Jon Latimer

The book is covering the battle at Al Alamein alone and is concentrating mainly on the 8th army forces and it's operations in detail during the battle.
The book itself is devided into two parts. Part I introduces the situation in North Africa before and during the arrival of Rommel and the Afrika Korps and represents the smaller part of the book.
It describes the colonial rivalry beetwen Britain and Italy and has a fast overview of the situation from Rommel's arrival until the fall of Tobruk.
The importance of Malta and the battle for the convoy routes are presented with a clear and detailed description of  ships sunk by both sides where reader can get a clear picture of the actal losses and efforts behind it.
The entering of Montgomery and rivalry in the 8th army HQ are also shown in a objective light in which all of the important figures of the british side of the conflict are introduced (in even more detailed fashion as in previous chapters).
The ending chapters of the 1st part are about the battle of Alam Halfa, the planning of Lightfoot (the battle of Al Alamein), the frontlife of ordinary 'Tommys', their life in the desert and trips to Kairo. The last chapter of part I is dedicated to the final preparations of the ‘Lightfoot’ operations.

And then it beggins. The battle of Alamein, which is covered in the whole part II, starts to take shape before our eyes in a way that I didn't encounter in any book so far. The chapters go from phase to phase describing the barrage, assault of the infantry in the night of  23rd October and onwards, the halt of the tanks and the changing of plans during the battle.
Some episodes like the defence of the outpost 'Snipe' are detailed and backed up with memories of soldiers of all ranks who fought in the nights and days of the battle. The descriptions of exposure to enemy aircraft, artilery and tanks are detailed and authentic while remaining clear and objective.
The book ends with the retreat of Rommel's Panzerarmee Afrika and concludes the book in a fashion that nothing can be added or removed from it.
Appart from 14 maps and 32 photos the book also contains a very detailed order of battle of both sides on 23rd October 1942.

In conclusion I would just like to add that this book can only be rated as a masterpiece of modern military history - the quality and the quantity of the facts can satisfy even the most demanding readers. If you still have second thoughts about it – read it!

(Reviewed by Miha Grcar)

Buy the book using the links below and you help support the site: