Hitler’s War in Africa 1941-1942 written by David Mitchelhill-Green and published by Pen & Sword Books – £25.00 – Hardback – Pages 176

Adolf Hitler’s war in Africa arose from the urgent need to reinforce the Italian dictator, Benito Mussolini, whose 1940 invasion of Egypt had been soundly beaten. Of secondary importance to his ideological dream of conquering the Soviet Union, Germany’s Führer rushed a small mechanised force into the unfamiliar North African theatre to stave off defeat and avert any political fallout.

This fresh account begins with the arrival of the largely unprepared German formations, soon to be stricken by disease and heavily reliant upon captured materiel, as they fought a bloody series of see-sawing battles across the Western Desert.

David Mitchelhill-Green has gathered a wealth of personal narratives from both sides as he follows the brash exploits of General Erwin Rommel, intent on retaking Libya; the Nile firmly in his sights. Against this backdrop is the brutal human experience of war itself.

I must admit to starting to read this book with the attitude of ‘I’ll have read this all before’, and I had in some parts, but I was wrong and pleasantly surprised. What an engaging and well-written book that tells the story of the allies’ battle against Germany during the North African campaign from 41 – 42. The writing was good and had me gripped in good parts of the book. What struck me about the book was the balance told from either side of the warring armies and it gives good personal accounts of how it affected people from either side. It also showed how unorganised things were and how the powers that be could have done a better job. Other things that commend the book well are the decent pictures, good maps and diagrams and an excellent bibliography at the end of the book. If anything, Pen & Sword always do these little things very well.