R. W. Thompson intends his book to be more than a simple exploration of a man and his legend, to draw attention ""to some of the political undercurrents of a crucial year in this century of crucial years."" In consequence, the first portion of his study deals with Churchill as the embattled leader of an embattled nation, with Roosevelt and the United States emergent as the first power, and the near critical defeat at Tobruk. But most of his book is devoted, if that is the word, to a determined pursuit of the General who pursued too slowly--Montgomery, a ""fortuitous"" choice after Churchill's removal of Auchinleck and the death of Gott--for the Champion in the field Britain needed. He characterizes Montgomery as a textbook-bound, cautious leader of autocratic, isolated nature whose world was essentially juvenile, a kind of ""house-master"" who preferred the company of the young to that of men who could contribute to his own development. He faults him at every turn from the time he took command of the Eighth Army to his assignment to the 21st Army Group. In so doing, he lances the myth, broaches a new vista of a certain controversialism and interest.