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on 14 September 2017
this is so well researched and well written.
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on 22 August 2017
Very clear readable history.
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on 3 December 2012
I had just read Fortress Crete = The Secret War and found it interesting and in the notes they mentioned this book by Antony Beevor. I have purchased the book and found it most interesting and so much information. It has the horrors and the laughts of war but what the Germans got up to??? A must read.
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on 7 January 2013
As always Anthony Beever's books are thoroughly researched and make very exciting reads.
It seems that if the General commanding in Crete had made the right decisions, the German paratroops would never have obtained a footthold.

He mentions the exploits of Patrick Leigh-Fermour whose own account of his walk across Europe just before the war is a delight.
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on 6 August 2017
I read most of Beevor's excellent books before reading this but in my view it doesn't measure up to his other work. The book would have been better if it had ended when the conquest of Crete was complete, the final third of the book makes for laboured reading and it's difficult to sustain interest.
The story of the conquest itself is excellent, Beevor gives an in depth account of Freyberg as a clueless buffoon with no idea how to fight a war, without being too harsh. The general impression is that the allied forces command snatched defeat from the jaws of victory and then ran away leaving many of the rank and file stranded on the island. Which is exactly what happened.
The laborious final section of the book on the resistance is boring in the extreme; there's just too many characters coming and going to get a cohesive grip on the storyline. Add to that a potent mix of Greek politics and its warring factions and you have confusion.
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on 25 June 2017
Can't fault Amazon service.
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on 11 September 2017
Excellent book documenting the battle for Crete.debate today centers around how a near won campaign was lost by lack of communications and painfully by appauling leadership one Freyberg kept troops prepared for seaborne invasion, another chap announced as German troops were landing at the airport looks as if they're evacuating one officer wandered off to photograph flowers a chap called laycocks threw away a reserve force of a thousand men...despite this stern fighting by the troops and Cretan forces inflicted ruinous loses on the Germans.after the british surrender Cretans continued there resistance despite harsh retaliation.a lot of mention about the special operations chaps.the cost in man power and hardware was huge for what some would argue was a bit of a sideshow
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on 15 October 2015
I enjoyed the first third of this book which covers the errors made in the decision to put up an inadequate defence of Crete. I enjoyed the second part, which examined the German invasion and its outcome, highlighting the many opportunities that were missed to prevent the invasion succeeding.

I gave up on the last third. It is headed "The Resistance", and I expected a similar detailed, anecdote filled analysis to the first two parts. Instead all I got - or all I got for the first half of it before I gave up - was a boring recital of the innumerable political factions involved and their manoeuvres.

For the first two parts of the book, the writing is good, the considerations of the history detailed and the descriptions of the conflict involving and clearly set out. I would recommend the book for the first to thirds at two thirds of the price.
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on 16 August 2013
It is best to review this book in two sections (in the same way it has been written);-
The first part of the book which deals with the fall of Greece and the subsequent Battle for Crete has some superb writing - at times it is as gripping as any thriller (I expected nothing less from the author of the brilliant Stalingrad). Beevor captures the blase arrogance of the British top brass, fully aware of the invasion plans due to the cracking of the German codes (his depiction of Freyberg blithely eating his breakfast while German paratroopers landed all around him is priceless) but entirely lacking the strategic or tactical nous to be able to do anything with that information.
However, it suffers from the pitfalls of many works of military history in that it assumes the general reader has a good working knowledge of the command structure of an army - how large is a division compared to a regiment? or a regiment to a company? Without understanding the amount of men involved its difficult to get a grasp of what was at stake when the two sides were pitted against each other. It also lacks any decent maps (a more criminal omission in a work of military history) so the disposition of forces becomes confusing and the course of the subsequent fighting hard to follow.
The second section of the book which follows the German occupation of the island and the Cretans' dogged resistance is well enough done - its a good introduction to a subject which was unfamiliar to me. But despite Beevor's flair for writing, I found it difficult to distinguish between the innumerable British intelligence officers who came and went from the island and the Cretans' themselves just become an endless list of Greek names. He makes a good defence of the controversial mission to abduct General Kreipe from the island (he claims that the atrocities which have been held up as reprisals for the kidnapping had nothing to do with the kidnapping itself). However, it still seems hard to believe that the Allies would have risked the possibility of such devastating reprisals when Crete had been bypassed in strategic importance by the landings in Sicily.
This is a good overview of an important episode of the war. But the two parts of this story (the battle and the resistance) are really too big and complex to be contained in a single book. The battle section is adequate but the heroism of the resistance needs more room to breathe.
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on 10 March 2016
Have visited Crete for the last two years and had never understood until now how brave the Cretans are and what they suffered. I greatly admire them and read all I can about Crete.
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