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Churchill and His Generals (Modern War Studies)

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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

On the eve of World War II, the British army was more an international police force than a true combat-ready fighting machine. Raymond Callahan chronicles its trial-by-fire transformation in a new and unflinching look at Great Britain's top commanders in the field.

Callahan reexamines the much-maligned performance of the British army in that war by reevaluating its commanders' victories and defeats, their leadership abilities and flaws, and their often rocky relationships with Prime Minister Winston Churchill, whose powerful presence looms over every page. Revisiting wartime theaters stretching from Southeast Asia across India through the Middle East, into North Africa, and across Europe, Callahan revises and expands our understanding of how British commanders-both the best and worst-led their troops and executed their strategies.

Callahan explores the way Churchill, with his own ideas about the army's goals and concerned about the precariousness of his political fortunes, dealt with his generals, who often held views different from his own. He probes the relationship between Churchill's political goals and war aims, the army's capabilities, and its generals' battlefield performance, while assessing the roles of such leaders as Alan Brooke, Bernard Montgomery, Archibald Wavell, Claude Auchinleck, and Harold Alexander. He also reveals why William Slim should be regarded as the outstanding British commander of the war and Britain's best field commander since Wellington-and how other generals such as Neil Richie, Henry Wilson, and Oliver Leese exemplify the role of chance in history.

Past criticism has tended to ignore both the obstacles confronting the army and its dramatic improvement by war's end. Callahan sets that record straight while offering insight into the evolution of the British wartime army within the contexts of coalition warfare, the constraints of a far-flung Empire, and Churchill's political concerns and desire to retain a British presence on the world stage. He considers problems posed by manpower, training, doctrine, equipment, and new military technologies and strategies as the army faced a multifront global war that pushed an already overextended fighting force nearly to the breaking point.

Churchill and His Generals is the most comprehensive analysis of this wartime relationship, an account of institutional transformation under extreme stress that balances Churchill's own self-serving memoirs. It clearly demonstrates that what political leaders demand from their armies is less important than what those armies are designed to do—and that this oft-recurring disconnect lies at the root of much wartime civil-military tension.

Synopsis:

A comprehensive study of Great Britain's top military command in World War II and its often rocky relationship with Prime Minister Winston Churchill, who was preoccupied with securing convincing military victories that would highlight his army's capabilities and help sustain his own political fortunes at home--as well as his nation's role as major world power.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments

Prelude: An Evening at Chequers

1. Legacies

2. Retreats and Evacuations

3. Rommel's Victims

4. Debacles

5. Monty and His Enemies

6. Alex and the Soft Underbelly

7. The Last Sepoy General

8. Three Victories

9. Winston and His Generals

Notes

A Note on Further Reading

Index

Product Details

ISBN:
9780700615124
Author:
Callahan, Raymond
Publisher:
University Press of Kansas
Subject:
Military - Strategy
Subject:
Military - World War II
Subject:
Europe - Great Britain - General
Subject:
World war, 1939-1945
Subject:
History
Subject:
World War, 1939-1945 -- Great Britain.
Subject:
Great Britain - Drill and tactics - History
Subject:
Military-World War II General
Edition Description:
Hardcover
Series:
Modern War Studies
Publication Date:
20070501
Binding:
Hardback
Language:
English
Illustrations:
Y
Pages:
320
Dimensions:
9.48x6.54x1.09 in. 1.44 lbs.

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Related Subjects

History and Social Science » Europe » Great Britain » General History
History and Social Science » Geography » General
History and Social Science » Military » British Military
History and Social Science » Military » General History
History and Social Science » Military » World War II » General
History and Social Science » World History » England » General
Religion » Comparative Religion » General
Science and Mathematics » Mathematics » Probability and Statistics » General
Science and Mathematics » Mathematics » Probability and Statistics » Statistics

Churchill and His Generals (Modern War Studies) New Hardcover
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Product details 320 pages University Press of Kansas - English 9780700615124 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , A comprehensive study of Great Britain's top military command in World War II and its often rocky relationship with Prime Minister Winston Churchill, who was preoccupied with securing convincing military victories that would highlight his army's capabilities and help sustain his own political fortunes at home--as well as his nation's role as major world power.
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