8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Makes a good novel, pity about the history,
This review is from: Tobruk (Hardcover)Before I begin, if you are Australian then add one star, if you have never read a book about Tobruk add another star and if you like adventure novels with larger then life macho characters throw in a third.
Tobruk has an important place in Australian military history. Unfortunately most of the public when pressed on the matter can call up such stuff as 'Rats of...', Rommel and then with luck manage to name the correct war.
Fitzsimons to his credit has attempted to write a history book aimed at the people who do not read history. To his discredit he has let the good yarn get in the way with telling the unbias truth. The Australians in this book are Aussies, tall, fit, tanned, shirtless and filled with a laid back 'she'll be right' outlook. The English are Poms, stuffy, mildly pompous and secretly in awe of these colonial types. Okay, target audience is the Australian father's day crowd but then we start getting into the real fabrication.
I never finished this book. I picked it up several times and, being mildly well read on the campaign, read through Fitzsimons take on the various parts of the battle I was most familiar with. Historical figures now receive a half page describing their dreams the night before the drive foolishly and fatally into an Australian shell. Perfectly capable Field Engineer Coys are forced to rolling a few Eyetie aircraft bombs down the hill to make up for the demolition equipment Fitzsimons feels they lack.
Does Fitzsimons know what von Prittwitz was dreaming 6 hours before his death? Considering no mention of the Generals war diary let alone musing about his dreams has previously been known to exist the words 'made it up' do spring to mind. Does Fitzsimons honestly believe an Engineering Coy - whose role in military life is to either make it or break it - were lacking in basic explosives in what was a major supply center?
Even when Fitzsimons does use the standard well quoted sources they suddenly become literal conversations rather then the descriptive diary posts they actually where. Exciting reading if you are new to the campaign but mildly annoying if you have actually read his source.
Unless you know nothing about the battle then keep looking, there are better books out there.