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Customer Review

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars On par with the best, 17 April 2014
This review is from: Autumn Gale (Herbststurm) (Hardcover)
Having read the some previews, I decided to take a chance and order this book to make use of the pre-order deal offered before it was published. I was about to mail the publisher (where I ordered the book) where it was when the mailmain delivered a hefty package. Inside, securely wrapped was one big book, in size comparable to for instance Münch's unit history of sPzJ Abt 654, or Périgault's book about the 21. Panzer-Division.

Opening the book, it is clear no obvious corners were cut with the lay-out and the printing. Ample use of colour printing, high quality paper, and well printed pictures throughout. I think the authors have also found a good balance between the amount of text and pictures/maps on a page. The book has a solid and sturdy feel to it, and although large, is not uncomfortable to hold while reading.

The narrative is centred around two Wehrmacht units, Kampfgruppe Chill and sPzJ Abt 559 and their role in thwarting Allied plans in the fall of 1944 in northern Belgium and southern Netherlands - the region roughly bounded by the Albert Canal to the south, and Maas river to the north. The text has been structured well, and the chapters follow a logical order, which prevents the reader getting lost when the narrative switches from one front to the other, The introductory chapters are thorough, which provides a solid base for the reader to follow the main narrative, which starts with the actions of Chill and his scratch force to prevent the Allies from crossing the Albert Canal in early September 1944. The chapters covering the main narrative are well rounded, and in particular the chapters concerning Market-Garden are a valuable addition and correction on (most of) the literature of Market-Garden. They discuss the (often) ignored role of VIII and XII Corps, which were supposed to cover the flanks of XXX Corps in its race to Nijmegen - something they obviously failed to do. In general, the authors do a very good job of switching between Allied and German perspectives, without losing the reader in the process. The final - explanatory chapter (answering questions like why Kampfgruppe Chill was so effective), is in my opinion somewhat unsatisfactory; to me many of the conclusions seem to be a bit generic, and unspecific. Part of this, however, can probably be explained by the subject ('morale' is an extemely elusive concept in itself to pin down, 'measure' and explain), and problems with the sources (contradictory, lacking). That said, it does definitely not diminish the value of the book as a whole. With the huge amount of images, and the way it is written, it is a book that should appeal to scale-model enthousiasts, historians and individuals with a general interest in the period as a whole.

To me, there are no true negative aspects to this book that stand out. There are a few editing errors, and odd expressions that to me seem to be the result of errors in translation. I myself wonder if a few (and I mean literally a few) captions were incorrect. Wholly personal, I despise endnotes, of which this book has a lot (I prefer footnotes personally). Finally, one could argue that the price is a negative. I do not consider the book itself overpriced (I consider it very good value for money), but, especially in the current economic climate, it might be too expensive for many. For these individuals I hope a paperback version will become available soon.
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