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Look Inside Rommel's Desert War

Rommel's Desert War
Waging World War II in North Africa, 1941–1943


Part of Cambridge Military Histories

  • Date Published: September 2009
  • availability: Available
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9780521509718

£ 41.00

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About the Authors
  • At the height of his power in January 1941 Hitler made the fateful decision to send troops to North Africa to save the beleaguered Italian army from defeat. Martin Kitchen's masterful history of the Axis campaign provides a fundamental reassessment of the key battles of 1941–3, Rommel's generalship, and the campaign's place within the broader strategic context of the war. He shows that the British were initially helpless against the operational brilliance of Rommel's Panzer divisions. However Rommel's initial successes and refusal to follow orders committed the Axis to a campaign well beyond their means. Without the reinforcements or supplies he needed to deliver a knockout blow, Rommel was forced onto the defensive and Hitler's Mediterranean strategy began to unravel. The result was the loss of an entire army which together with defeat at Stalingrad signalled a decisive shift in the course of the war.

    • The first definitive study of the Axis campaign in North Africa from the German perspective
    • Provides a unique reassessment of Rommel's leadership and his relationship with Hitler
    • Sets the Allied victory in North Africa within the broader strategic context of the war
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'Rommel's Desert War brings fresh sources and a fresh perspective to the North African campaign. Kitchen's skillful blend of policy and strategy, operations and tactics, pulls no punches. His stringent, well documented critique of Rommel's performance in particular makes this a significant contribution to the literature on the Second World War.' Dennis Showalter, Colorado College and author of Patton and Rommel: Men of War in the Twentieth Century

    'For too long the decisive campaign in North Africa has been viewed as a military duel between Britain and Germany, personified in the figures of Montgomery and Rommel. Now at last, making full use of Italian sources, Martin Kitchen has given us a balanced, judicious and convincing analysis of the three-handed war in the desert. It will be required reading for every World War II historian.' John Gooch, University of Leeds and author of Mussolini and his Generals: The Armed Forces and Fascist Foreign Policy, 1922–1940

    'Martin Kitchen combines policy, strategy, tactics and personality in a detailed account from the Axis perspective. … Fascinating insights abound.' Soldier, magazine of the British Army

    'In Rommel's Desert War Kitchen has produced a fine book; highly recommended.' Adrian Gilbert,

    'Arguably the most provocative reassessment of this theater in many a year, this challenging, rich, well-argued tome forces careful revisits to dearly held truths about strategy, operations, tactics, and personalities.' World War II

    'Thanks to Kitchen's meticulous research, there is now a compelling account of the battles from a German perspective, with a well-rounded and not altogether flattering picture of Rommel. The book gives due weight to both his operational brilliance, especially in retreat, and his poor strategic judgment.' Foreign Affairs

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    Product details

    • Date Published: September 2009
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9780521509718
    • length: 618 pages
    • dimensions: 232 x 160 x 34 mm
    • weight: 1.09kg
    • contains: 25 b/w illus. 24 maps
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy
    2. Germany intervenes in North Africa
    3. Tobruk: the first round
    4. Counterattack
    5. Withdrawal
    6. On the offensive again
    7. Tobruk
    8. El Alamein: the first round
    9. El Alamein: defeat
    10. Torch
    11. The retreat from Mersa el Brega
    12. Tunisgrad.

  • Author

    Martin Kitchen, Simon Fraser University, British Columbia
    Martin Kitchen is Professor Emeritus in the Department of History, Simon Fraser University. His previous publications include The Third Reich: Charisma and Community (2007), A History of Modern Germany, 1800–2000 (2006) and Europe Between the Wars, 2nd edition (2006).

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