Review - Combat and Morale in the North African Campaign

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Tom from Cornwall
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Joined: 01 May 2006 19:52
Location: UK

Review - Combat and Morale in the North African Campaign

Post by Tom from Cornwall » 10 Jan 2012 20:50

Andy H asked me to repeat this post from the British Empire Section here:

"I've just finished reading "Combat and Morale in the North African Campaign: The Eighth Army and the path to El Alamein" by Jonathon Fennell - which Santa delivered for Xmas! ISBN: 978-0-521-19270-5, Cambridge University Press.

An academic (and therefore blooming expensive!) book, the author has done a great job of discovering new sources and analysing them to trace the morale of 8th Army during the summer of 1942. Using sources as varied as sickness rates, absence rates and most intriguingly previously un-published censor reports which he found in the Australian archives, Fennell's work tends to support the thesis that 8th Army suffered from a serious morale crisis during June and July 1942. His research extended to South African, Australian, New Zealand and UK archives so his work begins to reflect the Commonwealth nature of the 8th Army.

His work also shows that the improvement in morale that followed was not down solely to the appearance of the little man with the "funny hat". As well as the undoubtedly benign influence of Montgomery's arrival and immediate orders, there appears to have been a more general improvement in the standard of training, recruitment and retention of British troops during 1941-42 which began to bear fruit around this time. Combined with the improvements in equipment that were beginning to be supplied, and perhaps the more static fighting environment, these sufficed, just!, to produce success at Alam Halfa and then later in the offensive.

These few sentences really fail to do justice to the depth of research that has gone into this work, which I would strongly recommend for anyone interested in either the North African campaign or the Commonwealth armies more generally. It appears to be the first in a new series from Cambridge University Press - I hope they are all this valuable (although my bank manager might not appreciate the prices!). An Interlibrary loan is definitely recommended if you have the ability to do it."

Andy also asked me to give the book a rating out of 5 stars, and I would have to give it 5 out of 5. Let's hope that the publishers follow up with a paperback version. :)



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Andy H
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Re: Book Review - Combat and Morale in the North African Cam

Post by Andy H » 11 Jan 2012 10:51

Thanks for the review Tom


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Sid Guttridge
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Re: Book Review - Combat and Morale in the North African Cam

Post by Sid Guttridge » 12 Jan 2012 11:40

Hi Tom,

Looks interesting. Thanks for the lead.

Bearing in mind the price, I will probably get it via Inter-Library Loan.



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Re: Review - Combat and Morale in the North African Campaign

Post by navykate » 16 Jan 2012 12:59

Hi Andy - I'm trying to e-mail you but the contact info I have seems out of date - please could you message me on - Many thanks.

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David W
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Re: Review - Combat and Morale in the North African Campaign

Post by David W » 17 Jan 2012 01:07

Library loan looks like the way forward!

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