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Tank Men Paperback – 16 Apr 2009

4.5 out of 5 stars 41 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 496 pages
  • Publisher: Hodder Paperbacks; 1st Paperback Printing edition (16 April 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0340923490
  • ISBN-13: 978-0340923498
  • Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 3 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (41 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 71,723 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

A highly original and valuable piece of military history. It ought to transform our idea of the Second World War, it has mine...a marvellous and origninal book based on the most detailed research. (Sir John Keegan)

I thought TANK MEN was a triumph ... it is a really fine piece of work (Richard Holmes)

Some of the eye witness accounts Kershaw has collected for this comprehensive review of tank warfare have the power to chill the reader to the bone. This is warfare at the sharp end. (Nottingham Evenong Post)

Very well written, with excellent photographs, it's an indispensable addition to the body of knowledge about modern warfare. (South Wales Argus)

Book Description

TANK MEN is the gripping first-hand story of the men and women who fought in tanks by a top military historian

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Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Wow! This is the book that sees Robert Kershaw take a deserved place at the top table of military historians in the UK. With the publication of 'Tank Men' he fully deserves to sit next to John Keegan, Richard Holmes, etc. 'Tank Men' is an outstanding book - full of interesting stories from men on the front line - from many different nationalities. Concentrating on the two world wars, Mr Kershaw manages to achieve the difficult task of breathing new life into subjects such as, Kursk, The Blitzkrieg in the West and the Desert campaign. Warning! This is not a book full of cliches. Oh no. Instead it is a thought provoking, respectful collection of interviews and concise historical narrative. In short a book that anyone interested in military history should buy. Truly an outstanding read (I finished my copy in three days - it was so good.)
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As an ex army man who worked on post war tanks I was fascinated by this book. For anyone who thinks that the tank was a safe haven in war read this book. For all AFV modellers and re-enacters ( God preserve us ! ) who have never been involved with the real thing, read this book. To go into battle with a machine that is fundamentally flawed and inferior to your opponents machine requires a special kind of courage and the book exposes the criminal neglect of British tank design before and during WWII. All major combatants and campaigns are covered and it includes many personal accounts. Several people have criticised the book for its gramatical and typo errors and there are several passages that need re-reading before the meaning is understood but this is down to the poor proof reading ( if it ever took place ! )this is nit picking, the reason to read this book is to get an understanding of the horror of war and its effect on flesh, bone and mind. Read it.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I bought this on a whim, and it turned out to be one of those books which I felt genuinely gutted when I realised I was reaching the end. Just brilliant. Very balanced, taking testimony from all sides of a brutal part of any conflict. It combines human stories with technical detail and historical context - no mean feat. All in all, it's a really difficult task which the author pulls off with aplomb. I cannot recommend enough for anyone with a passing interest in conflict in the twentieth century, but for tank enthusiasts, you really need to read this if you haven't already.

Finally, not wanting to sound trite, but this book really does make you look at "Tank Men", and indeed women (check out the Russian chapters), in a different light. I always though I'd pick a tank over a trench any time. But no longer. There were times when I really felt their emotions, and I honestly had tears welling up imagining what it must be like sitting alongside the best friends of your life, in a metal box and with very little chance of escape once you come under fire. The testimony from the end of WW2 when the outcome was inevitable, but the fighting even more merciless, was simply harrowing. Hats off to the combatants of all sides, and of course the author for sharing their experiences. This is something I know I will read again and again, to remember.
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Format: Paperback
I agree with other reviewers about the writing and the historical content which are excellent. However, I noted that the index contains references in roman numerals, which have no reference point in the book itself. I haven't seen the hardback version of this book, but I suspect the paperback is missing maps and appendices, which is what the roman numerals refer to. This seems to be a distressing trend and Mr. Kershaw's works have suffered from it before - see review by "kamehouse" of "It never snows in September", which is by a different publisher.

I have always found paperbacks to be simply a smaller format version of the original hardback, but now there seems to be a distressing trend on the part of publisher's to cut costs by simply omitting parts of the book!
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Format: Paperback
Tank Men is simply put one of the most fantastic, well researched and illuminating books relating to WW2 that I have ever read.

As the title suggests, the book concentrates entirely on armoured fighting vehicles - specifically between the debut of the first tanks durning the Battle of the Somme, upto the conclusion of the Second World War - and the men and significant units who rode these steel steeds into combat.

The book has incredible detail, with literally hundreds of eye witness accounts from all of the significant armoured conflicts of the period. These accounts are often revealing, humbling, shocking and even sometimes humerous, and they do an excellent job of accurately representing to the reader the feelings of those present at the time.

From the typically dry English wit of one tankie who when confronted with the fact that a fault in the decrepid A-series of cruiser tanks meant that its reverse gear often refused to operate, commented that they had the first tank that 'refused to retreat', to the macabre trend of describing being burnt to death within your own tank as 'brewing up', to the Americans response to the criticism by the British that they were 'over paid, over sexed, over fed, and over here', that the British were 'under paid, under sexed, under fed, and under Eisenhower', it is like opening a window into the period.

The book exposes many myths about tanks also.
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