THE WAR LORDS: Military Commanders of the Twentieth Century by Field Marshal Sir Michael--Ed. Carver

THE WAR LORDS: Military Commanders of the Twentieth Century

By
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

Forty stimulating appraisals of preeminent military leaders of the two World Wars--not chiefs of staff but generals and admirals in the field. Most of the writers are British, and the most incisive pieces turn out to deal with non-Atlantic ""war lords"": General Andre Beaufre on Marshal Joffre and the Battle of the Marne; Norman Stone on Hindenburg and Ludendorff; and Alistair Horne on their even less fortunate WWI colleague, von Falkenhayne. Among the WW II essays, John Erickson evaluates Soviet commanders Ivan Koniev and Georgii Zhukov with his usual competence, while Charles Douglas-Home contributes a reflective piece on Rommel in relation to the Prussian tradition of on-the-spot initiatives and the non-political character of desert warfare, and Peter Kemp provides a lucid explanation of the breakthroughs and breakdowns of Nazi Admiral Doenitz's surface U-boat offensive. The book includes some lesser-known figures like John Monash, the brilliant Australian-Jewish WWI general, and Carl Spaatz, the diffident US air corps chief. Among those less objectively treated are Earl Haig, the British architect of WWI attrition, and Arthur Harris, the RAF apostle of area bombing (Martin Middleton even claims that ""Germany's industry was largely destroyed""). Many of these essays bounce off Basil Liddell Hart's book Reputations while lacking comparable outspokeness and military depth. However, even relatively trite or skimpy articles--which unfortunately include most of the US commanders of WW II as well as Alexander and Petain--provide a curriculum vitae that is useful and often throught-provoking, and, particularly in the case of WWI, offer cross-perspectives on the course of war and policy.

Pub Date: Oct. 12th, 1976
ISBN: 1844153088
Publisher: Little, Brown