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