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Summary

This is a unique single-volume history of the road to El Alamein - 'the end of the beginning' - and the bloody battle that followed...It was the British victory at the Battle of El Alamein in November 1942 that inspired one of Churchill's most famous aphorisms: 'it is not the end nor is it the beginning of the end, but it is the end of the beginning'. And yet the true significance of this iconic episode remains unrecognised. In this thrilling historical account, Jonathan Dimbleby describes the political and strategic realities that lay behind the battle, charting the nail-biting months that led to the victory at El Alamein in November 1942.

Drawing on official records and the personal insights of those involved at every level, Dimbleby creates a vivid portrait of a struggle which for Churchill marked the turn of the tide - and which for the soldiers on the ground involved fighting and dying in a foreign land.

©2012 Jonathan Dimbleby (P)2014 Audible, Inc.

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    4 out of 5 stars

A great overview

A very good overview of the campaign in North Africa. It is not the most comprehensive history book, but still contains lots of detail. A gripping read. The book focuses on the British offences against Rommel in Egypt and Libya, that lead up to the battles of El-Alamein, and the diplomatic negotiations that lead to Operation Torch. However, it’s worth pointing out that the book gives very few details about the American campaign in Morocco, and the six months after El-Alamein are rushed over very quickly. It also lacks any background to the countries the events take place in, and features very few Arab characters. It does not explain the stories of how Britain, France and Libya developed a colonial interest in North Africa, it does not give much information on the local politics of the area, or tell us what the native population thought of the Europeans while they were there. I would also say that the writer falls short of decisively answering perhaps the most crucial question: was Operation Torch a good idea, and was it the fastest and most effective way of winning the war? For me, this still remained uncertain by the end of the book.

3 people found this helpful

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For Lovers of History

This is an excellent history of the battle in the desert, it's fast paced and doesn't bore you, Recommended!

1 person found this helpful

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Excellent history of a impotent campaign

as well read as you could hope for and an insightful view 8nto an area of the war I was not familiar with well worth a listen

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I hoped for a book more like FitSimmons Tobruk. The naval and air war are left out. There are some repetitions of quotes.

Narration was somewhat flat and moist sounding. Too geopolitical. Too little about the air war

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A must read for WW2 enthusiast.

this has 2 be the most interesting battle of the whole war for me and I've read about all the European battles 2 date. even tho the scale of this battle is small in comparison 2 many others during the war this battle set the tone for which way this war was going 2 end. the drama of it is 2nd 2 none just because both side's looked 2 be clearly winning at different time's and as a Brit reading it u can really feel the scense of dismay of the public and Churchil at the time. A must read for enthusiast of WW2 no matter where you're nationality lies, so many countries are represented in this battle.

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Masterful account of a complex stage of WW2

A very enjoyable and informative account of a crucial period in the defeat of the Axis forces in WW2. Joined the many dots that existed for those of us with a limited knowledge of the actions fought in the Western desert, other than a series of names, both people and places. I recommend the book, for both its content and narration.

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Destiny in the desert

J. Dimbleby, holds up the family traditions of journalism, professionalism and thoroughness. Showing the desert conflict from all sides, the main protagonists flaws and all. In my opinion, well worth the listen, bringing that theatre of the Second World War to life, recounting serving soldiers bitter memories in vivid colours.

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Fantastic

I can’t praise this book enough. Brilliantly written and read. It’s pitched just right to give a strategic and tactical view of the African/Mediterranean front as well as the political battle behind it. An excellent view point from all sides I highly recommend this book to anyone interred in military or political history

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Informative and balanced historical insight.

I purchased this book as my grandfather fought in the desert campaigns and I wanted to learn about those campaigns. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and the author's narration. I liked the way that there was enough detail to inform and enlighten without bogging us down with the minutiae of every strategic decision. I now have a better understanding of the struggles of the soldiers involved and why and how the battles were fought.

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Excellent

Jonathan Dimbleby does a first class job in educating those that may not be familiar with this important part of World War 2. For those that were familiar he entertained. Although the story is not his, as that belongs to history his presentation was perfect.

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Profile Image for Torbjörn
  • Torbjörn
  • 19-11-12

Destiny in the Desert review

What did you love best about Destiny in the Desert?

The detail and elaborating discussions regarding the different commanders thoughts and historians previous thoughts about there actions. Allot off information regarding UK's situation in world and Churchill's need for a second front.

What did you like best about this story?

It had a good tempo with short diversions from the time axis.

What three words best describe Jonathan Dimbleby’s performance?

Good narration

If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

History in the desert