Blitzing Rommel

Written by John Sadler (author)
Review by Julia Stoneham

Treatments of the subject of war vary hugely, ranging from the lyrical to the highly technical and historically meticulous, of which Blitzing Rommel is an example. John Sadler has a richly deserved reputation as a military historian whose knowledge spans many decades. His readers feel safe in his hands regarding combat procedures. His descriptions of the bloodier encounters of wartime are vivid and often moving.

Blitzing Rommel introduces us to Joe Milburn. A Geordie, a nice, solid young man, son of a tenant farmer, Joe, perhaps surprisingly, takes to army life, excelling himself on several levels and soon attracts the attention of his superiors. Rapid promotions resulting from his skills as a fighting man change his social life, moving him into the company of the officer classes where standards and aspirations are very different from those with which he is familiar and into a social life alien to his own. His reaction to this, together with the impact of the brutality of the fighting in North Africa, widen the scope of the novel, introducing us to a plethora of convincing characters whose stories we glimpse briefly as they make their way through the turmoil of war. They include Alice, a nurse with whom Joe falls in love.

The construction of the novel, together with the style of the prose, the size of the print and the colour and texture of the paper it is printed on, considerably reduces the pleasure of reading these pages. This is unfortunate, because the author may well lose sales because of it. This would be a pity, because Blitzing Rommel has a lot to offer.