on April 25, 2000
Kenneth Macksey, in his biography Rommel: Battles and Campaigns, is highly critical or Rommel. Macksey sees Rommel as a leader who changed little about his tactics from the First World War, despite massive technological changes. Macksey believed Rommel had a huge amount of luck in his battles. This differs from most historians' views, with David Frazer (Knight's Cross; HarperCollins) pointing out that war relies to a large extent on luck. There is also the cliché that 'you make your own luck'. Macksey views Rommel's advance through France in 1940 critically, and is quick to move acclaim from Rommel to his superiors, fellow generals, and troops. Although Macksey does have examples to support this view, they are highly specific, and are lost in a general evaluation of Rommel's successes. Macksey sees Rommel's success in North Africa as due to the poor leadership of the Allied forces, not the skill of the 'Desert Fox'. Frazer again has a different view, and states that in almost every single battle of his African campaign, Rommel was hugely outnumbered, but won some marvelous victories against vastly superior opposition. This was an interesting account, obviously from an anti-Rommel perspective, but giving excellent details on all of Rommel's battles, great maps and visuals as well.
on January 1, 2003
In Rommel: Battles and Campaigns, Macksey (a British officer in WWII) continues his efforts to atone for British defeats in France and North Africa by painting the German military leadership as incompetent. This book is less of an objective review of Rommel's campaigns, but rather a poorly masked attempt to completly discredit any and all actions taken by Rommel in WWII. The strong bias in this account is evident within the books first few pages and continues throughout the volume. I have tried to read this book twice without success. The unbalanced nature of the account is so annoying that after my second attempt the book found it's rightful place in my circular file. Hence this review.
Avoid this one like the plague! There are too many numerous and well written accounts of Rommel's war record to waste time on this one.