Spartacus Review

Volume 45: 26th May, 2010

Second World War

Title: Churchill's Desert Rats

Author: Patrick Delaforge


Publisher: Pen & Sword

Price: £15.99

Bookshop: Amazon

Spartacus Website: Desert War


This well researched and well written book covers the early campaigns and battles that earned The Desert Rats their fame and name. This volume covers the difficult early years when ultimate victory was less than certain. The Nazis were victorious on many fronts and Britain stood alone. Indeed it was at El Alamein that 7 Armoured Division and the rest of Montgomery's Eighth Army turned the tide. The church bells rang out in Britain and a new spirit was born. But much fighting lay ahead and many were to die. The successful completion of the North African campaign led to the invasion of Sicily and the long slog up Italy. The Desert Rats were at the forefront of these campaigns. Three Victoria Crosses were won in the desert and many famous names were associated with the Division, such as Field Marshal Lord Carver and Major General Pip Roberts. The Division's story is told by many first hand contributions and is the result of painstaking research by the author who was also a 'Desert Rat'.

Title: George S. Patton

Author: Steven J. Zaloga


Publisher: Osprey

Price: £11.99

Bookshop: Amazon

Spartacus Website: George Patton


George S. Patton Jr. was the iconic American field commander of World War II, and widely regarded as the US Army's finest practitioner of mechanized warfare. This title examines Patton's colorful life and leadership in three wars, with a concentration on his command in World War II. Despite his ability, Patton was thoroughly reviled by most GIs, partly due to his insistence on traditional military discipline in the ranks, but also because of his unwillingness to pander to the growing power of the press. This combination of ability and controversy have combined to make him one of the most interesting figures in American military history.

Title: For Fuhrer and Fatherland

Author: Roderick De Norman


Publisher: History Press

Price: £14.99

Bookshop: Amazon

Spartacus Website: Schutzstaffel (SS)


This is the extraordinary story of how British and American Intelligence thwarted a wartime plan for a daring mass break-out of German prisoners-of-war from a camp in Wiltshire, led by a hard-core of SS troops. As December 1944 drew to a close, trainee American interrogators stumbled on a plan so fantastic in concept that it was hard to take seriously. The allied camp authorities were relieved of their command by a team from the Combined Services Detailed Interrogation Centre (CSDIC) who broke the prisoners involved and got to the bottom of the story. With their escape plans in tatters, the SS took their revenge. Transferred to a harsh POW camp in Scotland, they 'tried' and murdered a fellow prisoner (who was not a Nazi), accused of betraying the Fuhrer. Eventually Scotland Yard and CSDIC were called in to investigate the SS's rule of terror within the camp, and the murder. Despite the SS code of silence, enough evidence was uncovered to convict of murder, and eventually hang, five of the perpetrators. Why was the Devizes camp so unprepared for a possible break-out? Why was a known anti-Nazi sent to the camp in Scotland, and to his death?