Okay, my week kind of got away from me so no snark...but at least I finished up a book I had been reading for a while.
Professor Dennis Showalter's Book- Hitler's Panzers - is...well...okay, it left me kinda flat. First, the nitpicky stuff....HOW can you write a military history book, of any kind, with absolutely NO maps, illustrations, order of battle charts...nothing. Wow, if you are not at least somewhat familiar with World War II and if you don't have a better than average understanding of war on the Eastern Front...hmm, you might find yourself bogged down.
Make no mistake, Professor Showalter writes a first-class narrative, offers some new insights to even a crusty old World War II reader like myself and does a good job to taking the reader through the zenith of Panzertruppen to the nadir of Germany's fall under the crush of Allied might.
Which begs the question - did he really write for a general audience, or for military history buffs (argh, I hate that word) looking for a single-volume history of the Panzertruppen. If the former, I would not recommend this work, it is too in the weeds for the casual reader of military history...for the latter, I almost needed to pull out my WWII atlas to recall the geographic sweep of the great tank battles on the Soviet stepps.
Of course nearly 3/4 of the book is devoted to the clash of armor in the east. Now granted there weren't a lot of tank battles in Western Europe...but as Anthony Beevor points out in his excellent book of D-Day, reviewed by yours truly, the armored fighting around Caen was at least as intense as Kursk and involved nearly as many Panzer divisions.
The final gripe is that Professor Showalter offers absolutely no notes or bibliography....now this may be fine for a mass audience history (although I don't think so personally), but it sure isn't good for grognards such as myself that like to browse bibliographies for new books to buy!!!
Seriously, this was a decent book, but not really for the uninitiated who don't know a Tiger tank from a T-34..and sure don't know the variants of the Panzer Mk IV. Read it with your Panzer recce guide and atlas in hand and it is pretty good....otherwise, well the choice is yours.