in a typically stereotypical fashion and are portrayed as being of no use militarily. I think that American authors of this genre really ought to read some proper history on the period they're writing about - just maybe one of them may click onto the fact that a hell of a lot had been achieved in the three years before they even appeared on the scene and a hell of a lot was accomplished successfully by forces that weren't American after they finally arrived late on the scene. If this were done then the resulting books would be more balanced and less bloody insulting to the memory of the men and women from all the other countries involved who gave their all to overthrow the Nazi regime.
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on 10 May 2014
This book fails on so many levels. Firstly, It arrived three months after I ordered it with no explanation.
As an alternate history, the book takes a plausible premise, in which Hitler is killed by a random allied bombing raid, and without his interference and insistence on static defence, the forces of the Reich organise a much stiffer defence against both the allies and the USSR. The actual idea of the defensive plan is mostly sound, essentially where they fall back to Germany's Natural borders and build stiff defensive lines whilst using jet fighters to harry the allied approach. The letdown is the fact that this seems to be the only plausible piece of alternate history in the book. They somehow find a way to make peace with the USSR (after murdering 30 million of it's citizens no less), actually buy hundreds of T-34s of them, mange to somehow plant a nuke right in the middle of Moscow and blow it up (seriously conroy, skorzeny was a commando, not a magician), and in the end nothing they do makes the slightest difference as their first engagement with the Americans bruises them so much they surrender. And that's not all. The british are portrayed as trying desperately to stop fighting the war (because they're "tired" of it), the Russians just can't wait to betray their allies and the Americans appear to be Morally righteous liberators and the only partner willing to actually do anything, most of which seems to be slogging through countryside talking about women and setting each other up, occasionally blowing superior german tanks away with ease. The book has so little actual combat it feels more like a family drama that happens to be set during the war, and Conroy's obsession with romances and half baked sex scenes manages to fill more of the plot that the actual history does. His characters are the same characters that you will find in every single novel by this author.. The beleaguered green mid ranking officer, his experienced superior and sidekick, the grumpy guy, The love interest, The token Bad guys, The token young character on the bad guy's side forced into the war unwillingly and desperate to get home, The eager Axis patriot who hates the regime and will inevitable betray them. All are simple renames of the same characters that Conroy has used in every book that he's ever written, and all are more interested in getting their love interest than actually... oh don't know, fighting the war. The plot is even largely the same, in which America will take a resoundant pounding for three quarters of the book then spin around and win the war in a blow at the end. And even the climax consists of one man getting blown up in a tank.
So, as you will doubtless have gathered by now, I didn't enjoy this. It reeks of the same Jingoism and American centric re writing of history that defines all of Conroy's work, but this one is all the more insufferable due to the sheer dislocation from reality, and the complete lack of the "war", and indeed the "Himmler" in Himmler's war.
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on 28 February 2012
Was really excited when i saw this book on amazon. I found the book really disappointing with very few in depth battles and the story seemed to drag along and found i had to force myself to carry on reading. Good all round story that never reached it's full potential. Authors's other books i have read were quite good. If you are looking for a simillar story about Himmler taking charge of germany in July 1944 try Fox on The Rhine by Douglas Nileson and Michael Dobson and the sequel Fox at the FRont both outstanding books. Avoid Himmler's War you will be disappointed as i was.
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A novel of alternate history [stories that depict how things might have gone had something key in history happened differently. Just in case you've no familarity with the genre].

It runs for five hundred and two pages and is divided into twenty seven chapters.

It opens with a brief note from the writer, explaining where the story departs from real history. In this case, what if Hitler had been killed before the end of the second world war? In this story it's not by the bomb plotters of July 1944, rather by an allied air raid.

Without him around, demanding that no conquered territories be given up and not allowing any retreat, the German army might have been free to fight the war they wanted to.

Which is what happens here. Hitler is killed by a bomb. Himmler seizes power. And allows the Generals to come up with the strategies they think can save Germany.

As is usual for this genre, there are a whole host of characters. Some are real historical figures. Some are the creations of the writer. You follow the story through each of their experiences. Which means that some things do happen off screen. Creating the very real effect of people seeing history unfolding around them.

The main character is Jack Morgan, U.S. Army Captain and former Bomber pilot. We follow his experiences from heading to Normandy and joining an armored regiment there.

There are some reasonably interesting divergences from history as we know it as a result of the way things then unfold. The writing doesn't glamourise conflict nor does it shy away from depicting the horrors of warfare or the things that the ordinary combatants had to put up with.

Most of the focus is on American and German characters. The British are only mentioned rather than seen, and Montgomery does come in for criticism - but that's a matter of the perception of the characters, rather than the writer using them as a mouthpiece - but there is one British soldier who is amongst the viewpoint characters who is down to earth and decent and does some heroic things.

There's some strong language and a few adult situations. The narrative unfolds at a capable pace and the plot does manage a couple of decent surprises later on.

It doesn't break new ground and those who've read the writer's earlier works might feel some deja vu. Also, Morgan does get a bit less interesting as a character as the story goes on. But some of the other characters are reasonably three dimensional and do hold the interest.

The writer does seem to be one whose work will divide opinion. But as a fan of this particular genre I found this a pretty good read.
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on 6 March 2013
Very disappointed with this. Normally Conroy at least gets his "real" history right, and is good on things like weapons and army dispositions etc. This was very slapdash, lots of technical errors that annoyed the history nerd in me before before I even got to the biggest problem, a painfully thin plot. Apart from a slight diversion into the Nazis getting nuclear weapons ahead of the Americans (and we know that from a divergence with "real" history of mid-1944 that was simply impossible), but which actually had no bearing on the main plot of the story anyway, there was nothing surprising or interesting about the story, which was 90% filler to get to one main battle, and even that wasn't that interesting once we got to it.

I also found the critique of Montgomery taken wholesale from the Steven Ambrose school of anti-English sentiment a bit irritating, but accept this book is primarily designed to appeal to the US market, so I made allowances, but I just thought it was a lazy way to make the whole thing US-centric.

I've enjoyed (and reviewed) other Robert Conroy books in the past, but I'm afraid I can't give this a recommendation at all.
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on 12 December 2012
Mills and boon stuff. I don't mind a far stretched story but this is sooo predictable. I actually didn't bother finishing the book!
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on 25 December 2012
Having read some of the reviews for this paperback I nevertheless decided to buy Himmler's War. I actually found it to be a rather good read and the alternative WW2 held up rather well.It did delve into the various war attitudes of the British,French and indeed Americans whilst covering in depth Stalin's view on life. On balance, Mr Conroy covered the varying attitudes to the war well. Some regarded Churchill as a Warmonger for example whilst others considered him a hero. It does focus on the American Forces but then so does all of Hollywood ! Would Stalin have sold war equipment to Himmler? Probably yes. Overall I enjoyed the book as a good read.
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