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4.0 out of 5 stars Novel approach, accurate or not
The fact that this book is written like a novel made it a very enjoyable read. I picked up a few inaccuracies on the way myself, but at the end of the day, unless you were actually there (which is understandable), then who cares.
In hindsight after reading other reviews, I'd have preferred a more accurate read, but the bottom line is that the Tiger WAS captured and...
Published on 11 Sept. 2012 by Chopper V

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39 of 39 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Don't believe everything you see in print
I have just finished reading a book I bought recently on the recommendation of a friend. Now that I have finished it I may have to reconsider his recommendations in future! Catch that Tiger purports to be the true story of the capture of Tiger 131 based on the secret diaries of the man tasked with the hunt by non other than Churchill himself; Major Doug Lidderdale. Taken...
Published on 19 Sept. 2012 by Amazon Customer

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39 of 39 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Don't believe everything you see in print, 19 Sept. 2012
This review is from: Catch That Tiger (Hardcover)
I have just finished reading a book I bought recently on the recommendation of a friend. Now that I have finished it I may have to reconsider his recommendations in future! Catch that Tiger purports to be the true story of the capture of Tiger 131 based on the secret diaries of the man tasked with the hunt by non other than Churchill himself; Major Doug Lidderdale. Taken at face value this is an amazing story of daring do and straight out of the pages of Boys Own. I don't have a problem with a good yarn but I do have a problem if its presented as fact. So is this book fact or fiction, or a mixture of both?

What do we know for certain? Records show that Major AD Lidderdale was the officer commanding No 104 Tanks Workshop REME based near Tunis at the time of 131's capture. The first official documented connection between Lidderdale and Tiger 131 was when the 104th were tasked with supervising the recovery operation on the 7 May, over two weeks after the action in which it was abandoned by its crew. His unit went on to repair and overhaul the captured Tiger so it could be evaluated and filmed for recognition purposes. While still in North Africa the Tiger was visited by several VIP's including Churchill, General Alexander and King George VI. Lidderdale then accompanied the Tiger back to England and was the author of the initial technical report on the tank in November 1943. All of these are accepted and substantiated facts.

The book doesn't dispute these facts but does elaborate and expand them into a tale, which if true, beggars belief and would rank as one of the great true life action stories of WWII.

The central claim is that Lidderdale was personally ordered by Churchill to bag him a tiger. He then put together a team of engineers and waited for a Tiger to get into trouble. Then the story gets wild! They watched the action at Jebel Jaffa and saw a Tiger crew clearly struggling with a jammed turret. Lidderdale then claims his makeshift team assaulted the tiger, killing its crew in the process. If this is true this is an incredible piece of missing information as the fate of the Tiger 131's crew has always remained a mystery.

Having captured the tank his men moved it closer to the allied lines before abandoning it so it could be found by the 48 RTR the next morning! Two reasons were given for this seeming act of madness; first was that as engineers it would have been politically embarrassing for the local commanders and it was deemed prudent to let front line forces 'capture' the Tiger; second Lidderdale's secret mission from Churchill wouldn't have remained a secret for very long if the truth had come out at the time. The assumption was that the truth would be revealed at a later date but for reasons not made clear this never happened and the 'mission' was only recorded in Lidderdale's diaries and the stories he told his young son after the war.

However I - and other commentators on several WWII forums - have major problems with this book ranging from its style, its historical accuracy and the fact that it is based on as yet unpublished documentary evidence of uncertain quality. Lets look at each of these points in turn.

The Style of the book is unashamedly 'docu-drama' in format. This isn't your typical history book and in the prologue the authors make it clear that conversations presented in the story are "speculative in nature". Within just a couple of pages it is clear that what the authors call 'speculative' actually means completely fictional. Be under no doubt that most of the conversations in this book are not reconstructed based on documented letters, diaries and recollections. These are pieces of pure imagination and entertainment.

As one forum commentator stated "The book appears to be a blend of fact, over-dramatised fact, dubious fact, tongue-in-cheek fact/fiction, pure fiction and likely pure invention". Without references it is impossible to tell one type from another and so all must be treated with extreme caution. The problem is that when you take out the dubious conversational exchanges you are left with a very slender book. The obvious inference is that these were added to fill out the story.

This leads to my second criticism of the book, its historical accuracy. There are lots of minor inaccuracies in the book that have been picked up by other reviewers. Some of this appears to be a bit nit-picking but there are some 'assumptions' and statements made in the book that just cannot be substantiated. One example was the books assertion that King George VI visited North Africa purely to visit the captured Tiger. This of course raises the profile of the tanks capture and adds weight to the idea that Major Lidderdale's 'secret mission' was a war wining moment. The truth however is that the George VI's visit to the region had been planned long before the capture of the Tiger making the authors version of events a piece of pure creative hyperbole at best and bad research at worst.

There are plenty more examples like this throughout the book where the authors appear to make assumptions and jump to conclusions that you would not expect to find in the work of more learned and respected historians. But for me the real nail in the coffin where accuracy is concerned is the fact that the book is devoid of any citations for any of the chapters. There is no bibliography, no appendices with supporting documents and no references at any point in the text. Given that we are being asked to accept this story as dramatic new evidence of a previously unknown operation then it is surely incumbent on the authors to provide some evidence. From what I can tell the only 'new' documentary evidence comes from Major Lidderdale's diaries, which have yet to be published or scrutinised by anyone other than the authors.

The authors posted an explanation of their sources on the WW2Talk forum in response to similar criticisms of mine but far from dispelling scepticism they only managed to confirm the suspicions of reviewers. "The whole thing came about through Major Lidderdale's diaries being given to us by his son, David...We also had many hours of tape recordings of David recounting the stories that were told to him by his father" [my emphasis]. I'm afraid that tall war stories alone are not a credible source on which to make such wild and frankly incredible claims.

So having now shredded this book you might be surprised to hear that I actually enjoyed reading it! If you can set aside the claim that it is non-fiction and instead read it as a historical novel its not a bad read. Its a war story straight out of the pages of Boys Own or Commando and would sit quite nicely next to the works of Bernard Cornwall and Wilbur Smith. The problem is it isn't presented as fiction and the Authors make some pretty big claims in their book and are passing it off as truth. Worse still the book has been 'reviewed' by several major newspapers and online retainers who have reinforced the idea that this book represents 'the truth'. Catch that Tiger isn't a good history book, but is a ripping good yarn.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Let's re-write history, 9 Mar. 2013
This review is from: Catch That Tiger (Hardcover)
As my father was there with the Royal Tank Regiment when this famous Tiger was captured it was a book I had to get - what a mistake! Having served in the Royal Tank Regiment myself and having studied this subject all my life, I already have a huge libery of books on military history and particulary tanks. This book will not be joining them on my book shelf as it is pure fiction, written in the style of a novel - and not a very good one at that. It reminded me of the old boys comic books and is full of both historic and technical inaccuracies.
*IMPORTANT*
I have just received the 'Tank Times' from Bovington Tank Museum in which there is an artical about this book. Here is one paragraph:
'The leters that Doug Lidderdale wrote before his death in 1999 would make uncomfortable reading for anyone who accepts the claims made in 'Catch That Tiger'. Because whilst he was heavily envolved in the story of Tiger 131, he clearly admits he wasn't there when it was captured.'
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Comic Book!, 12 Sept. 2012
By 
Robert Mitchell (Kings Heath, Birmingham) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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This review is from: Catch That Tiger - Churchill's Secret Order That Launched The Most Astounding and Dangerous Mission of World War II (Kindle Edition)
This is a piece of crash, bang,wallop of the sort I used to read in Champion! Dreadfully written and with no factual content. The so called conversations with Churchill are comic to the point of imbecility. A complete waste of money.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars low brow, 6 July 2013
This review is from: Catch That Tiger (Paperback)
A badly written book with cliche caracters, supposedly based on a true story, but it reads more like a childrens action comic book. Then it abruptly ends with no mention as to what if anything was learned from capturing the Tiger. This book is destined for the bargain book shop very soon. I read it over two nights, and chucked it on my charity shop pile, it's down to less than £3 on Amazon already, the sign of a true turd.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars nonsense, 17 Sept. 2013
This review is from: Catch That Tiger (Paperback)
I have never previously, with any book, elected to write a review however this publication has compelled me to set something down. This is, quite simply, a dreadful book. It is poorly written, of questionable historical accuracy and a complete waste of money. I purchased my copy in a publisher's outlet at a much reduced priced and already miss my £2.99 which could have been put to much better use!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Comic Boys Own Adventure, 2 Sept. 2013
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This review is from: Catch That Tiger (Paperback)
My father was a gun loader in a Crusader in North africa in1942 and saw action at El Alamein.

He rarely spoke about the war but I was able to get a impression of tank war in the desert in conversations we had in his later life.

The picture painted in this book is pure boy's own comic. Pipe sucking majors saying 'Hello chaps any one up for a bit of Jerry hunting'
is just pantomime fiction.

Presumable the diaries provided a good base for an accurate historical account of how the tiger was obtained.

The authors have done us all a diservice.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Agree with other reviewers, 18 Feb. 2014
By 
J. Jackson - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Catch That Tiger (Paperback)
This is simply a badly written book. If the actual capture of the tiger happened as it was depicted in this book, it would have made a good magazine article. The rest is padded out,made up, inaccurate (in the extreme), and theres even a hitler bad sex scene. Avoid.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Badly researched and written...., 15 Aug. 2012
By 
Mr. John M. Pigott (UK - St Albans) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Catch That Tiger - Churchill's Secret Order That Launched The Most Astounding and Dangerous Mission of World War II (Kindle Edition)
Maybe I should have suspected when I saw the Kindle price. But I didn't, and bought it anyway. A disappointment.
While I'm sure the tale of how Tiger 131 was captured and retrieved is an interesting story, this is not it. This book is full of hackneyed phrases and historical inaccuracies, and would possibly be out of place in a kids comic.
Don't bother.

Catch That Tiger - Churchill's Secret Order That Launched The Most Astounding and Dangerous Mission of World War II
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48 of 57 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A book that "captured' my money, 16 July 2012
By 
Gerry Chester (USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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This review is from: Catch That Tiger (Hardcover)
On reaching page 17 finds a Lieutenant lying to the Prime Minister. Churchills did not arrive in Tunisia until February 1942 and no Tigers were deployed at El Alemain.

A few pages later we find Churchill lying to a Major, thereafter the lies in the text go on and on.

This book, classified as being non-fiction, dishonour those who crewed, and sometimes died, aboard Churchills in Tunisia - the writer of this comment was one of them.

Complete documentary proof is available to back up the above statements.

Sergeant Arthur Gerald Chester, North Irish Horse, 25th Tank Brigade.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good but contains many inaccuracies, 4 Sept. 2012
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This review is from: Catch That Tiger (Hardcover)
" Catch That Tiger" supposedly tells the full and true story of the capture of Tiger 131 ,the first Tiger Tank to fall into Allied hands. The first surprise is that it is written like a novel rather than a non - fiction historical work. The main problem with this book however is that although some sections are very accurate ,others are riddled with technical errors. Here are just a few I spotted - "Isle of Aran (sic) in the Firth of Forth" - should be "Isle of Arran in the Firth of Clyde".The "Flower Class" corvette was described as a fast vessel when in fact it was very slow due to its steam piston engine. The worst chapter in the book describes an air battle between German and British aircraft in the Bay of Biscay. The Germans are supposedly using Junkers 87 Stuka bombers to attack shipping by dropping torpedoes in a diving attack (The Ju 87 was actually a dive bomber not a torpedo bomber). A Stuka pilot then shoots down a Beaufighter and a Mosquito using "wing mounted cannon" The Stuka actually had two wing mounted 7.9mm machine guns and was no match for a Beaufighter or Mosquito. The author then describes the Mosquito as being armed with" a cannon under the nose". In fact the Mosquito had four 20mm cannon plus four Browning machine guns. The author then states that the Seafire was armed with "cannon and tracer" -this should have read "cannon and machine guns", "tracer" refers to one particular type of machine gun round. I could go on. This book would have been a lot better if it had been proof read and corrected prior to publication by a military /historical expert.
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