Great Battles: The Battle of Alamein

Great Battles: The Battle of Alamein

North Africa 1942


Penguin Specials are designed to fill a gap. Written to be read over a long commute or a short journey, they are original and exclusively in digital form. In this Special, Colin Smith and John Bierman make the battle of Alamein come alive.

A turning point in the Second World War, the battle of El Alamein was the culmination of a military campaign like no other. Fought across desolate arid terrain, the brutal fighting was matched by a camaraderie and respect between enemies as witnessed in no other theatre of war. Combining gritty personal testimonies with thorough journalistic investigation, John Bierman and Colin Smith present a compelling account of a ferocious but compassionate battle and a journey through the unforgiving North African landscape.

About the authors

Colin Smith

Colin Smith is a historian, novelist and former war correspondent. In 1972, at the age of twenty-three, he became the Observer's chief roving reporter and spent the next thirty years covering the world's trouble spots for the Observer and the Sunday Times - from Phnom Penh to the Golan Heights, from Saigon to Sarajevo, from Nikosia to Port-au-Prince. He was named International Reporter of the Year in the 1974 and 1984 British Press Awards.

Today he is best known for his military histories of Britain's campaigns against the Vichy French, the 1942 surrender of Singapore and The Battle of Alamein, which was recently reissued in condensed form as part of Penguin's e-Book Shorts series.

Smith lives in Nicosia with his wife Sylvia and several cats. Readers wishing to contact him or find out more about his work should visit
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John Bierman

John Bierman was a journalist and biographer who for 25 years covered trouble spots all over the world for major news organizations in Britain, the USA and Canada.

For 10 years he was a staff correspondent for BBC Television News and BBC World Service, and spent much of that time in the Middle East, where he discovered the story of Raoul Wallenberg, then virtually unknown.

He has co-authored two books with journalist Colin Smith, including Alamein, War Without Hate, published by Penguin.

John Bierman died in 2006.
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