COMBAT AND COMMAND: MEMOIRS OF LORD DOUGLAS by

COMBAT AND COMMAND: MEMOIRS OF LORD DOUGLAS

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Lord Douglas tells the story of his service with the Royal Air Force during the two world wars, of his service as British Military Governor of occupied Germany during 1946-1947, and of the Nuremberg Trials. During the trials, Lord Douglas was a member of the four-man Allied Control Council and had to review appeals for clemency by fifteen top Nazi leaders, including Goering. His conscience and his nerves were more severely tested than in any other period of his life, but he led the Council in rejecting clemency and in sustaining death by hanging. (A few Nazis wished to be shot.) These grim facts give little indication of Lord Douglas's wit and insight into situations and personalities. Most revealing is his admiration for his father, a famous art critic and historian, who at 30 abandoned his wife and children and his pulpit to marry again. He sired, all told, 18 children, ten of them legitimate and one of whom is now married to J. D. Salinger (she is Lord Douglas's half-sister Claire, born when the elder Douglas was 70). Father Douglas neglected none of his children, especially the illegitimate ones, and this seems to have rubbed off on Lord Douglas during his even-year term as Commander-in-Chief of the RAF Fighter Command. Despite its horrors, he wrests some charm from WWI whose air war he survived without a wound. As well as he sketches RAF policy between wars and Europen history, there is no officialese nor stiffness, and even WWII is done as an excellent skim without benefit of notes and quotes. It's a memoir, not a history, and quite readable.

Pub Date: July 13th, 1966
Publisher: Simon & Schuster