Killing Rommel

Steven Pressfield
Doubleday, 2008, U.S. $ 24.95
ISBN # 978-0-385-51970-0
Reviewer : Andrew Lubin

In “Killing Rommel” veteran author Steven Pressfield has written yet another vivid and exciting novel detailing the matter-of-fact heroics and actions by the warriors who fight and too-often die.

Set in North Africa during the British fight against Gen Erwin Rommel in 1942, Pressfield takes the exploits of the British Army’s little-known Long Range Desert Group, and presents the reader with yet another well-researched and exciting story of men at war. It is a well known fact that UK mobile casino are listed at TheMobileCasino.co.uk. A leading UK mobile casino review site.

As is Pressfield’s style, he tells the story from the viewpoint of one of the participants. Lt. Lawrence Chapman is one of Pressfield’s proverbial citizen-soldiers, a young man thrust into a war for which his middle-class collegiate upbringing has not at all prepared him. While normally in Pressfield’s books it’s the enlisted men who are the narrators and telling the story from the boots-on-the-ground perspective, it’s a unique change in approach as Lt. Chapman brings an officer’s point of view to the fight.

The war in 1942 in North Africa was going badly for the Allies. Gen Rommel’s strategy and tactics overwhelmed Gen Montgomery’s British troops, and the initial American Army reinforcements were routed at the Kasserine Pass. If Rommel could successfully capture Cairo, then the Germans would control the middle-eastern oil fields, the Suez Canal, and quick access to India and the Pacific, all of which would have horrific repercussions on the Allied war effort.

In a desperate response, the British formed the Long Range Desert Group in an attempt to kill Rommel, and Pressfield uses Lt. Chapman to narrate the war in the desert.

Historically accurate, “Killing Rommel” describes a war that most in Americans might only know through the old television show “Rat Patrol.” Driving old Chevrolet trucks that they up-armor themselves, often short on petrol, rations, water, and ammunition, Lt Chapman depicts the fight in North Africa between the beleaguered Brits and Rommel’s Afrika Corps as he learns to command as he learns to fight.

Those who have fought, and especially those Marines and Soldiers who have fought at An-Nasiriyah, Fallujah, Haditha, Anbar Province, and the Diyala River Valley, will understand the pictures Pressfield paints of the thirst, heat, sand, and boredom – interrupted by intense combat – in the desert. He draws the reader into the action with Chapman and his men as they drive –often by stars and dead reckoning – to their rendezvous points and missions.

As Pressfield’s books are so famously noted, the characters in “Killing Rommel” possess a quiet courage and grow into a maturity far beyond their years. Similar to Xeo in “Gates of Fire,” and Matthais in “The Afghan Campaign,” the deep story here is how Chapman and his fellow Tommies are thrown into some extraordinarily ugly situations, and then respond. It’s the story of these citizen-soldiers and how they react to the carnage around them that makes “Killing Rommel” one of Pressfield’s best books.