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The End of the Beginning

Book Review

 

Title:

The End of the Beginning

Author:

Tim Clayton and Phil Craig

Publisher:

Free Press div. Simon  and Schuster, New York, NY

ISBN:

0-7432-2325-X

Reviewed By:

Frank Fogg

Review Date:

May, 2003

Rating:

The End of the Beginning is the story  of the battles in Africa between the British and German troops during the Second  World War. Included are a number of interesting photographs taken during the  war. The scope of the book is limited to coverage of the North African campaign between May 25th and November 10th, 1942.

Get more information about The End of the Beginning at amazon.comUnlike many war books, The End of the Beginning attempts to tell the story from the perspective of a small number of the battle's participants. Most of the tale is told by just a few people, including a member of British intelligence, a nurse on the Island of Malta, a pilot with the Royal Air Force, and an artillery  gunner on the front lines of the war. The story jumps from one participant to the next as the timeline progresses, and it tells how they felt in the heat of battle and later as they discover friends that have fallen in battle.

This book introduces some new material, including the effects of intelligence  on the results of the conflict for both sides. It focuses on the damage done  to the Allied army caused by an American Observer sending coded reports to Washington  with too much information, and how the stoppage of this leak helped to turn the tide of the battle. Another interesting sidebar tells how the British created  a phony map that fell into Nazi hands, changing the outcome of several critical battles. Another very strong point made by this book is the effect that General  Montgomery had on changing the morale, tactics, and battle readiness of the  British troops prior to the climatic El Alamein battle.

Although not an all-encompassing work on the war, this book tells an interesting tale with its narrow scope and focus on the everyday soldier's view of the conflict.  It is easy and enjoyable to read, while providing illumination into the reasons  for the final outcome of the battle in this theatre.



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