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Triumphant Fox: Erwin Rommel and the Rise of the Afrika Korps (Stackpole Military History Series) Paperback – March 4, 2009

4.6 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

Rommel's desert campaigns are brilliantly described (Drew Middleton The New York Times Book Review)

Mitcham's prose is concise, yet descriptive. This compact book probes deeply into Rommel as a commander, soldier, leader, husband and citizen, providing a good picture of Rommel's personality, rather than giving us only a drab rundown of his battlefield exploits. (Armor) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Samuel W. Mitcham, Jr., is the author of more than twenty books on World War II. He lives in Louisiana.
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Product Details

  • Series: Stackpole Military History Series
  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Stackpole Books; First Paperback Edition edition (March 4, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0811735605
  • ISBN-13: 978-0811735605
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,532,087 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Samuel W. Mitcham, Jr. was born in Mer Rouge, Louisiana, in 1949. He was educated at Northeast Louisiana University, North Carolina State, and the University of Tennessee, where he received his doctorate. He was a U.S. Army helicopter pilot during the Viet Nam War, remained active in the reserves, graduated from the U.S. Army's Command and General Staff College, and is qualified through the rank of major general. Following in his mother's footsteps (she was a newspaper editor for 47 years), he is the author of more than 40 books, several of which were History or Military History Book Club Selections.

Dr. Mitcham was a professor at Henderson State University, Georgia Southern University and the University of Louisiana at Monroe, and was a visiting professor at West Point. His works have been translated into several languages, including German, Bulgarian, Italian, Polish, Hungarian, Chinese, Russian, Japanese and Polish, and he has appeared on the BBC and the History Channel, among others.

Mitcham is married and has two children. He lives in Monroe, Louisiana.

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Format: Paperback
Few military books are written with such clear and lucid details.Mr Mitcham describes the Afrika Korps rise with great accuracy. He puts to rest all the myths which had sprung up with the reputation of the Korps. One such point is that some historians have claimed that the Afrika Korps boasted technologically superior tanks compared to the British. Nothing could be farther from the truth. In fact , the Korps themselves faced technologically superior armour, plus the fact that they were always outnumbered. Certain historians have claimed the contrary to this fact as well. Mr Mitcham puts to rest this myth as well. The truth of the matter was that concentration of armour, the reason for the Korps success, was seen as having superior numbers, actually the Korps under the Desert Fox , concentrated its numbers against enemy formations one at a time , thereby neutralizing British superiority of numbers. Samuel Mitcham Jr also goes into the day to day life of Rommel and his army. The battles of 'TottenTag' and the major battles like 'operation battleaxe' are studied with great detail. Afrika Korps also suffered tremendous losses in high ranking officers, Mr Mitcham investigates this point as well. In my opinion, this book is a must for all students of the Desert War of 1941-43, especially since it is unbiased and filled with a lot of facts and valuabe data.
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Yes he was a brilliant charger! Yes he did much more than one could reasonably expect with his resources. But he was far from perfect and this book at least gives the information that his casualty rates were unreasonably high. The book is well written and concise - actually part of a series of three - and lays the story down without too much adoration.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is volume one of Samuel W. Mitcham Jr.'s digest of Field Marshal Erwin Rommel and his Afrika Korps' campaign in the North African Desert War. Mitcham has focused his research and writing from Rommel's point of view. He has thoroughly researched the writings of key participants and the works of other preeminent historians and biographers of Rommel. The result of his labor is a decent and lucid history. This volume begins with Rommel's arrival in Tripolitania and concludes with Operation Crusader. I highly recommend this volume as well as part two Rommel's Desert War: The Life and Death of the Afrika Korps (Stackpole Military History Series). Also of great value is Adrian Stewart's title Early Battles of the Eighth Army: Crusader to the Alamein Line, 1941-42 (Stackpole Military History Series) which provides the British perspective. Also by Mitcham I recommend Rommel's Greatest Victory for an examination of the Battle of Tobruk.
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Format: Paperback
This book covers the campaign in North Africa from the start of the German effort in the theater through the retreat back to their starting point in late 1941.

This is my second work that I've read by Mitcham. His work on the Sicily campaign was pretty good, but I often had the suspicion as I was reading that that he dances on the line of a romanticizing the Germans. Here it was a little more evident, and in many ways is a product of its time (1984).

Rommel tends to be one of those figures for such writers, like the Robert E. Lee or Stonewall Jackson of the Third Reich. Yes, he may have fought well, and yes, he became an anti-Nazi and was murdered by the regime he served so well. In this kind of narrative, he seems at once brilliant, conflicted, ultimately human and most "like us."

Mitcham's account certainly follows this vein. The first 60 pages of the 190 or so of narrative describe Rommel's career leading up to his arrival in Tripoli -- a career that included a stint leading Hitler's bodyguard unit, a connection that Rommel used to secure a field command. Meanwhile, here we learn that Goebbels gave his old friend Rommel a camera.

The soldiers of the DAK, for their part, are portrayed as mini-Rommels. Like those Rommel left behind on the Egyptian frontier, whom Mitcham describes as "the best of the German infantry: proud, tough, resourceful, and self-reliant." Everything we'd expect of good soldiers doing a very good job.

That all may be, but something seems to be missing in this account in spite of the repetition. Among the several second-hand sources used, Mitcham's first citation is from Paul Carell, who is now regarded as a somewhat dubious source.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I haven,t had the time to read this book yet. but I,ll get to it soon,thanks O.K? that should do.
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