Title THE DESERT GENERALS.
Publisher William Kimber, London, 1960, second edition.
Seller ID 24194
320 pp, large 8vo (9 1/2" H), hard cover in dust jacket. Map endpapers, b&w photographs, maps/battle plans. "The first portrait is of Sir Richard O'Connor, who won the fantastic victories over Graziani's Italians in 1940. The author shows that th e credit for the daring and unorthodox planning is due to O'Connor and not to Wavell; he puts forward a convincing argument to show that Tripoli could have been taken - and the North African campaign ended - in February, 1941, if the Prime Mi n i s t e r had not diverted forces to Greece. Of Sir Alan Cunningham, first commander of 8th Army, there is a picture of imaginative insight. The author shows that the crisis in the 'Crusader' battle of November, 1941, was caused by twenty years o f ne gl ec t a nd traditionalism, although the brunt fell on Cunningham, then a sick man. In Sir Neil Ritchie, next 8th Army commander, the author sees personified the characteristics of the Establishment - rigidity, social charm and professiona l c on ser vat ism . H e shows how Ritchie was beaten in the summer battles of 1942 by the dynamism of German leadership. With 8th Army in danger of complete collapse, the C.-in-C., Sir Claude Auchinleck, took over direct command in order to try t o sa ve the Midd le E as t a nd its vital oil. In the next few weeks he won a great but never officially acknowledged victory in the First Battle of Alamein. The author believes that this was the true turning point of the war, making possible the ' Torch ' l andi ngs i n Fre nch Nor th Africa. Auchinleck's reward was dismissal - as, the author shows, a political scapegoat. Although Field-Marshal Montgomery has recounted his own story, there is another side to it, told here for the first tim e. Th e au thor discus ses th e pl ans f or Montgomery's first victory of Alam Halfa which had been made by Auchinleck and his officers; he submits that the Battle of Alamein was not impeccably handled, and that Rommel's escape afterwards was not o wing to rain , but to the hesita nt, ' broad front' pursuit - the very error of which Montgomery was to accuse Eisenhower in 1944." Previous owner's small bookplate and small light stain on front pastedown, light browning to edges of text block, minor w rinkli ng at top/bott om of sp ine, o ne pag e with tiny edge tear and crease. Dust jacket has wear/wrinkles/tiny chips at top/bottom of hinges and flap-folds, small surface paper loss at top of spine, light browning on spine and flap-fold s, two ed ge tear s with creases - old tap e repai r, one tiny edge tear, light wear on flap-folds. Very Good/Very Good-