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Out of the Rat Trap: Desert Adventures with Rommel Paperback – 1 Apr 2013
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About the Author
Max Reisch was a German travel writer prior to the outbreak of World War II, when on being forced to join the army he became a captain and specialist in motor vehicles, which led him to commanding a motor vehicle unit in Rommel's Afrikakorps. His memoir records his time with Rommel and his ingenious escape when the campaign collapsed in 1942-43. Alison Falls is a fluent German and French speaker, translator, and lecturer.
Top customer reviews
A word of thanks goes to the translator of his manuscript, and I dearly hope many more similar projects (translating of WW2 German memoirs) come to fruition very soon!
Although this man was a professional travel writer it is clear that the war is just a distraction - his German mindset is impressive to see - and anyone who follows Formula 1 motor-racing will see shades of Michael Schumacher there.
A very enjoyable read - recommended to war historians and motor racing fans.
I picked this up in Foyles interested in the subtitle, 'Desert Adventures With Rommel'. Although Rommel doesn't himself make an appearance, I bought the book as Reisch writes in such an easy, relaxed attractive style, friendly and light-hearted in tone. I can't recall his having a bad word for anyone -including his opponents !
There's little technical or historical detail beyond that which Reisch himself experienced. Whilst he describes well a recce into Siwa in Egypt avoiding Allied troops along the way, it is his time in Tunisia where the Afrika Korps made their last stand that is subject of the title. As the Italian and German armies retreated with an ever-decreasing strip of coast behind them, the Allied navies threw an effective ring of steel in the Mediterranean to halt an Axis Dunkirk, destroying any craft departing for Italy. Less than 700 of the near quarter million trapped Italo-German troops made it out sucessfully and Reisch aimed to be one of them ! It is this account that captivates the reader as Reisch's Great Escape takes shape and his plan is executed attempting to avoid the Allies, coping with violently fluctuating conditions in the Med and figuring out how to get safely to friendly territory in a small leaky under-powered boat. Does he make it ? Read it and find out ! Recommended !
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