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Customer Review

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A well marked map to the past, 28 Oct. 2002
This review is from: The Sound of History: El Alamein 1942 (Kampfraum Series) (Hardcover)
The Sound of History has appeared in time to mark the sixthieth anniversary of the Battle of El Alamein and is a welcome reminder to us of the importance of that battle to the outcome of the Second World War.
The author sets the scene by telling us why European nations were fighting in North Africa and summarising the campaign until the summer of 1942. He provides a succinct but vivid description of the battles fought on the retreat to El Alamein as well as those fought on the El Alamein line before moving on to outline the preparations that were made for the final battle on that line.
Here is a good and objective view of the events that saw Auchinleck removed from his post and brought in both Alexander and Montgomery. But, the author argues, much of the groundwork for victory had already been done and Montgomery did not acknowledge those who went before him.
Doherty shows a masterly understanding of the difficulties that faced Eighth Army, a history of which he has also written, and how these were overcome - the training programme, the deception plans, the build up of supplies. All this was interrupted by the Battle of Alam El Halfa, of which a fine account is included.
And then to the final battle. Its story is told in a gripping fashion and one feels an empathy with those who were there. Perhaps this is because the author includes the story of a young Scottish officer who lost his life on the first night of the battle.
The book is jointly dedicated to that officer, George Morrison of 7th Black Watch, and to the author's aunt, Sr Mary Richard Coyle, who was a Franciscan nun in Alexandria at the time and whose description of the sound of the opening bombardment (and the author always uses that word, never barrage, which strictly means defensive fire - is he, or was he, a Gunner?) inspired the title of the book - The Sound of History.
Well illustrated, with good maps, extremely well written - it has the feel of a novel - and very well researched, this book is recommended to anyone with an interest in the battle or the desert war.
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Location: Northern Ireland

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