Desert War Trilogy II – A Year of Battle

Finally finished this second book in Alan Moorehead’s Desert War Trilogy. The set was published by the Folio Society.  Moorehead was a reporter in the war, and so was involved in a lot of the events of the Desert War as an observer.  The book itself is less of a history of the campaign than of his travels, many of which shed a light on some of the odd corners of World War II.

For example, while the campaign in Egypt was in a lull, he observes the Russian/English partition of Persia.  He comes back to watch the Crusader offensive that relieves Tobruk, and then follows the Anglo-French invasion of Vichy Syria.  Moving off then to India, he views the negotiations beween Gandhi and the English to increase Indian participation in the war, before heading back for the climactic battles at Gazala, Tobruk and the retreat to Alamein.  The book ends with the line firming up, and Moorehead wanting to take a break from Africa by visiting America.

If you want a true history of the Desert War, this isn’t it. But if you want a ‘you are there’ view of this part of the Allied campaign in the Mideast, it is an excellent set of books.



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