Hitler's Commander: Field Marshall Walther Model— Hitler's Favorite General

Steven H. Newton, Author . Da Capo $35 (416p) ISBN 978-0-306-81399-3

Unlike many of his contemporaries—Rommel, Guderian, von Rundstedt—who have been rescued from the anonymity of defeat, Model (1891–1945) has "languished in relative obscurity." Historian Newton (Panzer Operations ), a professor at Delaware State University, hopes to remedy that in this first English-language biography of the general dubbed the "Führer's Fireman" and "the Lion of the Defense." Newton follows Model's career from his heroic service as a young lieutenant on the Western Front in WWI through his meteoric rise to the command of an army group during WWII. Newton aims not only to rescue Model from obscurity but to rehabilitate his frayed reputation as a "Hitler sycophant" and war criminal. (It didn't help that Model's "abrasive personality" made him few friends or admirers.) Drawing on his extensive research in German and American archives, German war diaries and memoirs, Newton presents a picture of a "tactical genius" who was "pro-Hitler" but not blindly so. Facing certain defeat in April 1945, Model destroyed his papers and committed suicide, making the task of any future biographer difficult. In the absence of personal papers, Newton manages to reconstruct Model the commander but not Model the man. (Jan.)

Reviewed on: 11/07/2005
Release date: 10/01/2005
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