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on February 13, 2017
This and the follow on book - Fox at the Front, are two of the best alternate history books I've ever read of WW2. Of curse there are some improbabilities, but if you can accept them as story, then it opens the door to some great reading. The authors are both knowledgeable and insightful in telling this story. I found myself hating to have to put it down as I was so anxious to see what was going to happen next. One humorous thing for me is that my image and voice Rommel through both books is James Mason!!!!

Bottom line well worth reading if you enjoy alternate history.
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on October 9, 2005
When reading Fox on the Rhine I found myself comparing it to Harry Turtledove's World War I/II series. I recently read and reviewed Turtledove's latest, Drive to the East, so it was fresh in my mind. Fox on the Rhine provides the level of detail that Turtledove's series lacks. From details of individual tactical engagements to analyses of the strategic alignments, the author gives the reader a full view of the situation. The book opens when one man's tiny change from actual history results in a successful July 20, 1944 assassination of Hitler. Whether the resulting scenarios are really plausible is beside the point because the authors made them seem credible. The authors do produce an interesting alternate history tale while letting the reader in on more than broad generalizations of what is going on at the front. A few more maps would have been helpful though.

Although Fox on the Rhine portrays the Germans on the move with a second chance, they are not glorified. The authors go a bit far in deifying Rommel, but most of the German leaders and the SS are nasty and evil as ever. A surprising feature of the book is the portrayal of the American army sweeping across France and then in counterattack mode. The Americans have practically equal billing in this book and are definitely the good guys. Readers considering Fox on the Rhine do not have to be concerned they are buying a Neo Nazi or at least sympathetic tome.

So far, I am describing a book that will appeal to both Alternate and Military history buffs. However, there are also key aspects in a book such as character development and plot lines. In this area, Fox on the Rhine is mediocre at best and Turtledoves comes out way ahead. The characters are ciphers attached to historical stereotypes. In fact, a significant part of the book is devoted to worthless letters from an American bomber gunner to his mother. Letters from a tanker would have been much more interesting and fitting. The descriptions of the military campaigns in Fox on the Rhine are informative and interesting, but without characters to really care about, it falls flat. For the right audience, Fox on the Rhine is well worth the time, but when considering everything that comprises a good book, it is little more than ordinary.
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'Fox on the Rhine,' by Douglas Niles and Micheal Dobson, is a wonderful story of just how differently World War Two could have turned out if the Army Officers plot had succeeded in killing Adolf Hitler. In 'Fox' Hitler is killed at Rastenberg on July 20th, 1944 and Germany is soon thrown into a sea of chaos. Heinrich Himmler and his SS soon move to gain the loyalty of the army and seek a seperate peace with the Soviets. Once that's accomplished, Himmler appoints Erwin Rommel, 'the Desert Fox,' to command an alternate version of the 'Battle of the Bulge.' While at times Dobson and Niles spend a little too much time showing off the fruits of their research, which is impressive, they do manage to tell a riveting story, and while some aspects of 'Fox' do stretch the reader's believabilty, the story is riveting and builds to an explosive climax. But perhaps the most fun is the simple question that the authors ask and attempt to answer: What would have happened had Erwin Rommel commanded the Ardennes Offensive? A great ride that ranks among the best works of alternate history.
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on March 27, 2012
I'm about 3/4ths through it, and have really enjoyed it, but to be truthful I feel as if the book was written for me from a demo graphical standpoint (big history buff). I wouldn't say its a work of great literature, the book jumps around quite a bit and follows the stories of six or so characters reminded me a lot of the film The Thin Red Line with the multiple story lines and jump cuts. Rommel the Desert Fox is really the star, but the book is very slow about bringing him out, as in real life and the book he was wounded shortly before the July 20th bomb plot and spends a bit of the book recovering from his wounds while the other characters fight. The book is not written from a pro-American or pro-German standpoint but rather an anti-Nazi one as you begin to sympathize with the German characters who of course were not our allies in this war, I find most books of the genre portray the Germans as 'evil'. The authors spend quite some time I'd imagine researching the American and German Armies, SS, and Nazi gov't characters because most of them were real people and their attitudes and mannerisms are similar to their real life counterparts. If your a fan of 'action' style books or a Tom Clancy style book without the technobable, I think you'd enjoy this. I liked it so much to have already ordered its sequel.
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Fox on the Rhine is an enjoyable piece of alternate history based on the supposition that the plot to assasinate Hitler had succeeded. The book is packed with battle scenes and historic figures like Rommel, Himmler, and Patton reacting to the new situation. The book bogs down a little in intrigues between the assasins and the NAZIs. Also one would have really liked to know how the post war world would have looked under the changed circumstances (perhaps in a sequal?). Nevertheless I could hardly put the book down, which for my busy lifestyle is praise indeed.

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on January 30, 2003
July 20, 1944: Hitler is killed by a bomb and a military coup is attempted. Little did the German military officers know that Himmler would beat them to finishing line, taking control of the Reich and bringing about changes that might save it.
I found the plot realistic, along with many of the characters (with all their merits and flaws), and thought the authors did very well. I wish more writers were as good. Rommel, Himmler and Patton all seem to come alive. The alternate history was done so well it does seem like a alternate reality.
One of the reviewers complained that the book felt like a wargame, where the two authors just rolled dice and such, and frankly if this is true, I also wish more authors played military role playing games. Let the 'dice' keep it fair!
I plan to get 'Fox on the Front'.
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on July 25, 2000
Both authors seem to have borrowed much from their wargaming expertise to craft this "what-if" WWII scenerio. How would Hitler's death affect the war? Well, if you know anything about Rommel, Patton, and Himmler, you'll enjoy seeing them act out that plot. The character development is easy for the writers, who stay pretty close to historical alacrity. The only negative is the sprinkling of wargaming references - when describing a combat situation you can almost hear them saying "the Panther, with defense factor 5, Attack strenth of 12, and in hull-down position, attacked the modified M4 Sherman from the flank..." Those allusions were tolerable and actually made me reminisce about the wargaming days of old. Well done! Very highly recommended for WWII history buffs!
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on March 15, 2015
Wow, this is simply what great reading is all about, this book is one of my all time favorites!
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on January 16, 2001
While this novel has its interesting points, ones that are shared by all "What If" books, I thought it was not particularly well written and had at least one annoying factual error that was repeated ad nauseum. First, the writing. While one does not expect literature of a high order with these kinds of novels, I found the pacing to be variable and the authors' command of the language often lacking. For example, at the bottom of page 72 (in the hardcover edition), where the authors are describing Himmler's office, the word "huge" is used no less than four times in the same paragraph. As a published author, I find this appalling. There are many synonyms for that overused word they could have used, and the fact that their editor didn't catch this either is surprising, as well. As for that annoying fact that keeps cropping up, the authors are constantly referring to the BLACK uniforms of the SS. Field Gray uniforms were introduced in 1938, and by 1944 had completely replaced the original black. This was done as much for public relations (the German populace had begun to look upon the black-clad SS as less than real soldiers), as well as to give the Waffen SS (the armed SS) a uniform that wouldn't stick out like a sore thumb in battle. The ONLY unit that continued to wear the black uniform was the Leibstandarte Adolf Hitler, Hitler's bodyguard unit. Even Himmler himself had ceased to wear the black early in the war and numerous pictures of him confirm this. All this does (over and over again) is confirm that the authors did not do their research. Finally, there is the major plot point about Germany making peace with Stalin, allowing them to concentrate on the Western Front. While the authors gamely try to make this plausible, they fail for the simple reason that by 1944 too much blood had been spilled. The Russians would NEVER have agreed to a negotiated peace with the Germans for ANY reason. Certainly not for territory they would have annexed anyway. In all, while this book was mildly interesting, it fails on several fronts.
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on December 5, 2015
Good book
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