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Field Marshal Earl Haig Hardcover – 25 Jul 1991

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 296 pages
  • Publisher: The Bodley Head Ltd; First Edition edition (25 July 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0370313216
  • ISBN-13: 978-0370313214
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 147,899 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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About the Author

Philip Warner served in the Far East and was a senior lecturer at the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst. He is the author of many books, including biographies of Kitchener, Auchinleck and Horrocks and histories of the First and Second World Wars. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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DOUGLAS HAIG IS probably the most controversial figure in British military history, perhaps in all military history. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Mr. M. Bloomfield on 14 Feb. 2005
Format: Paperback
This book is recommended for anyone (like myself) who has has a limited knowledge of Douglas Haig & WWI & is just interested in finding out more. The tensions between Haig, Lloyd George & the French High Command are particularly fascinating.
My only slight problem were that some of the Illustrations could have been a little more clear & sometimes the titles of the people involved can be confusing (although the author does explain these in some sections)
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Matt M. on 15 Oct. 2003
Format: Paperback
Field Marshal Haig is undoubtedly the most controversial character in British military history, and this work by historian/biographer Philip Warner, will dispell many myths surrounding this extremely complex character. Warner does not seek to offer eulogy, nor condemnation, but his book could certainly be used as counter-argument to the much taunted "lions led by donkeys" ideal of the British Army in the Great War (Warner points out the dogged, dour resiliance of the British soldier). Warner argues that Haig's battle plans were based both on adequate strategic sources, as well as his own past experiences - the author also debunks the myth that Haig was "obsessed" with his past as a cavalry officer.
The author goes to great lengths to point out the strategic beginnings of the colossal battles at the Somme and Passchendaele, and how Haig was caught between loyalty to his own subordinates, and an obligation to defer the ultimate decisions to the French Generals. Warner purposefully seeks to offer alternatives to Haig's chosen strategies, and it must be noted that (for the most part) he discovers very little in such a field.
In short, the author argues that whilst Haig did make strategic errors, his own achievements in the great victory of 1918 deserve serious attention to detail, as does Haig, as man thrust into limelight to command an army of great proportions, never before seen in the vast, intricate history of the British Armed Services.
A recommended read for anyone interested in British (or Great War) military history.
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7 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Book fan on 22 Aug. 2001
Format: Paperback
Warner's book is a fine short account of Sir Douglas Haig's military career. Personaly I prefered Terraine's Educated Soldier, but that is for the serious student of Haig. Warner's book is a good introduction for those who know very little about Haig.
To answer the other reviewers question the officer who beat Haig in 1912, General James Grierson,another Scot, died on a train in 1914 before the BEF had even come into action. Grierson may have been a better general than Haig, and that is a very big 'may' since he saw no action. Grierson won because he used air reconaissance, which untill 1912 Haig did not take very seriously.
As with all of his mistakes Haig never made this one again, becoming a convert to air power, Trenchard and Salmond being amung his closest advisors.

My only major gripe with this book is that Warner makes too much of this incident. What general has not been beaten in an exercise? In fact to be beaten is often more important to a commander's learning curve, as he knows what mistakes he has made. Haig had to learn the hard way about aircraft, but he learned the lesson. A similar system is used by the US Army at their large exercise area at Fort Irwin where the Oposing Forces always initialy beat the units sent to train there. To make so much of one blemish, which may have been in the long term beneficial, on an officer's carrer is to blow the incident out of all proportion.

However this is only a minor falt, and I would reccomend this book as an introduction to Haig, followed by Neilland's Great War Generals on the Western Front. The more serious student should follow up with Terraine's work and the collection of essays edited by Brian Bond and Nigel Cave - Haig: A Reappraisal 70 Years On.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful By on 18 Jun. 2001
Format: Paperback
Warners semi-biographical portrait of Haig, whilst claimed as impartial, comes out slightly in favour of the man who has divided a nation like no other. When we think of Haig, our perception is one of a "donkey" (as proscribed by Alan Clark) or perhaps more widely as "a man who doesn't change his mind" (Edmund Blackadder)! Whilst most readers will be aware of the battles of the Somme, Ypres, and others from WWI, this book also gives an enlightening insight into Haig's earlier service in the Sudan (home of the fearsome Dervishes) and South Africa. Central to the development of the biography is the rise of Haig through the Army, and the factors influencing his promotion. Telling indeed is the revelation that Haig was roundly beaten in manoeuvres just before the outbreak of WWI. How then did he get the top job later? All is revealed in a very astute review of the BEF command structure and it's political masters. If I had one minor gripe (and it is my reason for giving the book four stars only), it was the glossing over of Haig's non-miltary life. There was certainly reference to his wife, Dorothy, but his life after the Great War was wrapped up somewhat expeditiously - this left a feeling of incompleteness, but could ultimately justify the author's notion of non-bias. For enthusiasts of WWI history, this book represents partial balance to the demonisation of a man few really new. Recommended.
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