NOTICE: (Updated March 5, 2010)

Beginning December 19, 2009, Books 'N Border Collies will be posting but only intermittently while I pursue personal goals. I plan to share some reading I'm doing, but there will be no reviews. I will, however, be sharing my exploration of vegetarian cooking and the cookbooks and websites I use to educate myself. I hope you enjoy it!


Monday, March 30, 2009


by Steven Pressfield

"In the fall of 1942, Hitler's legions hold Europe in an iron grip while England stands alone - defiant. Field Marshal Erwin Rommel's Seventh Panzer Division has routed Britain's Eighth Army in North Africa and is poised to capture Egypt, the Suez Canal, and the Middle Eastern oil fields. To halt Rommel's Afrika Korps, the British devise a desperate plan to deploy a highly mobile, heavily armed band of commandos behind German lines. Operating under extreme desert conditions, the "scorpions" of the Long Range Desert Group repeatedly deliver raids and reconnaissance that stun the enemy." (from the CD container)

Looking for a good war novel? Steven Pressfield is your man. I loved the two ancient warfare novels of his that I read, Last of the Amazons and Gates of Fire: An Epic Novel of the Battle of Thermopylae. I figured I couldn't go wrong with a novel of WWII by him. I was absolutely correct.

No one I've read writes battle scenes the way Pressfield can. I completely lost track of what the story actually was in Killing Rommel, but I was completely immersed in the action. He makes you feel you're in the tank, trudging through the desert. He makes you feel you are the one deciding to open fire on enemy soldiers and he makes you feel the remorse when it's over. You are face to face with Field Marshall Rommel and you are remembering the men you fought beside and the men who died on both sides.

Aside from Pressfield's amazing abilities, what I found most fascinating about this book was Rommel himself. I didn't know much about him before this. I assumed that since he fought for the Nazis, he was a monster. Not so. According to Wikipedia, "An enduring legacy of Rommel's character is that he is also considered to be a chivalrous and humane military officer in contrast with many other figures of Nazi Germany. His famous Afrikakorps was not accused of any war crimes. Indeed, captured Commonwealth soldiers during his Africa campaign were reported to have been largely treated humanely. Furthermore, orders to kill captured Jewish soldiers and civilians out of hand in all theatres of his command were defiantly ignored. Following the defeat of Axis forces in North Africa, and while commanding the defence of Occupied France, his fortunes changed when he was suspected of involvement in the failed July 20 Plot of 1944 to kill Hitler and was forced to commit suicide."

For me, this is three for three when it comes to Steven Pressfield. I've not only enjoyed the book I was reading, but he made me anxious to search out more of the historical facts concerning his subject. I believe I can officially call myself a fan. :-)


bermudaonion said...

I'm not big on war novels, but am fascinated with WW2 for some reason. This sounds like one I would enjoy.

Serena said...

Rommel is one of the "good" that he actually held to a sort of moral code where prisoners of war were concerned...even Jews. Thanks for a great review and recommendation for the WWII reading challenge.

Lezlie said...

Bermudaonion ~ If you decide you like his writing, I also highly, highly recommend the other two that I read. "Last of the Amazons" is about Theseus and the Queen of the Amazons, and it was just awesome!

Serena ~ I didn't know that before I read this. It made me very curious about him! This *is* great one for the WWII Challege. You get to see the war from a theatre that I don't see in very many fiction books.


zetor said...

My husband is a great WW2 book reader, I'm going to pass this on to him.

Lezlie said...

Zetor ~ Guys would probably *really* like this book! It gets into all kinds of technical stuff they love. :-)


Heather J. @ TLC Book Tours said...

Although I'm not interested in this particular book, your description of Pressfield's writing has me intrigued. I reviewed several books by Bernard Cornwell recently and I raved about his treatment of battles. Clearly Pressfield has the same ability. I'm off to see what other time periods he may have written about - and likely I'll be adding them to my TBR list.

Lezlie said...

Heather ~ I think most of his other work is in ancient history. I hope you find something that appeals to you. He really is good!


Mr wolf said...

I'll probably never read the book. The 7th Panzer division was Rommel's command in the campaign in France and was never sent to Africa. In the fall of 1942 Rommel had not yet been promoted to Field Marshal.
The part about ignoring an order to send Jewish POWs to Germany is correct. There were several as the Palestine Brigade was part of the Eighth Army.

Lezlie said...

Mr. Wolf ~ Thank you for the information! I'm not at all well-versed in historical facts of that nature, and it's always interesting for me to learn where an author stuck to the truth and where he or she took literary license.


Anna said...

This sounds right up my alley. Great review! I've posted it here at War Through the Generations.

Diary of an Eccentric

Lezlie said...

Thanks, Anna!