Alamein

Alamein

Paperback

By (author) Stephen Bungay

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  • Publisher: Aurum Press Ltd
  • Format: Paperback | 288 pages
  • Dimensions: 130mm x 192mm x 22mm | 222g
  • Publication date: 1 October 2003
  • Publication City/Country: London
  • ISBN 10: 1854109294
  • ISBN 13: 9781854109293
  • Edition: New edition
  • Edition statement: New edition
  • Illustrations note: 16pp b&w plates
  • Sales rank: 215,895

Product description

El Alamein was the World War II land battle Britain had to win. By the summer of 1942 Rommel's German forces were threatening to sweep through the Western Desert and drive on to the Suez Canal, and Britain was in urgent need of military victory. Then, in October, after 12 days of attritional tank battle and artillery bombardment, Montgomery's Eighth Army, with Australians and New Zealanders playing crucial roles in a genuinely international Allied fighting force, broke through the German and Italian lines at El Alamein. It was a turning-point in the war after which, in Churchill's words, "we never had a defeat". Stephen Bungay's book is as much at home analysing the crucial logistics of keeping desert armies supplied with petrol and tank parts as it is reappraising the combat strategies of Montgomery and Rommel, and ranges widely from the domestic political pressures on Churchill to the aerial siege of Malta, key to the control of the Mediterranean. And in a chapter on "The Soldier's War", Bungay graphically evokes the phantasmagoric blur of thunderous cannonade and tormenting heat that was the lot of the individual men who actually fought and died in the desert.

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Author information

Stephen Bungay is the author of The Most Dangerous Enemy, an acclaimed history of the Battle of Britain and a continuing sales success for Aurum. He now works in executive education lecturing on management strategy and military history and is a director of Ashridge Management College. He lives in Kent.

Review quote

'Terse and brilliantly written by a thorough master of his subject' - John Lukacs, Los Angeles Times; 'A brilliant balance between lucid analysis and piquant detail... masterly chapters' - Lawrence James, Daily Mail

Editorial reviews

Following his acclaimed history of the Battle of Britain, Bungay now turns his attention to the other great British triumph of the Second World War - El Alamein. In the North African desert in autumn 1942, the British Eighth Army under General Montgomery defeated Rommel's Afrika Korps in an epic battle. For anyone who has any military experience or memories of the Second World War this is an unputdownable account. Indeed, it should be required reading for everyone, especially for the fourth chapter, entitled 'The Soldiers' War', which provides a graphic and realistic account of the conditions experienced by front-line troops. This book is not just an account of a battle, but provides a broad sweep of the events which led up to it, and a less sweeping account of its aftermath. It also puts the whole desert war in perspective in relation to the war as a whole. Bungay shows how compared with the Wehrmacht the British (and Commonwealth) armies were ill-prepared and undertrained. Montgomery was a prickly egotist, and few will disagree with Bungay's critical summation, but none who encountered him will ever forget his dynamic and inspiring leadership. His ruthless weeding out of the incompetent went far below senior commanders and transformed the Eighth Army. While Rommel was expert at exploiting opportunity, Montgomery's genius lay not only in his preparation for battle, but in sticking to his intentions. Of course, and quite rightly, much is made here of supplies and air superiority, but in the end battles are won by the bloody clash of infantry. If there is a criticism to be made of this gripping analysis, it is in a neglect of those whose bayonets and raw courage actually did the job. The British soldier, at the worst of times, never lost confidence in his own ability, only in those who led him. Montgomery restored his belief. This is a brilliant account of Alamein and all the issues surrounding it - political, military and technological. Highly recommended. (Kirkus UK)