Field Marshal: The Life and Death of Erwin Rommel

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Casemate, Jul 19, 2015 - History - 616 pages
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Erwin Rommel was a complex man: a born leader, brilliant soldier, a devoted husband and proud father; intelligent, instinctive, brave, compassionate, vain, egotistical, and arrogant. In France in 1940, then for two years in North Africa, then finally back in France again, at Normandy in 1944, he proved himself a master of armored warfare, running rings around a succession of Allied generals who never got his measure and could only resort to overwhelming numbers to bring about his defeat. And yet for all his military genius, Rommel was also naive, a man who could admire Adolf Hitler at the same time that he despised the Nazis, dazzled by a Führer whose successes blinded him to the true nature of the Third Reich. Above all, he was the quintessential German patriot, who ultimately would refuse to abandon his moral compass, so that on one pivotal day in June 1944 he came to understand that he had mistakenly served an evil man and evil cause. He would still fight for Germany even as he abandoned his oath of allegiance to the Führer, when he came to realize that Hitler had morphed into nothing more than an agent of death and destruction. In the end Erwin Rommel was forced to die by his own hand, not because, as some would claim, he had dabbled in a tyrannicidal conspiracy, but because he had committed a far greater crime he dared to tell Adolf Hitler the truth. In Field Marshal historian Daniel Allen Butler not only describes the swirling, innovative campaigns in which Rommel won his military reputation, but assesses the temper of the man who finally fought only for his country, and no dark depths beyond.
 

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Contents

AUTHORS NOTE
9
PROLOGUE A Fox in the Desert
16
One The Birth of a Soldier
21
Two The Great War
36
Three An Officer of the Reichswehr
82
Four The Third Reich
111
Five Blitzkrieg
136
Six Afrika Korps
179
Eleven El Alamein
362
Twelve African Perigee
396
Thirteen The Atlantic Wall
440
Fourteen Invasion and Conspiracy
481
Fifteen The Death of a Field Marshal
524
EPILOGUE The Legend of the Desert Fox
549
RommelA Timeline
559
ENDNOTES
568

Seven Tobruk
222
Eight Crusader
272
Nine Der Hexenkessel
307
Ten African Apogee
338
SOURCES AND BIBLIOGRAPHY
579
INDEX
587
Copyright

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About the author (2015)

Daniel Allen Butler, a maritime and military historian, is the bestselling author of "Unsinkable": The Full Story of RMS Titanic, Distant Victory: The Battle of Jutland and the Allied Triumph in the First World War, and The First Jihad: The Battle for Khartoum and the Dawn of Militant Islam. He is an internationally recognized authority on maritime subjects and a popular guest-speaker for several cruise lines. Butler lives and works in Los Angeles, California.

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