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The Desert Generals (1960)

af Correlli Barnett

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1783115,369 (3.89)7
An outstanding contribution to the literature of World War II, this comprehensive account of the Desert Campaign of 1940-43 is rich both in commentary and documentary evidence. Distinguished historian Correlli Barnett has created a beautifully written epic that captures at every level the intensity and human drama of battle. There are interviews with almost every senior officer who participated, information from private papers, and intimate portraits of five of the most influential commanders who led the allied forces against both the Italian and German armies.… (mere)

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This is a very readable book that shattered some of the myths of the North African desert war for me. I had heard of the criticisms of Viscount Montgomery but never the background. Barnett does his best to cover all Montgomery's weakness and strengths. In doing so, he attempts to rescue the contributions and reputations of some of the other military commanders who preceded Montgomery in the Desert Campaign.
He also has strong criticisms of Churchill's handling of the desert war and lays the defeat at Tobruk at Churchill's feet although Churchill blamed Auchinleck for it.
Barnett uses sources from both sides of the conflict to make his points and includes pages of documentation at the end of the volume for those who wish to pursue the issues further. ( )
  lamour | Mar 20, 2013 |
It's been, I'll admit, about half a century since I read this book, but it stands out in my memory as a splendid account of the campaign in North Africa, told from the points of view of the successive British commanders, from O'Connor through Montgomery. The problems of high command are well delineated. As I recall, Richard O'Connor and Claude Auchinleck receive very favorable notice, the other generals somewhat less, but the discussion as a whole seemed quite fair and balanced. While the progress of scholarship has no doubt rendered the book somewhat obsolete, there are probably many worse introductions to this portion of World War II. ( )
  TomVeal | Jan 21, 2012 |
Each chapter of this new edition has an afterward which discusses the Enigma decrypts. The author's original analysis is fleshed out, but not overturned thereby.
  kencf0618 | Sep 26, 2005 |
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An outstanding contribution to the literature of World War II, this comprehensive account of the Desert Campaign of 1940-43 is rich both in commentary and documentary evidence. Distinguished historian Correlli Barnett has created a beautifully written epic that captures at every level the intensity and human drama of battle. There are interviews with almost every senior officer who participated, information from private papers, and intimate portraits of five of the most influential commanders who led the allied forces against both the Italian and German armies.

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