Knight's Cross: A Life of Field Marshal Erwin Rommel

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9780002159364: Knight's Cross: A Life of Field Marshal Erwin Rommel

In any numbering of the great captains of history, the name Erwin Rommel must stand in the first rank. He was an outstanding field commander of World War II, and the only one respected, as well as feared, by his opponents. This study looks at Rommel's career, showing how inspiringly wild and superficially undisciplined Rommel's style of leadership could be, how he believed in boldness of manoeuvre, ferocity in attack and tenacity in pursuit. These qualities, the hallmarks of his career, he displayed in his great battles in North Africa. The book also discusses Rommel's inevitable entanglement in politics when he realized the Allied invasion was going to succeed. He believed the only way to save Germany was to negotiate a peace settlement so he tried to present Hitler - to whom he had always been devoted and who had always shown him respect - with military realities. The result being he was branded a defeatist and ignored. When he was implicated in a plot to assassinate Hitler he was offered the choice of trial by a People's Court (rigged) or suicide, a state funeral and protection for his family. He chose the latter.

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From the Back Cover:

Erwin Rommel was the outstanding Axis field commander of the Second World War, respected, even admired, by his opponents. here, it seemed to the Allies, was a supremely proffessional soldier: chivalrous, decent, largely untainted by the crimes of the nazi regime, carrying out his duty with often dazzling success.

David fraser's definitive study brings to Rommel's career not only the insights of an acclaimed biographer, but also those of a distinguished soldier. He shows how inspiringly spontaneous and superficially haphazard Rommel's style of leadership could be; how his hallmarks of boldness of manoeuvre, ferocity in attack and tenacity in pursuit, which characterised his great campaign in Northern Africa, were evident from his earliest battles in the First World War. 'Knight's Cross' is first and foremost the biography of a soldier, but Rommel reached a position in which he almost inevitable became embroiled in politics, including his alleged involvement in the plot to kill Hitler, whichcondemned him in the eyes of the F(hrer he had serverd so loyally. Rommel is not, to David Fraser, a flawless hero: his failings as well as his genius are recorded here. But he had that instinct for battle and leadership which set him apart from his contemporaries, and places him among the truely great commanders of history.

'A masterly essay in military biography.'
LORD CHALFONT, 'Guardian'

'Consolidates David Fraser's place as a military historian to be reckoned with.'
HENRY STANHOPE, 'The Times'

'Many books have been written about Rommel. None has been more thoughly researched or examines his personality and character in more detail than this one . . . Fraser gets under the skin of this man as well as any biographer ever can.'
THE ECONOMIST

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