Like Gallipoli and Kokoda, the siege of Tobruk is an iconic battle in Australia's military history. Under ceaseless attack from Rommel's men, the Australian defense held strong. In Tobruk, Peter FitzSimons relates the personal histories and stories not only of the men who defended the garrison against the German onslaught but of the Desert Fox, Erwin Rommel, and the powers back in both Berlin and Britain.
©2006 Peter FitzSimons; (P)2007 Bolinda Publishers Pty Ltd.
"Gripping stuff." (Sydney Morning Herald)
"A thorough, highly readable, distillation of the overlooked Battle of Tobruk." (The Age)
You can skip the first 27 minutes, which is the author's acknowledgments. You can skip the next two hours, which mainly cover the rise of Hitler and the Nazi party in the 1920's and 30's. Then skip the next thee hours, until the Aussies get to Tobruk. And then skip ahead another hour until Rommel and the Germans get to Africa. So now you're seven hours into this book, and at chapter seven. That cuts the reading down by 70% of the running time.
The author does over-rate Gen. Rommel, and claims he was the most popular man in the Third Reich after Hitler himself. I don't believe this was true, but just an attempt by the author to inflate the importance of the enemy.
The author also blames General Archibald Percival Wavell for the later loss of Singapore, when it was actually General Arthur Ernest Percival who surrendered that island, admittedly under the distant command of Gen. Wavell. Not that Wavell was a great leader; just not as bad as the author claims.
I actually liked the reading. It was quite jocular and in character with the text of the book. I've seen other comments that criticized the reading and the style of writing, but I enjoyed them.
Sixty years young. Surfer, Kayaker, Abalone diver, Backpacker. Rabid reader/listener. I love Sci-Fi and Fantasy.
I enjoyed the first 2/3 of the book, but it was just too long.
The snapshot of Australian life and attitudes from the time period
The common Digger soldiers
Probably not. War holds no attraction for me.
A wonderful story, with all of the aforementioned reviewers adjectives. My dogs got extra-long walks so I would not have to put the book "down."
Pluses for other reviewers were annoyances for me. The attempt at novelization, in conjunction with the seemingly random insertion of "personal stories," detracted from the actual account of the Defense of Tobruk. The continuous employment of superlative and antiquated colloquialisms were enough to make the my stolid eyes roll in exasperation. Descriptions of fortifications, unit arrangements, opposing commanders, strategic and tactical planning, gave way to whole sentences of unquoted feel-good blustering and mirth. If you want to hear an history made nice, this audiobook is for you. If you want an concise account, sans the tummy rub, it probably is not for you.
This was a well written and read book. I enjoyed the background and personal stories that went into this telling of a battle often overlooked in history.
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