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Together We Stand: America, Britain, and the Forging of an Alliance Hardcover – February 15, 2006

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

After years of relative neglect, historians of WWII are rediscovering the savage fighting in North Africa and developing a renewed appreciation of its importance. Rick Atkinson's superb An Army at Dawn (2002) approached the subject from an American perspective. Now comes British journalist and historian Holland with a compelling and detailed account of the same campaign. Holland (Fortress Malta) picks up in 1942, following two years of desultory fighting in the North African desert. The decision of the Anglo-American alliance to invade Northwest Africa first—instead of France—transformed the desert campaign into a major front. Early fighting favored the Axis since the British suffered from "interwar apathy" and inferior equipment, and the Americans were also plagued by inexperience, inadequate training and poor leadership. But the Allies learned from their setbacks and eventually drove the Axis out of Africa. Despite personality clashes, the Americans and the British learned to collaborate, setting the stage for "the strongest military alliance in history." Entertaining though scholarly, this exhaustively researched narrative moves seamlessly from the exalted strategy conferences of generals and presidents to the individual grunt on the front line, offering as complete a portrait of this important episode in WWII as we are likely to see. (Feb. 15)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Britain's North Africa campaigns are one of the most heavily documented topics in World War II history. Perhaps this is because they were the last continental-scale military operations Britain independently undertook; add to that the characters of Rommel and Montgomery and the turning point of El Alamein, and it's no wonder authors keep at it. In a narrative that accentuates personalities representative of every echelon from platoon to supreme command, Holland (Fortress Malta, 2003) begins with the third year of the North Africa war. In 1942 Tobruk falls, and British commander Auchinleck retreats and stabilizes the line at El Alamein but is sacked for his pains. Holland's continuation of the story to the surrender of Axis forces in May 1943, flavored with his tendency to kibitz about strategy and tactics, will keep readers engaged, and his interviews of veterans, which are incorporated into the text, lend immediacy. Relying heavily on extant accounts to relate the American contribution to the victory, Holland reliably steers readers through the culmination of the North Africa saga. Gilbert Taylor
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 720 pages
  • Publisher: Miramax; 1St Edition edition (February 15, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1401352537
  • ISBN-13: 978-1401352530
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,163,886 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful By K. Anderson on February 19, 2006
Format: Hardcover
James Holland has come from nowhere to produce the best military history book for many years, maybe the best in the last decade. If you enjoy what I call "narrative" military history in the tradition of Cornelius Ryan, Max Hasting and the Rick Atkinson then Together We Stand is a must have book. It is better than the books by any of the three mentioned above and they set very high standards.

Together We Stand covers much of the same ground as the excellent An Army At Dawn by Rick Atkinson but starts far earlier in '42. Sixty percent of the book deals with the fighting in the summer and autumn of '42 before Torch and the North African landings.

The style is the traditional one of mixing high quality research, operational analysis and person accounts. Only James Holland does this better than even Rick Atkinson, and I am one of those who though the hype surrounding Rick Atkinson's An Army At Dawn was fully justified.

James Holland gives greater prominence to the air war than most books and describes that warfare more eloquently than others. But for those more interested in ground warfare, as I am, do not be alarmed as the ground war still gets the majority of the coverage and is covered in great detail.

It is a big book at over 700 pages of main text but never falters. An outstanding mixture of analysis, story telling and page turning thriller all in one. I hope there will be a long line of military histories to come from James Holland. In James Holland military history has a new star.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Joseph Rogash on June 3, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
James Holland's book, Together We Stand is a very enjoyable read. For those who have read little on the North African front, it is also greatly informative. For those who are more widely read on this topic, it is still very much worth exploring if for nothing else than Holland's writing style which I agree is as absorbing as Ambrose.

In addition Holland does an excellent job synthesizing critical ground, air and naval warfare aspects of the 1942-mid 1943 Mediterranean front in one volume, covering all levels of perspective. For example Holland presents the readers with the personalities, challenges and operational methodologies of such leaders as Churchill, Montgomery and Eisenhower while also describing in detail what fighting the war was like for a typical fighter pilot, tank commander, infantryman and even a submarine officer. He also provides more attention than most other works on the air warfare aspects of the 1942-43 North African/Mediterranean campaign. It is regrettable Holland's books have experienced far less commercial success or publicity, at least in the U.S. compared with similar authors such as Hastings, Ambrose, and Atkinson. His writing abilities are the equal to these gifted historians.

Of course, for some professional historians and certain more highly educated academics, Holland may be considered too much of a "pop historian" with little that is new to offer. But for amateur history enthusiasts such as myself, I highly recommend this book.
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By Turk on February 23, 2015
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The best overall history of the war in North Africa that I have ever read and I am something of a nut on the subject.
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