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Panzer Leader Paperback – December 24, 2001


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Panzer Leader + Lost Victories: The War Memoirs of Hitler's Most Brilliant General + The Rommel Papers
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 552 pages
  • Publisher: Da Capo Press; Reissue edition (December 24, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0306811014
  • ISBN-13: 978-0306811012
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.5 x 1.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (75 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #78,567 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Panzer Leader is a candid and dramatic account of the development and campaigns of the panzer forces that, along with the Luftwaffe, stood at the heart of blitzkrieg; it is also a searing group portrait of the Third Reich's leading personalities as they turned early victory into a protracted, agonizing defeat. }Germany's opening run of victory in World War II was only made possible by the panzer forces that Heinz Guderian (18881954), the father of modern tank warfare, had created and trained, and by his audacious leading of those forces from 1939 to 1941. Guderian's breakthrough at Sedan and lightning drive to the Channel coast virtually decided the Battle of France. The drive he led into the East came close to producing the complete collapse of Russia's armies, but at the end of 1941 Guderian was dismissed for taking a timely step back instead of pandering to Hitler's illusions. He was recalled to service only when Germany's situation had become desperate, and he was eventually made chief of the General Staff when all had become hopeless. Panzer Leader is a candid and dramatic account of the development and campaigns of the panzer forces that, along with the Luftwaffe, stood at the heart of blitzkrieg; it is also a searing group portrait of the Third Reich's leading personalities as they turned early victory into a protracted, agonizing defeat. } --Larry Petersen

Opening with an excellent foreword which puts you in the mindset of the German General Staff, this book allows you to understand WWII from the German perspective. The book starts off by describing the development of German armoured warfare which arose out of a need for mobile defence, a direct result of the Treaty of Versailles. This gives valuable insight into how the Germans were able to bring about swift victories in Poland and France at the start of the war by using their experiences from re-militarising the Ruhr region and the friendly invasion of Austria. Guderian then gives an account of his campaigns in Poland, France and Russian up to the end of the first year when he was dismissed by Hitler. The account is backed up by sketch maps and you get an impression of what it was like to be there with the difficulties they faced from supplies to weather, the enemy and worst of all with their own high command. Later in the war Guderian is recalled to service to try to reverse the worsening fortunes of the Army and it is this part of the book which is probably the most interesting as you see his constant battles with Hitler and the high command to make them see sense such as not to launch operation Citadel (at Kursk). However in the end sense rarely prevails and you see the disastrous consequences that Guderian has predicted come to light. At the end of this book you come away with a good impression of Guderian and I feel that he was trying to make the best of a bad situation. --Paul R.

A very good book, describing the difficulties of Guderian's battles against the Inept Nazi high command, plus the actual battles he fought in against the allies. He comes across as a good general who didn't mind getting up front to where the fighting was, and seems genuinely worried about the wellfare of his troops. He is also critical of the Nazi policy against the Slavic people saying it was a wasted opertunity to rally the russian people against the threat of communism, instead treating them as slaves instead of allies. Overall a very good book. --Adrian Formann --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Heinz Guderian (1888–1954) rose through the ranks of the German military to become chief of the general staff. He was also the author of Achtung, Panzer! and With the Tanks in the East and West.

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Customer Reviews

I highly recommend this book for the WWII fan in your life.
Sherri L.
Apart from von Manstein, Guderian is arguably to most able and important of the German commanders.
"ssamaha"
Bought and read this book about 5 years ago, and just re-read it.
book fan

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

74 of 77 people found the following review helpful By W. B. Smith on April 6, 2000
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book will be of great interest to any military historian. Guderian takes us through the development of the Panzer force both in its formation and tactics and its implementation in the battlefield in the Polish, French and Russian campaigns. There are detailed accounts of his involvement in those campaigns and at times I got a little lost in the geographic references and the poor sketch maps did little to compensate. However,the book is more than that. The book contains an incredible insight into the German High command, Hitler and his cronies and their disasterous blunders such as at Dunkirk and the gross under estimation of Soviet Russia in terms of fighting ability and technology. What I found of special interest was of the recollections of meetings and arguments with Hitler and Guderian's refusal to bow to the Furher's will power. Guderian was dismissed after the failure of the German army at the gates of Moscow in 1941 but his talents could not even be overlooked by Hitler and after further set backs were encountered was recalled to service in 1943. The Allies were fortunate that Guderian's talents were hindered by Hitler's "YES" men, overwise the war could have taken a different course. I would recommend this book to anyone interested in World War Two from a German stand point.
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49 of 52 people found the following review helpful By M. G Watson TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on November 3, 2009
Format: Paperback
If you were to make a list of the truly outstanding commanders of the Second World War, Heinz Guderian's name would have to be on it. He was a bold and energetic leader of armor who won many of Germany's most brilliant victories in Poland, France and Russia. More than that, however, he was a pioneer of tank warfare, almost single-handedly responsible for the creation of Hitler's legendary panzer arm, and a tireless proponent of its proper use. If he had never been born, it is entirely possible that WWII would have unfolded in a completely different manner than it did. How many other generals can make that claim?

PANZER LEADER is Guderian's account of his long career as a soldier - first for the German Empire during WWI, second during the Weimar period, and last under the Third Reich. Since the story of Guderian and the story of the panzers are interwoven, he traces the evolution of the tank arm from its humble beginnings after 1918 (outdated armored cars used as flour trucks) to the height of its success during the conquest of France in 1940, and the "cauldron" victories in Russia in 1941, with his own fortunes rising at the same time. Likewise, the failure to defeat the USSR marks the end of Guderian's combat career; sacked by Hitler, he languishes for a year before being recalled as "Inspector General of Armored Troops." This in turn paves the way for his appointment as Chief of the General Staff (No. 2 in the Army hierarchy under Hitler) in 1944, a post he held until the near-end of the war, which gave him a "God's-eye view" of the Eastern Front.

PANZER LEADER is more entertainingly written than many German memoirs, superior in readability to the works of Manstein or Kesselring, and certainly easier to digest than the War Diaries of Bock or Halder.
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 12, 1997
Format: Paperback
"Panzer Leader," written by a former Colonel-General of the Wehrmacht, Heinz Guderian, is a fascinating book. It is fascinating in its own right in that it describes Guderian's efforts to create and operate effective all-arms formations including armor, armored infantry and towed (later self-propelled) artillery in spite of the opposition from the more traditional elements of the Wehrmacht. With Hitler's keen interest and help, Guderian succeeded in creating such formations in "Panzerdivisionen" - armored divisions. The subsquent successes which Guderian had as a commander of such formations in Poland, France and Russia make an exciting and informed reading.

However, the book is also fascinating because of the falsehood contained in it. Principally, there are two major "untruths" which often escape notice from the casual reader. The first falsehood is the credit which Guderian attributes to the late Sir Basil H. Liddell Hart as the "founder" of Blitzkrieg "doctrine." Guderian was jailed after the Second World War by the Allied authorities in the West, and it was Sir Liddell Hart who championed his (and other jailed German generals') cause. He brought them gifts and attempted to convince the authorities to free them, and eventually became the editor of their memoirs in the West. Sir Lidell Hart had been indeed an innovator of military doctrine in the 1920's, but he had, by 1930's, rejected the concept of armored warfare as viable. In any case, his reputation had fallen during the war, and this he attempted to salvage rather successfully with the help of the grateful ex-German generals after the war.
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26 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Mannie Liscum on December 23, 2001
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
General Guderian's book is certainly not for the WWII reader who wants a style like that of Ambrose or Ryan, but it does deliver on sheer content and insight from one of the greatest military minds of the second world war. Guderian is quite humble in his writing considering he was the primary driving force behind development of Germany's Blitzkreig warfare. Had this been written by a personality such as Montgomery I'm sure the feel would have been much different. His descriptions of campaigns in the west and east are often quite moving, but equally as often dry and matter of fact. His writings are not as "moving" or personal as those of Rommel (see The Rommel Papers), but they are full of important information and insights. In particular his closing chapter touches nicely on his feelings of the German High Command, it's members, and leaders of the Nazi party. If you want history as told by a leading member of the German High Command this book will not disappoint. If you want edge of your seat story telling this might not be your cup of tea.
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