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Manstein: Hitler's Greatest General Paperback – 3 Mar 2011

4.7 out of 5 stars 26 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 656 pages
  • Publisher: W&N; 2nd Edition edition (3 Mar. 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0753828537
  • ISBN-13: 978-0753828533
  • Product Dimensions: 21.3 x 13.5 x 5.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 474,483 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

Review

This is a comprehenisve and fascinating study of military genius and individualist. (HUDDERSFIELD DAILY EXAMINER)

Book Description

The first proper biography of Germany's most controversial military hero.

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is an impressive book, primarily because Mungo Melvin has here perfected the art of demonstrating that the principles of successful operational art can be smuggled into a fast-paced, interesting narrative, without the general reader being aware of it. Accordingly, there is as much here for the campaign planner as there is for the man on the Clapham omnibus. Both will walk away with a satisfying surfeit of rich things. The book provides a fascinating reminder that genius in the application of operational art is ultimately futile if the grand strategy is wrong, as it surely was in Hitler's plans for the subjugation of the East. The Soviets feared Manstein as their greatest opponent, but in the end his genius could not build more tanks, recruit more soldiers or replace the battle casualties (both human and mechanical) that constant warfighting in the East was to consume in the face of the long term Soviet superiority in this area.

The clarity of Melvin's explanation of the principles of operational manoeuvre, and of Manstein's mastery of it, is superb, but the author carefully avoids the pitfall of hagiography, presenting the man 'warts and all', not shying away for instance from issues around the systemic abuse of the rules of war by the Wehrmacht.

This book is an impressive achievement and is highly recommended.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Field Marshal Von Manstein called his war-time memoirs- "Lost Victories".Unlike them this book by Major General Melvin is a most definite victory!Manstein,(unlike the much inferior Rommel) is little known in the west, because apart from the latter part of the French campaign, he spent the entire war on the Eastern Front.Major General Melvin makes a convincing and highly readable case that he was probably the greatest general and strategist on either side in the second world war.Inevitably, the book concentrates on Mansteins military career.His personal life is not omitted- but it was farly conventional for a man of his time and class.Born into an East Prussian land-owning family- Manstein marries married a woman of similar background, was happily married to her for 46 years and had 2 sons and a daughter- the eldest son being killed in action on the Eastern Front.Mansteins liking for Motzart, fine cognac, and cigars as well as his skill at chess are all covered.We also see ,in a letter to his wife, his almost childish delight , when ,during a visit by Hitler to his HQ- his small pet dachshund chases off Hitlers alsatian, "Blondi" not once but twice.
However, as you would expect, the bulk of the book is devoted to Mansteins campaigns- a subject General Melvin is well qualified to write on.Mansteins military greatness is based on 3 things,
1. His devising of the "Sichelschnitt" plan ,which defeated the French in the summer of 1940.
2.His 1942 campaign in the Crimea- culminating in his capture of Sevastopol.
3. The 3rd "Battle of Kharkov" -Feb.1943.This campaign is deservedly studied at military academies around the world as an example of how to retrieve a disate
rous situation and shore up a collopsing front.
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Format: Hardcover
When I first read that biography of General-Field Marshal Erich von Manstein was about to be published I was elated. When I learnt the said work was to be written by a senior British military analyst and historian I literally couldnt wait to get the book.

I was not to be disappointed.

This book is an indepth and articulate historical study of the man who in the humble opinion of this reviewer was the last great tactical genius of conventional warfare, and was long overdue for a serious study and biography.

Western historians and military figures have traditionally swallowed German wartime propoganda(mostly Goebbels work) and assumed that the likes of Rommel and Model were german military geniuses, while the standout German military leader was in fact Erich von Manstein. Hitler admired Manstein ability but loathed his attitude and aristocratic background, and saw von Manstein as a threat. Hence his promotion of individuals such as Rommel.

Although von Mansteins name is well known to serious students of military history it is less known to historians and the public at large. This book quite rightly seeks to address that lack of knowledge about this talented and complicated individual.

From the conception of the successful invasion of France to the capture of the Crimea, and holding the Red Army at bay - as much as was possible - as the German Army retreated after Stalingrad, Manstein was the man behind all these successful military ventures, in both the planning or operational levels.

The author has not attempted to gloss either the good or bad parts of the Field Marshals character or experiences.
This is not a journalistic piece with an 'axe to grind' or an ideology to expound.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Too much about his life and not enough about his campaigns
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Format: Paperback
i truly was amazing by this book. it is not just the story of an incredible man but also of the second world war from the point of view of the german generals. the book covers manstein all through his life and describes his campaigns in wonderful detail. i most enjoyed the part on the battle for the crimea and siege of sevastopol, truly an epic battle that tested the man to his limits as a leader. this book would make recommended reading for any one in the military as it offers great insight into what it takes to be an operational leader. Manstein truly was the greatest operational mind of the second world war, calm and confident in crises, clear minded and never allowed himself to become ego minded
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