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Notes From a Small Military [Hardcover]

Major-General Chip Chapman
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)
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Book Description

9 Sep 2013
Stumbling from a university anarchist meeting into a career in the army, Chip Chapman is aware of how consciously incompetent he is. The Royal Military Academy Sandhurst confirms his worst fears. He is eventually let loose on 6 Platoon of 2 PARA and, via the Falklands War, manages to elevate himself to a position of conscious competence and save his career. Snapshots on all aspects of military life, and government decision making, show the military at work and play. This hilarious, touching, informative and thought-provoking insight into a generation of soldiering in the late 20th century and beyond is set against the drumbeat of the social and educational rhythms of the age, and the change from the certainties of the Cold War to the nihilism of 9/11. Chip Chapman eventually manages to somehow climb the greasy pole to become a General. With echoes of David Niven's The Moon's a Balloon, Lesley Thomas' Virgin Soldiers and the travelogues of Bill Bryson, Chapman captures the rawness, spirit and fortitude of the soldier in both peace and war.

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: John Blake Publishing Ltd; 1st Edition edition (9 Sep 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1782194665
  • ISBN-13: 978-1782194668
  • Product Dimensions: 23.6 x 15.2 x 3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 230,329 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

Since September 2010, Major-General Chapman has been theSenior British Military Advisor to US Central Command.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars With conspicuously absent names! 28 Feb 2014
Ordinarily, the proverbial (if not obligatory) memoir from a retiring British general is set out in chronological order - year by year, rank by rank and whatever happened at each juncture. One of the most refreshing aspects (and there are several) of this particular work, however, is that the author tackles various subjects one at a time and adds, in no particular order, his thoughts, conclusions and, of course, memories under each selected heading. To some this may appear disjointed but the entire book comes together perfectly to live up to its title - which is also explained. It is only when we near the end of this thought-provoking work that we find ourselves firmly at the time of his being a general and all that went with it. It also reveals a soldier who is well-read and has studied his craft most carefully.

Those officers and soldiers (in whatever capacity) who are mentioned by name are not only worthy of mention but also relevant to the point being made at the time. Having served with the, then, Captain Chapman when he was Adjutant of 2 Para (1987-1989), I did find certain names conspicuous by their absence.

If I have to take issue with the book it is only on one very minor point. It was President Coolidge who was famous for his brevity. He was at dinner one evening when a lady turned to him and said words to the effect; "Mr President I have wagered a bet that I will get more than three words out of you this evening." He famously replied "You lose" and never said any more. In this book, that story is attributed to Brigadier Kitson (under whom I also served in 1981) although he may, of course, have repeated the same thing!
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is the best military memoir that has been published in a very long time and stands alongside Safe Quartered out Here by James McDonald Fraser, of Flashman fame, and David Niven's The Moon's a Balloon.

It made me laugh out loud to the consternation of my fellow passengers on the train as well as shed a tear. He captures exactly the privilege to command at any level as well as the frustrations in dealing with those on high with their Kenny Everett hands wandering across the maps of the world.

This should be required reading for anyone wanting to exercise leadership, in industry as well as the profession of arms.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Compelling Read 23 Nov 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
A cracking edge of the seat read, all the more compelling because it's true. Chip has served through the ranks with the best of the heroes and his story is told with humour and skill. He is the sort of leader that the British Army sometimes throws up, clear, sharp, quick witted and made to lead from the front for they know no other way. Some of it needs to be read in the rain when you're hungry and tired, perhaps with an acrid whiff of cordite drifting across your nostrils. Thoroughly recommended
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent 7 Sep 2013
By Troll
Very funny and irreverent. Not what you would expect from a Major General! It's lighthearted but also respectful of its subject matter, touching on the human side of conflict and soldiering. I read the book in one sitting and laughed out loud several times. A great read for those in the Armed Forces and those who are not!
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Green On - Go! 17 Sep 2013
Chip Chapman is endowed with a rich sense of humour and acute observation skills. This is a an easy book to read, honest and open. It is enjoyable and provides genuine insights into life in the Parachute regiment and our military over the last thirty years. It's also a book with a certain poignancy about it, for those who have served in the Parachute Regiment it will trigger many memories of battles both on and off the battlefield. Chip Chapman embodies a few of the lines of Kipling's poem: "If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue, or walk with Kings, nor lose the common touch." A warrior scholar now retired, his service is a great example, his values not just bullet points on a powerpoint deck. Let's hope we have others who will serve as well as he and the men he led.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A trip down memory lane for me. Well written. 12 Dec 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I thoroughly enjoyed the book. Having briefly served with the author, and knowing the majority of those characters and their antics over the years, I found it most interesting. The Parachute Regiment Tom is indeed something special and I share the authors pride in having fought alongside them. Well written and highly amusing in places; I think I may still have my membership card for that well known terrorist organisation the Toms Liberation Front (TLF)! Highly recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I do recommend this book for all soldiers and interested civilians. You can learn about soldiering and leadership among the humorous description. Although English is not my native language, this book is easy to read and understand for me. Notes from a small military is a great note from a big military experience author. GUNN
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
By AndrewC
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Chip should be congratulated on producing a wonderfully readable and very enjoyable memoir that is far from the run of the mill self-serving stuff that most senior officers have tended to write in recent years.

All the human emotions that one would associated with serving in the military are acutely and delightfully observed in his own imitable way, particularly regimental life and the inner workings of Whitehall. Some of his stories are quite hysterical, reducing both myself and my wife to fits of giggles. The poignant parts are equally well written.

This should be required reading for every potential officer who, if he/she is worth their salt, should heed his call to arms in the slaying of gnomes during their service.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant book!
Fantastic book, beautifully written and a gripping read! Loved it
Published 10 hours ago by I. Burke
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great book from a great leader of men.
Published 5 days ago by Snipermoose
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Interesting insight into the armed forces with a good deal of forces humour. Enjoyable read.
Published 1 month ago by Michael smith
1.0 out of 5 stars Avoid
What should be a good story to tell is not done very well in this book, a bit too much self admiration for my taste and lost interest in reading this. Better account out there.
Published 1 month ago by Craig Greaves
5.0 out of 5 stars It is what it says in the title!
An interesting insight into a military career, quite funny at times, with a professional's view about the more technical aspects of being a soldier and commander.
Published 4 months ago by SG
5.0 out of 5 stars Steve Parker
Excellent read I thoroughly enjoyed it - especially the recounting of pre parachute training and the rigours combat -well written
Published 5 months ago by Steve Parker
3.0 out of 5 stars Big the Para's up
A very mixed bag this book, the General clearly is very Para biased, but would do well to add that there are other hardworking Regts in the Army
Published 6 months ago by David Lloyd
5.0 out of 5 stars A good read
Very funny, well worth it, reminds me of me and all the antics troops got up too, increase chippy's pension fund, buy it :P
Published 6 months ago by PETER CARROLL
3.0 out of 5 stars a bit disappointing
As far as I am concerned this book was bit of a curates egg.I thought some parts were a bit dragged out
Published 7 months ago by Harry Robertson
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb
I loved this book.
This is a brilliant incite into the mind of a combat soldier and a man who became a high ranking officer. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Tim Crosskey
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