Two men came to personify British and German generalship in the Second World War: Bernard Montgomery and Erwin Rommel. They fought a series of extraordinary duels across several theatres of war which established them as two of the greatest captains of their age. Our understanding of leadership in battle was altered for ever by their electrifying personal qualities. Ever since, historians have assessed their outstanding leadership, personalities and skill.
The careers of both began on the periphery of the military establishment and represent the first time military commanders proactively and systematically used (and were used by) the media as they came to prominence, first in North Africa, then in Normandy. Dynamic and forward-thinking, their lives also represent a study of pride, propaganda and nostalgia. Caddick-Adams tracks and compares their military talents and personalities in battle. Each brought something special to their commands. Rommel's breathtaking advance in May-June 1940 was nothing less than inspired. Montgomery is a gift for leadership gurus in the way he took over a demoralised Eighth Army in August 1942 and led it to victory just two months later.
This compelling work is both scholarly and entertaining and marks the debut of a major new talent in historical biography.