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The sands of valor [Hardcover]

Geoffrey Atheling Wagner
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 434 pages
  • Publisher: Knopf; [1st ed.] edition (1967)
  • ASIN: B0006BQ8MW
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 3,566,102 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Absloute classic 30 Oct 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Read this book many years ago. Managed to track it down through Amazon market place. Arrived promptly and well packaged. Condition as described by seller. Book was every bit as good as I remembered - an absolute classic.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Fine novel of tank warfare in North Africa 22 Sep 2013
Looking back at the North African campaigns, readers need to consider the value of straight history when judging the merits of fiction.
Moreover, one of the great non-fiction memoirs is Keith Douglas's "Alamein to Zem Zem" that records his experiences of tank combat.
A worthy novel (with much autobiographical material, apparently) is Cyril Jolley's "Take These Men".
Penelope Lively borrowed some of the flavour of these two in her far more recent novel "Moon Tiger", which contains fictional diary entries and personal memory of the Desert war.
Another novel (as I recall) entitled "Hellfire Pass" (referring to Halfiya Pass) describes the experiences of a British Artillery crew, with a motorised 3.8 inch anti-aircraft gun, very similar to the better known German 88mm gun.
We might also consider the excellent Eighth Army infantry memoirs of John Bowlby (albeit, mainly in Italy), and the occasionally lighter infantry memoirs of Spike Milligan.
John Brophy's "Immortal Sergeant" is another infantry book worth remembering.
And there are the many books about David Stirling, and Popski, and the Long-Range Desert Group, and the Special Air Service.

"Sands of Valour" is a novel of tank warfare across North Africa.
It begins with the arrival of Rommel and the Afrika Korps, and the desperate retreat of out-gunned and out-fought and ill-equipped British and Allied forces.
The successive particular tanks used (as with Cyril Jolley's book) are carefully described, along with the tactics.

Central to the story is a desert-wise, charismatic troop leader (it is some years since I read the book, and I do not recall his name), loosely comparable to Lawrence of Arabia, or Orde Wingate, in his eccentricity, and selfless bravado.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Geoffrey Wagner - The Sands of Valour 1 Aug 2012
"The toll exacted upon the British troops who fought in North Africa from 1940-42 was a heavy one. This novel follows the fortunes of the 3rd Droghedas, an armoured regiment that has been in action in the desert from the beginning. As Rommel's Afrikakorps builds up, it is met again and again by such units until, under the strain of constant action, tiredness becomes weariness, weariness turns to exhaustion, every man living on his nerves and on his determination not to give up. And for too long there were no other men, no other armour, to take their place. This is a powerful and moving study of men called upon, by necessity, to do more than their simple duty, and a remarkable evocation of the mental processes that can lead men on even to suicidal heroism. In its portrayal of the fate of the hard-pressed professionals of an armoured unit, it presents an extraordinarily vivid picture of the war in the Western Desert, and of its contrasts - regular and conscript, soldier and civilian, desert and city, action and calm, friend and enemy."

"The battle scenes are indeed first-rate. Heat and horror, cordite and khamsin, break-through and break-out, courage and the collapse of courage - all these are communicated with admirable strength and authenticity." - TIMES LITERARY SUPPLEMENT

"This is a splendid book, in which obviously the anecdotes of war are mixed with remembered incidents." - DAILY TELEGRAPH

A novel by a veteran who served in a Guards armoured brigade in North Africa, Sicily and Italy during the Second World War.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  1 review
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A War Novel that is a Novel - about men at war 24 Aug 2009
By Robert Mosher - Published on Amazon.com
Geoffrey Wagner has written something a bit more substantial here than the standard war novel. "The Sands of Valor" spends as much if not more time and effort on the characters and their inner lives than he does on his excellent descriptions of tank warfare in the North African desert, pitting the British 8th Army and the German Afrika Korps against each other and both against the desert. This is not a quick read nor is it packed from end to end with action and scenes of combat, which actually helps the work deliver a rather realistic presentation of the long periods of time with no combat punctuated by moments of intense action and even sheer terror that was especially linked to this period of the war.
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