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review 2017-11-09 04:23
Blitzkrieg: Myth, Reality, and Hitler’s Lightning War: France 1940 - Lloyd Clark

"BLITZKRIEG - Myth, Reality, and Hitler's Lightning War: France 1940" provides the reader with a fairly comprehensive account of the German invasion of the Benelux countries and France during May and June 1940. The author sets out to show that the German victory in Western Europe was by no means certain. Indeed, Hitler had plans to invade Western Europe as early as November 1939. But postponements were made on several occasions owing to the weather. There was also an occasion in which a Luftwaffe courier plane carrying the invasion plans veered off course and crashed in Belgium in January 1940. The German officer who had the plans, tried to burn them but was thwarted by the Belgians who soon arrived on the scene. This led the Allies to believe that the Germans would attack them in the same way as had happened in 1914. For their part, the German General Staff had their fears of repeating the mistakes of 1914. Thus, the plans for invasion were altered. 

The French entered the war in a state of wearied resignation with little enthusiasm for offensive operations. Their political and military leadership were prepared for a war of attrition. They had expectations of the Germans attacking them, Luxembourg, and Belgium in much the same way as they did in August 1914. To that end, their plan was to commit their best units - along with the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) - to Central Belgium in response to a German attack there. But, as the author points out, the French top commander Maurice Gamelin failed to take into account the possibility of the Germans making a bold thrust through the Ardennes Forest with their tanks (the Ardennes was regarded by the French as impassable to tanks and thus was lightly defended on the premise that the Germans would never make a major attack there). So, when the Germans sent their tanks, motorized units, and infantry through the Ardennes and into the key town of Sedan, Gamelin treated the German thrust as a diversion, requiring little response. But the Germans were wary of attritional warfare, knowing that their chances for success rested on exploiting any breakthrough with speed, dash, and savage attacks against the French designed to shock them both militarily and psychologically. Consequently, the Germans were able to reach the English Channel 10 days after the invasion began and within the following fortnight to compel the BEF to evacuate from the ports of Boulogne and Dunkirk. 

"BLITZKRIEG" contains pages of maps showing the development of the German offensives in the West (codenamed 'Fall Gelb' and 'Fall Rot') and several photos, which should appeal to any student of military history, as well as the general reader. 

Again from reading this book, I learned how much success or defeat in a military campaign encompasses many factors - human, economic, political, and psychological - that, taken together, contribute to the triumph of the conquering nation (Nazi Germany) and the demoralization and defeat of the opposing nation (France). 

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review 2017-11-08 15:42
If You Only Knew: IF YOU ONLY KNEW - Cyn... If You Only Knew: IF YOU ONLY KNEW - Cynthia Clark

With thanks to Netgalley and Aria for this ARC in exchange for an open and honest review.


Seventeen years ago university student Elizabeth was riding her bike back to halls when she was struck by a lorry.  The driver was charming and apologetic, when he offered her a lift home she thought why not?


Elizabeth woke up hours later kept prisoner in a shed in the middle of nowhere.  Once she had come round he viciously raped her.  When he was about to rape her again Elizabeth found a piece of jagged glass on the floor and stabbed him in the neck.  Elizabeth was in shock and felt she could not go to the police so she walked back to university pushing her bicycle in the dark.  She never mentioned the rape or killing to anyone and vowed to put it behind her.


In the present day Elizabeth is a lawyer and part owner of a solicitors practice.  She is married to Miles who she met at university and they have two children.  Her carefully constructed life starts to unravel when someone close starts raking through their past.


I can't say much more in case I ruin the story.  But I have to say, this book has left me speechless it was so good.  The tension the author creased was palpable, I could practically hear the clock ticking as Elizabeth's secret was about to be revealed.


You find out what happened to Elizabeth early in the story, but this made me understand the lengths she went to protect herself.  The character I disliked was Miles because he wanted Elizabeth to confess because he could not live with himself knowing the truth.


I highly recommend this book and give it 5 stars.  I look forward to Cynthia Clark's next book.

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text 2017-10-25 20:54
Audible 2 for 1 Sale Pile
Evanly Choirs - Roger Clark,Rhys Bowen
Evan Help Us - Roger Clark,Rhys Bowen

Tiresome bunch of choices this go round but I did manage to find two that I wouldn't mind having in my permanent library. 

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review 2017-10-07 18:11
Skewed by a flawed premise
De Gaulle: Lessons in Leadership from the Defiant General - Michael E. Haskew,Wesley K. Clark

Michael Haskew's book is less an analysis of Charles de Gaulle's leadership style than it is a compact overview of the French leader's life with a concentration on his military career. In it, Haskew details de Gaulle's service in the French army, his experience in both world wars, and his relationship with other key contemporaries, most notably Philippe Pétain. Haskew writes well, and peppers his text with insightful anecdotes that are both engaging and illustrative of his subject. Yet perhaps because of its place in a series on "great generals" the book is based on a flawed premise: though de Gaulle spent over three decades in uniform, he was a general in direct command of French army units for only a few weeks before he transitioned to the more political role of leader of the Free French. This Haskew does cover as well, but then he glosses over the postwar era in which de Gaulle created a political movement and served as president of France for a decade. To glance over de Gaulle's more significant role as a politician in a book ostensibly dealing with his leadership is inexcusable, and limits the value of Haskew's book as a study of his fascinating subject. Readers seeking an introduction to de Gaulle's life and career would be far better served by reading Julian Jackson's de Gaulle, which in terms of coverage and analysis is everything Haskew's book is not.

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review 2017-09-29 23:52
The Scatterbrained Magician: A Magical C... The Scatterbrained Magician: A Magical Children's Chapter Book (The Scatterbrained Magician Series 1) - Anthony Clark,Maulik Mehta

Foxworthy and Moxie, magician and assistant.  Moxie is planning on leaving Foxworthy high and dry when a coffee shop barista shows him the error of his way.  


I enjoyed the characters and story.  This sets up the series and introduces the characters.  I plan to read more of them.

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