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Erwin Rommel [Digital]

4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Digital
  • ISBN-10: 1780964714
  • ISBN-13: 978-1780964713
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A User-Friendly Introduction to Rommel July 20, 2010
Erwin Rommel, the leader of the German Afrika Korps and putative "Desert Fox" of legend, is one of the most written about generals of the Second World War and has settled in most imaginations as David Mason from the 1950s film, just as the historical Patton has now morphed with the actor George C. Scott. In Osprey's new Command series, veteran author Pier Paolo Battistelli is not trying to write the definitive biography of Erwin Rommel - he acknowledges that has already been done - but rather, to provide context and nuance to understanding Rommel's contributions in the Second World War. Given the short format of this series, the author makes the risky decision of focusing on how and why sort of issues, while providing only a rather bare-bones synopsis of Rommel's military career. Readers expecting a straight-up military biography may be disappointed, but specialist readers will appreciate the nuanced discussion of Rommel's abilities and style. Overall, this volume provides and attractive summary of Rommel's well-known career and provides interesting conclusions about his relative merits as a commander.

The introductory sections cover Rommel's background, service during the First World War and the interwar period in eight pages, and a brief synopsis of his actions in the Second World War. The core of this volume is a thematic-driven dissection of Rommel's career, broken into sections on Rommel's "leading from the front" style, desert warfare and his role as a Generalfeldmarschall. As the author notes, Rommel was a product of the German command style, stressing initiative and action, rather than waiting for full intelligence about the terrain or enemy to pour in.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars All you could expect in a short bio September 20, 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This 63-pp title is an introduction to Rommel, not an in-depth biography. It is nonetheless an interesting read, informative, and nicely objective. Author Battistelli demonstrates a knowledge both broad and deep about issues relevant to Rommel's military career, like German tactical doctrine and training, strategy and tactics of the desert war, and Rommel's British opponents.

The author does not try to resolve all questions. Certainly Rommel was a highly capable general, but was he a great one? He was well-suited to the open-ended, unpredictable, fast-paced nature of desert warfare. Yet there were contradictions. Leading from the front, Rommel sometimes failed to provide overall direction. His strong, even harsh, leadership style sometimes stifled initiative by small-unit commanders, a contradiction of Wehrmacht doctrine. Yet Rommel's battlefield successes built up loyalty and morale among common soldiers.

Rommel's grasp of strategy raises even more questions. Battistelli contradicts the notion that Rommel cared little for logistics. As revealed in his own writings, Rommel spent a lot of time fretting about his tenuous supply situation in North Africa. His ultimate mistake, to lunge for the Suez Canal after Gazala without taking Malta, was a judgment that the enemy was beaten and a quick pursuit would finish the job. It was a hairsbreadth mistake made with limited information. Blessed by hindsight, historians can pick it apart. At the time, it appeared anything might happen, and even the renowned British Mediterranean fleet weighed anchor and fled its bases at Alexandria, as Rommel's panzers clanked eastward into Egypt.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good introduction to a celebrated officer July 21, 2010
It must be hard for the authors of this new series to write about some of the most written about people and do it creatively within a 64 page limit. Mr Battistelli, a noted author of other WWII books, has done a good job of writing about one of the most written about German Commanders though I wish he had greater in depth coverage of Rommel's campaigns in North Africa. That's the other issue the author had to contend with. Not only has Rommel been extensively written about but so has the campaigns of North Africa. That's why he received four stars despite the fact that from my perspective there are a number of issues that were unsatisfactory. The author spends too much time on WWI and the interwar years. He also devotes five pages on British generals that opposed him which is also too much. It would be fine if the traditional 96 pages were available. This will cut down on WWII coverage. There was also no mention of the trouble with von Arnim, the Italian command structure in the closing months in Tunisia.

Unlike von Manstein who was born into a military family and taught from an early age military doctrine, Erwin Rommel had a math teacher for a father and showed no interest in the military at an early age. The author spends more time than expected on Rommel becoming an officer and distinguishing himself in WWI in the Italian theater where he disobeyed his CO and assaulted and captured Mt Matajur. This will be the beginning of a career where he would shun other officers and sometimes orders when he felt he was correct. The author doesn't think Rommel a gambler but I would disagree with that assessment. Besides being able to quickly appraise the battlefield and react to those conditions, he also made some risky decisions. Operation Crusader is a good example.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars A decent introduction to Rommel's command "style" and military...
On the negative side, much of what this book contains on Erwin Rommel’s “style” of command is nothing new (i.e. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Yoda
2.0 out of 5 stars overpriced, 64 page paperback book with a lot of ...
overpriced, 64 page paperback book with a lot of photos, if I knew it was this short of a book I wouldn't have bought it
Published 3 months ago by william hauser
4.0 out of 5 stars Rommel, a german general
Simple but good account of a german general, who did great deeds with small forces. The British should of had a victory but Rommel changed that by his presence.
Published 14 months ago by Mark
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Series book item in my collection
Published 15 months ago by Thomas F Hitchcock
5.0 out of 5 stars Rommel
detailed book about an interesting leader.
Published 16 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful read!
This book is an incise, in depth and fair discussion of the historic war campaigns of the great Desert Fox!
Published 20 months ago by rafa stil
2.0 out of 5 stars Rommel the Master Leader
I found this account of Rommel's life lacking something important - humanity. The tale of his leadership skills were so often repeated. Read more
Published on May 10, 2013 by Bruce Hill
5.0 out of 5 stars Knowing the Desrt Fox
I like the approach of the book, can be fairly summarized but I think this right. The content is just to meet and form an idea of the character. Read more
Published on February 8, 2013 by Marco Antonio Giron
4.0 out of 5 stars A good book.
A good book about Erwin Rommel, refering to the main aspects of his life and military trajectory. It could be more deeply explored, I think.
Published on November 30, 2012 by Marcio
4.0 out of 5 stars Primer on Germany's Legendary General!
Erwin Rommel is arguably Germany's most famous general of the 20th Century. A legend in his own time, his exploits in France and, especially, North Africa, and involvement in the... Read more
Published on September 5, 2012 by Mike O'Connor
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