Friday, July 07, 2006

German Anti-Partisan Warfare in Europe 1939 - 1945 by Colin Heaton

German Anti-Partisan Warfare in Europe 1939 - 1945 by Colin Heaton I'm very ambivalent about this book. On the one hand it is one of the few works to deal with Nazi counterinsurgency in Europe as a whole however there are some major flaws in the authors arguments.

First off he tries to draw a line between guerrillas and partisans defining one as groups working for the overthrow of a government and being supported by an external leadership while guerrillas are fighting for their own victory. The problem is that he can't seem to make up his mind which groups go under which category. Since he is actually talking on the tactical level almost all of the time it's hard to understand what difference it makes.

The author has obviously done a massive amount of research in archives as well as actual interviews with participants which he should be commended for but there are a few bizarre statements. One in particular that Athens was the most abused city in Europe throughout the war. Funny I always thought that Coventry, Dresden, Stalingrad and Leningrad are in Europe.

It's strange to say that this book sounds like a summary even though it is over 110,000 words long but the author seems to be rushed. He comes up with some intriguing ideas such as the French resistance was not particularly effective but quickly changes the topic. An entire book could be written on that alone. Perhaps most strangely of all the publisher inexplicably did not include an index.

In the introduction the author mentions that he will be conducting more research as well as interviewing more people so a second edition may be coming hopefully improvements will be able to be made. The problems with this work are fixable and should be fixed.

Not recommended in this form.

For more WWII book reviews Take a look at My World War II bookshelf.

For reviews take a look at My Insurgency/Counterinsurgency, Partisan and Guerrilla Warfare bookshelf.

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