Simon Heffer

The Turn of the Tide

Pendulum of War: The Three Battles of El Alamein

By

Jonathan Cape 531pp £20 order from our bookshop

WHEN ARTHUR BRYANT presented the sanitised version of Lord Alanbrooke’s diaries in the 1950s, he called the volume that culminated with El Alamein ‘The Turn of the Tide’. Winston Churchill, in an observation repeated by Niall Barr in this new history of the decisive phase of the desert war, made the same point. Before Alamein, he said, Britain had almost no victories; after it, there were no defeats. Because of the importance of North Africa to securing control over the Mediterranean, and over the supply lines for the oil needed for armoured vehicles and aircraft, the Allies’ feat in driving Rommel out of it was utterly crucial to the outcome of the Second World War. Barr tells us, in precise detail, how this triumph of arms and of morale was achieved.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • 'The breadth of Clarke’s knowledge and experience, coupled to a conspicuous absence of pomposity, makes for easy an… ,
    • In this month's Silenced Voices, Lucy Popescu shines a light on Myanmar's persecution of writers and journalists, p… ,
    • Lecture on war and peace in 19th-century Europe by Professor Sir Richard Evans, Thurs 25 Oct, 6.30pm Europe House… ,
    • 'Why, throughout the world, are so many people fascinated by the fiction and reality of espionage? And why of all p… ,
    • . here on books, Muriel Spark and life's tangled dance ,
    • RT : There aren't enough aggressive subtitles these days: ,
    • Churchill's on the cover of the October edition of the magazine. Piers Brendon reviews two new books about the Brit… ,