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The Battle of the Odon

Author
Georges Bernarge
I've had this book a while and it's been hard going to be honest. WWII isn't my period of choice other than a passing interest but I thought this might be am interesting read as it was written by a Frenchman and contained accounts from both sides.

Which brings me nicely to the first disappointment, this is not in any way a balanced account of the battle. The author clearly has a grudge against the Allies for some reason. He constantly refers to the French civilian casualties and I feel gives the impression that it was the Allies fault. The second reason is he draws from unit diaries on the Allied side and seeks to constantly paint a picture of poor discipline, confusion and general incompetence from that side, All of which may possibly be true but does rather make you wonder how they managed to accomplish anything.

The Wehrmacht and the SS however have their picture painted from post war journals and more incredibly press reports. This gives the impression the Germans all fought to the last man and the last round, while performing heroic actions against the odds. It all feels a bit “boys own” rather than coldly factual.

This is is a translation from the original French and needed better proof reading, there are even a few French terms left intact which spoils the flow when you have to Google what they are.

That is the bad out of the way, sadly there isn't really a lot of good that this reviewer could find in this book, it was frankly a slog and if it hadn't been a review copy I probably wouldn't have finished it. It does have some very nicely colourised illustrations in it and these along with the before and after pictures used are it's real saving grace. The maps are clear and use Allied cap badges (though oddly enough not the German unit symbols) to show the various units which is a nice touch.


All in all I have given this a 3 star rating without the illustrations it would have been lower. Also it may be more useful to somebody with a greater interest in the period than I have.
Author
Helm
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