Field Marshal: The Life and Death of Erwin Rommel

Field Marshal: The Life and Death of Erwin Rommel

Cynical

LE
Book Reviewer
#1
Cynical submitted a new resource:

Field Marshal - The Life and Death of Erwin Rommel

Rommel, the “Desert Fox,” has developed a romantic allure as a gentlemanly general – spared being tarnished with the brutalities of Nazi Germany in spite of being a creation of that state’s propaganda machine and for several years the favourite of Hitler. That contradiction, combined with his astonishing performance in Africa, makes him one of the most written about generals in history. So any new book about him has to be good and have something useful to say.

This book achieves both...
Read more about this resource...
 

diverman

LE
Book Reviewer
#4
Will be very interested in your assessment. Please let me know via PM or, preferably, on here.
No problem, just part the way through a Bernie Gunther novel at the moment. Intersting books that combine historical fact and personalities with fiction, worth a read.
 

StBob072

LE
Book Reviewer
#8
Cynical submitted a new resource:

Field Marshal - The Life and Death of Erwin Rommel



Read more about this resource...

Thanks so much for the write-up. Some time ago another Arrser kindly sent me "Knight's Cross" by David Fraser, which I felt duty bound to read from beginning to end. Whilst (presumably) being historically accurate the book went into endless repetitive detail of Rommel's military strategies (which were pretty much the same every time!) whilst telling virtually nothing about the man himself; I got the impression that the author was desperately trying to tread a fine line between condoning and condemning, another repetitive theme. :-(

I will read this one with interest.
 

seaweed

LE
Book Reviewer
#9
As a total irrelevance, One of Mrs S' school friends married a Kraut who was Rommel's godson. With typical German lack of tact he once showed off to me a pen that Rommel had given his father. I am of course, like all naval officers, courtesy unlimited and bit back any temptation to tell him where to put it.

I have yet to read any account of Rommel showing any disapprobation of the sheer criminality of the Nazi regime, only resentment that Hitler was messing up the generals who might otherwise have kept their darling war going longer.
 
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#10
As a total irrelevance, One of Mrs S' school friends married a Kraut who was Rommel's godson. With typical German lack of tact he once showed off to me a pen that Rommel had given his father. I am of course, like all naval officers, courtesy unlimited and bit back any temptation to tell him where to put it.

I have yet to read a y account of Rommel showing any disapprobation of the sheer criminality of the Nazi regime, only resentment that Hitler was messing up the generals who might otherwise have kept their darling war going longer.
Apart from a biography of Manstein written by Benoit LeMay I am yet to read any biography of a German WW2 general or soldier that even touches on the topic of German war crimes. When written by Germans they are very quick to recount the crimes committed against them but strangely silent the other way.
 

Cynical

LE
Book Reviewer
#15
I have yet to read any account of Rommel showing any disapprobation of the sheer criminality of the Nazi regime, only resentment that Hitler was messing up the generals who might otherwise have kept their darling war going longer.
This book may surprise you then; it goes to some length to explain the context of pre WW2 Germany as seen by professional soldiers. It is particularly interesting on Rommel's disillusionment with the Nazi regime
 

diverman

LE
Book Reviewer
#16
Rommel if I remember correctly never commanded a unit on the Eastern Front so therefore may never have had direct control of an area where SS Einsatzgruppen were operating. His Second World War started in France then North Africa where he was repariated to Germany with nasal Diptheria. Then he was called back to duty on the Western front prior to D Day.

He probably knew of the atrocities but never admitted knowing to any third party as that could have the Gestapo or the Gehieme Feldpolizi knocking at your door at 3am.

This book is the next on my list to read.
 
#17
He probably knew of the atrocities
In a letter to his son published in ‘The Rommel Papers’, Rommel steers his son towards the Luftwaffe as a ‘career’ rather than Manfred’s choice of the Waffen SS. Dad didn’t want Manfred under Himmler’s jurisdiction because of rumours of what the SS were up to in the camps. Something like that.

Kurt Meyer of all people mentions in his memoirs (I paraphrase) ‘terrible things that shamed Germany’ and moves swiftly on.
 

diverman

LE
Book Reviewer
#18


Here is my take on the book.

Rommel. Life and death of a Field Marshall

The author has delved into the man as a husband and father but, also into the man as a soldier who never lost his humanity even in the maelstrom of war and politics. He has in this book to be shown him to be a human being and an honourable officer, by refusing the Commando Order and treating those captured soldiers as PoWs in accordance with the Geneva Convention at all times. It also shows Rommel’s growing disillusionment with Hitler, the direction of the war and his continued battles with the armed forces high command both German and Italian some of whom considered him an upstart.


Rommel’s military career is very detailed and well documented, throughout his whole military career, but in particular less is known about his death and the events leading up to it and how he acted to protect his family and close associates from the retribution Hitler demand from those who participated in the 20th of July plot. This latter part is understandable as many if not most of the documents pertaining to these events were destroyed before the end of the war and many of the participants have long died, so their memories and testimony is unavailable.


This book gives an excellent insight into the war in North Africa from the German perspective of which has been little written about by its protagonists on either side of the line. There is a myriad of detail about day to day life of Rommel whilst in action, his thought processes, and the continued battle as with his troops of chronic illness in a harsh unforgiving environment, and at times why he acted as he did at the height of the battles he fought.


I would recommend this book to those who wish to know more about Germany’s best known Field Marshall, a man who was respected on both sides of the line as a soldier and an opponent.
 

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