Apr 22 2011

Infantry Attacks by Erwin Rommel

This book reads like a series of military field reports, which is basically what it is. Rommel displays his flair for aggressive command of infantry under extremely challenging circumstances in the First World War, and I suppose many might find his accounts of courage and resourcefulness under fire very inspiring. But reading this memoir gives one a look into the mind of a rather cold-blooded military man, and I find it rather disturbing. And in spite of all the action, Rommel’s emotionless, colorless descriptions of one engagement after the other render the narrative as a whole distinctly tedious. If war is too important to be left to the generals, so is the writing of history, even military history. Rommel ends the book on a patriotic and defiant note that suggests that he has learned many tactical lessons from the experience of combat, but no moral ones. His tactical brilliance…and lack of moral reflection…obviously made him an ideal candidate to lead Hitler’s army.

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