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Masters and Commanders: How Roosevelt, Churchill, Marshall and Alanbrooke Won the War in the West Hardcover – 25 Sep 2008


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 674 pages
  • Publisher: Allen Lane; 1st edition (25 Sept. 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0713999691
  • ISBN-13: 978-0713999693
  • Product Dimensions: 16.2 x 4.7 x 24 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 338,286 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Andrew Roberts's Masters and Commanders was one of the most acclaimed, bestselling history books of 2008. His previous books include Salisbury: Victorian Titan (1999), which won the Wolfson History Prize and the James Stern Silver Pen Award for Non-Fiction, Hitler and Churchill: Secrets of Leadership (2003), which coincided with four-part BBC2 history series. He is one of Britain's most prominent journalists and broadcasters.

Product Description

Review

'Couched in elegant prose, this book is a masterpiece of robust historical analysis, steeped in scholarship and alive to every nuance of personality' -- Daily Telegraph

'Roberts displays a profound understanding of the interactions between strategy and politics, and his interpretation of British/US strategic relations between 1941 and 1945 is unlikely to be superseded.'
-- Financial Times, Vernon Bogdanor

'The author has crafted a masterly and fresh interpretation of the grand strategy of World War II' -- John Crossland, Daily Mail

'his finest book yet'
-- Saul David, Sunday Telegraph

`This is an important book which ... sees Mr Roberts lay claim to the title of Britain's finest contemporary military historian.'
-- The Economist

Review

'The strength of Masters and Commanders lies in the power of the narrative and the fascinating detail used to construct it ... Roberts has a shrewd grasp of the ins and outs of decision making'

`This is an important book which ... sees Mr Roberts lay claim to the title of Britain's finest contemporary military historian.'

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Graeme Shimmin on 18 Aug. 2014
Format: Paperback
Masters and Commanders is the story of how British and US leaders set the overall Anglo-American strategy of the Second World War.

I found the book fascinating for most of it's 600 pages. It's a long and very detailed book, but written in a gripping style.

The Anglo-American disagreements were between a Clausewitzian head on attack on Germany (largely favoured by the US) and a more Sun Tzu style whittling down (largely favoured by the British).

Churchill is seen as the core of the alliance and as a very human figure - massively energetic, hugely charming, a genius, but harebrained, stubborn, emotional and sometimes a bully - although much is made of the fact that he never overruled his commanders.

Brooke, the British chief of staff comes over as the tough-guy Churchill needed to keep him on track. The fact that Brooke kept a diary means his views on strategy are clearly understood as well as his views on the other characters (none of whom, in his opinion, really 'get it', his exasperation with almost everyone comes over well).

President Roosevelt is portrayed as the swing vote with little understanding of military strategy, though a political genius. Everyone tries to keep Churchill away from him, afraid of his persuasiveness.

American chief of staff General Marshall comes across as a tough-minded and professional soldier as well as an old-school gentleman, not perhaps a strategic genius, but a genius as an organiser.

American Admiral King is cast almost as the villain - an unpleasant man, who no one on either side likes and who is constantly upsetting the apple cart. Many of the other Americans are accused of an irrational hatred and suspicion of the British.
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By Daydreamer on 8 Aug. 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Wars are fought by enlisted men and led by NCOs and Junior Officers. Generals, Chiefs and their Government Masters make the plans that are so essential for Victory. This book takes a good look at the four giant Western WW2 personalities - two American and two British who devised, argued, cajouled, and conferrred with each other - and with others. They devised the strategy that overthrew the Nazi and Faschist Alliance between 1941-1945 and resulted in the overthrow and inconditional surrender of Nazi germany. Natioal Leaders in a Democracy must be seen to always act in the Public Interest. The Military Chiefs being mindful of the lives of the men they Command - as well as the defeat of the enemy. The author shines a light on the personalities of these four strong minded men and their many meetings where they thrashed out the strategy for Victory. There were many disagreements and arguments at conferences - but they somehow remained united in their quest to defeat Nazi Germany as the prelude to defeating Japan in the Pacific. That was the strategy that Winston Churchil and President Roosevelt had agreed they would follow at their meeting soon after the Japanese attack on the US Navy at Pearl Harbour in December 1941. This book is compelling reading and gave me a better understanding of the enormous responsibilities that these four Senior Leaders carried at that precarious time in our world history.
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57 of 71 people found the following review helpful By Michael Calum Jacques on 25 Nov. 2008
Format: Hardcover
This fascinating book, thick with historical data and insights, makes a riveting read. Whilst having no wish to quarrel with previous reviewers, for this reviewer, the book's strength is to be found within the all too rare combination of the elucidation of pertinent details and the subsequent compilation and marshaling of this data in order to reach coherent conclusions. The hi-lighting of detailed minutiae is only of secondary value, it would appear, if any historical advances are unable to be procured from it. Fortunately, this fastidiously researched volume abounds in both.

It is a lengthy read, at round 670 pages, and is at times dense in the chronicled information it conveys. It is an honest read, too, and this reviewer proffers that an alternative title could well have been formed along the lines of 'How Roosevelt, Churchill, Marshall and Alanbrooke very nearly didn't Win the War in the West'! Indeed, some readers - especially those none too conversant with the internecine bickering that went on in and around the corridors of power prior to the D-Day Landings, for example - might be quite take aback at the apparent abrasiveness and the various fractious dealings which formed part of the staple diet of 'Allied' conferences, rhetoric and debate.

This reviewer would want to take issue with one or two points in previous press reviews which have suggested that, whilst Andrew Roberts' book remains a immense achievement, it establishes and thus contributes only slight, minor historical detail to the ongoing research into the WWII fray. Surely this is both to ignore key passages and sections of the book and to miss the point.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Elizabeth Roe on 10 Sept. 2009
Format: Paperback
I thorouhgly enjoyed this book. It may be a little too detailed for a general reader but as a former History teacher I appreciated the enormous amount of work which has gone into researching the correspondence between the generals and between the politicians in charge of the British and American forces. I knew very little about the man in charge of the Combined British Forces, Sir Alan Brooke, and this book has done much to remedy that. Andrew Roberts clearly has a soft spot for Brooke but this does not prevent him from being objective in his writing. The book also shows the enormous and probably unappeciated strain which the war placed on both masters and commanders. I would recommend reading it before the other book, his History of the Second World War, as it places the overall outcome of events in a deeper context.
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