Pendulum of War by Niall J. A. Barr
Three Battles at El Alamein

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Based on extensive original research, Pendulum of War looks at the arguments behind the change in fortunes of Britain’s desert army in 1942. Barr provides a vivid picture of the fighting at el Alamein from the early desperate days of July to the final costly victory in Novembe A compelling new history of a crucial turning point in the Second World War, and a detailed picture of the British Army at a critical stage in its fight against Hitler’s Germany.

In June 1942, following the fall of Tobruk, the defeated British Eighth Army was streaming back towards the tiny railway halt of El Alamein in the western desert of Egypt. The Eighth Army had suffered a humiliating defeat at the hands of Rommel’s Panzerarmee Afrika. Yet just five months later, the famous bombardment opened the Eighth Army’s own offensive which destroyed the Axis threat to Egypt.

Explanations for the remarkable change of fortune have generally been sought in the personalities of the commanders Generals Auchinleck and Montgomery, and that of their legendary opponent, Field Marshall Rommel.

Pendulum of War is the story of how an army learnt from its mistakes. Niall Barr shows that the focus on personality has blurred the continuity of experience that saw the Eighth Army transform itself from a tactically inept collection of units into a battle-winning force that eventually mastered the veterans of Rommel’s Afrika Korps. The book provides a vivid and fresh perspective on the fighting at El Alamein from the early desperate days of July to the final costly victory in November.

About Niall J. A. Barr

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NIALL BARR is a Senior Lecturer in Defence Studies at the Defence Studies Department, King's College, London, based at the Joint Services Command and Staff College. Educated at the University of St. Andrews, he previously taught at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst. He has published widely on British military history including Flodden 1513 and Pendulum of War: The Three Battles of El Alamein.
Published January 1, 2004 by JONATHAN CAPE LTD. 368 pages
Genres: History, War, Travel. Non-fiction

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Barr closes by concluding that in the Alamein campaign the force “was granted the breathing space it needed to assimilate lessons that transformed it from a clumsy and inept fighting formation into an effective and battle-winning army.” A useful study of the war in the desert, though meant for r...

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Rather than dwelling on the debate between these two generals, later Field Marshals, Barr focuses upon the battlefield education of the British Eighth Army from the desperate days of July 1942 to those of triumph between 23 October and 4 November 1942.

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