Sunday, 13 July 2014

The first line in Rommel and Patton, after the rigmarole with the foreword, prologue, acknowledgements and list of German terms, is:

"The tension in the room was palpable."

What happens in a Rohmer war novel?  Hitler takes a meeting.

Can business travel be far behind?

I couldn't be happier.

On a -- oh let's call it "conservative" -- note, in the acknowledgements, Rohmer cites "David Irving's classic The Trail of the Fox."  I'm a grown-up and I can enjoy a book by someone whose politics aren't my own, but Trail of the Fox wasn't even very old when Rohmer wrote Rommel and Patton.  Calling it a classic makes it feel like Rohmer is going out of his way to praise a guy with holocaust denial issues.  By 1986, we kind of knew which team David Irving was cheering for, and that it clouded his judgement.  If you still felt like you needed to source his work, and you didn't want to creep people out, you were obliged to do it in a values-neutral way, and leave it at that.

Especially if you were going to list only two books by name as the research for yours.

In his brief foreword, William Stephenson travels off road to slag Russia and get in Patton's quote about "We have been fighting the wrong army." His prerogative, I suppose, but a little icky, too.


  1. I just checked Rommel and Patton out of the library.

    The loan is for 10 months.

    10 months? I could read a dozen Rohmers in that amount of time!

  2. I know it feels like we've been going slowly, but trust me, it will pick up when we get to "Practice and Procedure Before the Highway Transport Board."

    Why isn't "How to Writer a Best Seller" in Rohmer's bibliography on his Wikipedia page?

  3. I've had to make an interlibrary loan request for Rommel & Patton. Not that I wouldn't buy a copy, it's just that I can't find it anywhere. Sure their are copies online, but I can't bring myself to pay $12 shipping on $1 book.

    How to Write a Best Seller isn't on Wikipedia? I hadn't noticed. By the way, a bookseller friend tells me that the correct title is How to Write a Best $eller… Or is it How to Write a Be$t $eller? I forget.

    You have a real point about Irving, Chris. The Trail of the Fox features in the bibliography for Patton's Gap, though I'm pretty sure it wasn't quoted. I note it is cited three times in Wikipedia's "Erwin Rommel" entry.