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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.

What listeners say about Destiny in the Desert

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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.

9 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!

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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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The end of the beginning

Narrated by the author a familiar voice, his book is a well researched history of the allied and axis forces batteling in the Western desert. Politics, intrigue, military brilliance and incompetence feature throughout.

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Excellent book

A very well written and narrated of the triumph and tribulations faced throughout the North Africa campaign by both sides.

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dry

a dreadfully dry boring political narrative read in mono tone. awful waste of time and money.

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Excellent overview of the desert campaign

In this book, Jonathan Dimbleby examines the war in the desert up to and including the second battle of El Alamein. He draws on many first-hand accounts of the conflict as well as the appraisals of historians. Dimbleby provides a good deal of context, setting the desert war in its place within the overall strategy of the War and examining its role in the political wrangling of the allies. He is forthright in his judgement of the personalities involved and does little to conceal his own feelings towards the protagonists: Churchill and Montgomery fare badly; Rommel and Auchinleck shine. The book ends at the beginning of Operation Torch in 1942. The narration is good throughout.

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Tour de force

Masterly overview of the desert campaign, read as brilliantly as it us written. Particularly enjoyed the family links .
Dimbleby overtakes Hastings.

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Living History

Have always wanted to know more about the desert campaign in which my father was involved although he declined to talk about it. This book brought it all alive, including fascinating insights into the interaction of war leaders and military personnel. A book that is hard to read in parts, difficult to put down in others. Narration is clear and Jonathan Dimbleby's familiar voice is a reassuring friend and guide. Will definitely listen to it again.

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  • 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