KASSERINE PASS by Martin Blumenson


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Military historians like to believe that their pet battles constitute a ""turning point,"" that they are, in effect, the battle of battles. Given a growing bibliography of specialized studies, the general reader sometimes gets the impression that World War II had more turning points than a heavily traveled traffic circle. Kasserine Pass is an exhaustive, but readable, account of yet another such a ""turning point""--the 1943 battle for North African Tunisia. Martin Blumenson, a senior civilian historian in the Army's Office of the Chief of Military History, has written a competent but undistinguished book. His historical data is nicely organized and conscientiously documented, illustrating that he is at his best when in the role of objective reporter. But the author plainly intends to be interpreter as well. Unfortunately, his interpretive study is unimaginately conceived and written. He does not have enough varied points of reference to make this the valuable book it could be. Often Mr. Blumenson fails to be convincing--for example, on the ill-feeling among the Allied leaders--even when one feels that what he is saying is probably true. Occasionally adopting the pose of a modern Diogenes, he claims, unoriginally, that men--even generals--are men. While the banality of many of Mr. Blumenson's conclusions detract from the essential accomplisment of his book, it is an effective compilation of difficult historical material.

Pub Date: Jan. 9th, 1966
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin