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Great Military Commanders: Marlborough, Wellington and Slim [Kindle Edition]

Saul David
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Who was Britain's greatest general?

The country has produced some fine generals since 1066: the soldier-kings Henry II, Edward III, Robert the Bruce and Henry V; in the 17th Century Oliver Cromwell and George Monck; James Wolfe and John Moore who fell in battle at Quebec and Corunna respectively; the great 19th Century commanders Garnet Wolseley, Frederick ‘Bob’ Roberts and Horatio Kitchener; Douglas Haig and Edmund Allenby of the First World War, and Bernard Montgomery of Alamein in the Second.

But three stand out, and for different reasons: John Churchill, Duke of Marlborough, victor over the seemingly unbeatable French at Blenheim, who was as comfortable with grand strategy as he was tinkering with the nuts and bolts of military logistics; Arthur Wellesley, Duke of Wellington, a supreme organizer and master of the defensive action, who defeated Napoleon, one of the military greats, in his final battle at Waterloo; and Bill (later Viscount) Slim, the son of a shopkeeper, who turned the tide against the all-conquering Japanese in Burma in 1944, and rose to the very top of the British Army. But of the these three towering figures, who deserves the accolade of ‘the greatest’?

This stimulating long essay will provoke intense discussion among military historians as well as providing a compelling introduction to the lives of the greatest British generals.

Saul David is Professor of War Studies at the University of Buckingham and the author of several critically-acclaimed history books, including The Indian Mutiny: 1857 (short-listed for the Westminster Medal for Military Literature), Zulu: The Heroism and Tragedy of the Zulu War of 1879 (a Waterstone's Military History Book of the Year) and, most recently, Victoria's Wars: The Rise of Empire.

Saul David also writes acclaimed historical fiction. Zulu Hart, the first in the George Hart series, was a bestseller in 2009, and the sequel, Hart of Empire, will be published in August 2010. An experienced broadcaster, Saul David has presented and appeared in history programmes for all the major TV channels and is a regular contributor to Radio 4.

His books have been widely praised.

'A first-rate historian, now a masterly story-teller' (Bernard Cornwell on ZULU HART )

'A popular historian with a rare talent . . . An unashamed crowd-pleaser with a compelling, sexy hero who could give Cornwell’s Sharpe a run for his money.' (The Times on ZULU HART )

'A Victorian adventure as big as the veldt and chewier than buffalo biltong . . . real figures of the period are endowed with motive, intent and dialogue that may be fictitious but are entirely convincing' (Sunday Telegraph on ZULU HART )

'Plenty of action and bloody death, incompetent and scheming officers, and a brace of lovely women tugging at Hart’s heart make for a terrific yarn' (Sun Herald, Australia, on ZULU HART )

'Gems like this are too rare. I was hooked in ten pages.' (Conn Iggulden on ZULU HART )

'Splendid . . . a terrific treasure-chest of anecdotes . . . a splendidly brisk, cool and judicious narrator' (Daily Telegraph on ‘Victoria’s Wars: The Rise of Empire’)

'Incisive and acute . . . thorough and occasionally revelatory, [David] always finds a telling phrase, an eye-catching detail or a human story' (Sunday Times on Victoria’s Wars: The Rise of Empire).

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Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1490 KB
  • Print Length: 48 pages
  • Publisher: Endeavour Press Ltd.; 1 edition (23 Dec. 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0072KRRC0
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #117,616 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great essay on the greatest generals! 5 Feb. 2012
By Dave
Format:Kindle Edition
For his new book Saul David discusses three great British Generals. The authors employs Clausewitz's most admired qualities in a field commander in order to judge these men: intuition; the intellectual ability to process large amounts of information quickly; moral courage; determination; a balanced temperament; an understanding of humanity; and, finally, the posession of coup d'eoil, the ability to recognize the decisive moment in a battle and to act accordingly.

So who does Saul believe to be the greatest? In some ways the answer is secondary to the debate, for this is one of the most enthralling and well written essays on military history I have ever come across. Saul David has a clear mastery of his material. I am now looking forward to reading his book on the history of the British Army.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Concise and Original 31 Jan. 2012
Format:Kindle Edition
Saul David, in this concise and original essay, assesses three of Britain's Greatest Generals - looking at their beginnings, their rise through the ranks and their greatest hours. The book is well researched and well argued, addressing the question of what makes a great General - and what the men thought of the commander they were fighting under. Even most historians will learn something new from this book, but at the same time the author is conscious of writing for the general audience. This is probably the best short kindle/ebook I have read in the genre.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
The author presents a preliminary listing of some famous British generals and selects three - Marlborough, Wellington and Slim - as the 'best' for a further showdown. For each general a career description with the most famous battles, some of the units they served with and their main strengths follows, the book finishing with a final comparison of the brilliance of the three and the verdict on which one is the best.

While the book can easily be read in less than an hour and some of the salient battles they fought in may remain with the reader I did not find the author went into sufficient detail to actually explain the qualities of the men chosen, the innovations they brought about (a bit more on the logistical brilliance common to all three that the handful of sentences would have been very welcome) or why their careers really developed the way they did.

If this is your first exposure to the careers of the three military commanders, it may at least help provide you with an overview of what their main battles and successes were, which is certainly useful. If you are looking for some real debate and insight, you may be much better served by more thorough books on each of them separately.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Military Commanders Saul David 4 Jun. 2012
By LennyG
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I have seen Saul David on TV history programmes, reading the book in his voice adds to the flavour of the book. The detail on each commander is fairly brief but very well written and keeps the interest going. What the book does is to fire the individuals interest (mine at least) to read more about the subject of military commanders. Once I had started I couldn't put it down, and when I had to, couldn't wait to pick it up again.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Accomplished and Definitive Essay. 4 Feb. 2012
By Freeman
Format:Kindle Edition
Saul David seems to be omnipresent at the moment, with both a new book out (All The King's Men) and TV series (Bullets, Boots and Bandages). This excellent short book is the perfect introduction to prospective new readers, as well as being a must for his fans. All the Generals considered in this book may be deemed great - and the author's final judgement is a close run thing. Intelligence, heroism and humanity abound in Marlborough, Wellington and (particularly in my opinion) Slim. Suitable for the casual or avid reader of Military Mistory, Great Military Commanders should act as the definitive book upon the subject for years to come.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Enlightening and thought-provoking 25 Mar. 2012
By Natalie
Format:Kindle Edition
Saul David's comparative essay explores the trials and tribulations of three military greats; most importantly however, he addresses the ways in which these leaders dealt with a range of dilemmas and obstacles believing these moments to be definitive in the measurement of their `greatness'. In contrasting the commanders' humanity, dynamism, moral courage and their respective backgrounds, David explores what it means to achieve greatness and how the changing nature of warfare impacts upon the personal and leadership skills required to do so. Enlightening and thought-provoking, this is a must-read for fans of military history.
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