Steven Pressfield's quintet of acclaimed, bestselling novels of ancient warfare-- Gates of Fire, Tides of War, Last of the Amazons, The Virtues of Wa,r and The Afghan Campaign-- have earned him a reputation as a master chronicler of military history, a supremely literate and engaging storyteller, and an author with acute insight into the minds of men in battle. In Killing Rommel Pressfield extends his talents to the modern world with a WWII tale based on the real-life exploits of the Long Range Desert Group, an elite British special forces unit that took on the German Afrika Korps and its legendary commander, Field Marshal Erwin Rommel, "the Desert Fox."
Autumn 1942. Hitler's legions have swept across Europe; France has fallen; Churchill and the English are isolated on their island. In North Africa, Rommel and his Panzers have routed the British Eighth Army and stand poised to overrun Egypt, Suez, and the oilfields of the Middle East. With the outcome of the war hanging in the balance, the British hatch a desperate plan--send a small, highly mobile, and heavily armed force behind German lines to strike the blow that will stop the Afrika Korps in its tracks. Narrated from the point of view of a young lieutenant, Killing Rommel brings to life the flair, agility, and daring of this extraordinary secret unit, the Long Range Desert Group. Stealthy and lethal as the scorpion that serves as their insignia, they live by their motto: Non Vi Sed Arte--Not by Strength, by Guile as they gather intelligence, set up ambushes, and execute raids. Killing Rommel chronicles the tactics, weaponry, and specialized skills needed for combat, under extreme desert conditions. And it captures the camaraderie of this "band of brothers" as they perform the acts of courage and cunning crucial to the Allies' victory in North Africa.
As in all of his previous novels, Pressfield powerfully renders the drama and intensity of warfare, the bonds of men in close combat, and the surprising human emotions and frailties that come into play on the battlefield. A vivid and authoritative depiction of the desert war, Killing Rommel brilliantly dramatizes an aspect of World War II that hasn't been in the limelight since Patton. Combining scrupulous historical detail and accuracy with remarkable narrative momentum, this galvanizing novel heralds Pressfield's gift for bringing more recent history to life.
After five novels about conflict in ancient times (Gates of War, etc.), Pressfield effortlessly gives fresh life to wartime romance and the rigors of combat in a superior WWII thriller. Framed as the memoir of a British officer, the book is based on an actual British plot to assassinate the "Desert Fox," German field marshal Erwin Rommel, during late 1942 and early 1943 in North Africa. The author painstakingly sets the stage for later fireworks by charting the prewar career of R. Lawrence "Chap" Chapman, especially his relationship with the brilliant but doomed Zachary Stein, Chap's tutor and mentor at Oxford. Chap also falls in love with sexy Rose McCall, whose brains and brass later get her posted to naval intelligence in Egypt. As a young lieutenant, Chap joins the team assembled to go after Rommel. Pressfield expertly juxtaposes the personal with the historical, with authentic battle descriptions. Crisp writing carries readers through success, failure and a final face-to-face encounter with Rommel that's no less exciting for knowing the outcome. (Apr.)
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May 05, 2008
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