The Alexander Memoirs, 1940-1945, Field Marshal Earl Alexander of Tunis

The Alexander Memoirs, 1940-1945, Field Marshal Earl Alexander of Tunis

Field Marshal Alexander was one of the most experienced British commanders of the Second World War, taking part in the retreat to Dunkirk, the defeat in Burma, the campaign in North Africa, the invasion of Sicily and the long campaign in Italy, ending the war as Supreme Allied Commander, Mediterranean and a Field Marshal. He was thus one of the most important Allied commanders of the Second World War, but despite that he had become something of an unfamiliar figure.

The structure of the book is somewhat unusual. We start with a look at the North African campaign. This is followed by a section of 'battle maps', each with a brief summary of the battle being depicted. Alexander then moved back to look at the defeats in Europe in 1940 and in Burma, again with 'battle map' sections. We then move on to Italy, before finishing with another section of 'battle maps'. If one isn't fully aware of this structure it can make the book feel rather disjointed, especially as the final section of maps and accompanying text come after the conclusion.

Although you won't learn a great deal about Alexander as a person from these memoirs, he does give his opinions on the military events he was involved in and on the wider Allied strategic direction of the war. His views on the bombing of Cassino are of particular interest, and make a great deal of sense (they also make the controversy about the destruction of the monastery look very unjustified). The result is a good narrative history of the battles Alexander was involved in, with the added value of the commander in chief's own views.

Chapters

The Desert
1 - Return to the Western Desert
2 - The War in North Africa
3 - Two Battles
4 - Torch Pays Off
5 - Two American Generals

Two Defeats
6 - Dunkirk
7 - Burma

Italy
8 -Sicily in Thirty-Eight Days
9 - Return to Caserta
10 - The War in Italy
11 - Interlude at Lake Bolsena
12 - The Cruel Mountains
13 - Crisis in Greece
14 - Victory in Italy
15 - Last Parade

Author: Field Marshal Lord Alexander of Tunis
Edition: Hardcover
Pages: 210
Publisher: Frontline
Year: 2010 edition of 1961 original


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