El Alamein was one of the pivotal battles of the Second World War, fought by armies and air forces on the cutting edge of military technology. Yet Alamein has always had a patchy reputation - with many commentators willing to knock its importance. This book explains just why El Alamein is such a controversial battle. Based on an intensive reading of the contemporary sources, in particular the extensive and recently declassified British bugging of Axis prisoners of war, military historian Simon Ball turns Alamein on its head, explaining it as a cultural defeat for Britain. Alamein is a military history of the battle - showing how different it looks stripped of later cultural excrescences. But it also shows how 'Alamein culture' saturated the post-war world, when archival sources mingled with film, novels, magazines, popular histories, and the rest of Alamein's footprint. Whether you are interested in the battle itself or its cultural afterlife, if you have an opinion about Alamein, you'll question it after reading this book.