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Orde Wingate: Irregular Officer (Phoenix Giants) [Paperback]

Trevor Royle
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Book Description

10 Aug 1998 Phoenix Giants
This controversial biography is based on previously unseen sources, including those of the Special Operations Executive which Wingate joined in 1940. It traces his development as a soldier and guerrilla leader in Palestine and Europe, and shows his strcit religious upbringing had a lasting effect on his military career.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Orion; New edition edition (10 Aug 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0753802228
  • ISBN-13: 978-0753802229
  • Product Dimensions: 23 x 15.8 x 3.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,024,512 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

From the Publisher

“A finely written and objective book” John Keegan. “A very sound account, especially in his depiction of the British Army in those days” Anthony Beevor.

About the Author

Trevor Royle is a broadcaster and author specialising in the history of war and empire with a score of books to his credit. His most recent book, Civil War: The Wars of the Three Kingdoms 1638-1660 (Little, Brown), is a revisionist history of the English Civil War and has received excellent reviews. He is also the author of Crimea: The Great Crimean War 1854-1856 and a highly praised biography of the controversial Chindit leader Major-General Orde Wingate. As a journalist he is an associate editor of the Sunday Herald and is also a regular commentator on defence matters and international affairs for the BBC. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh.

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Customer Reviews

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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
This is a must read for people interested in warfare and the Burma campaign in particular. It is a biography of the brilliant, controversial and at times troubled man who strongly influenced modern warfare through his innovative approach. We get the full details of Wingate's Burma campaign, where his 'Chindits' pioneered the use of air supply to maintain troops in inhospitable territory. The method being used by coalition troops in Afghanistan today. We also get accounts of the clashes with higher authority that marked Wingate's entire career and indeed even after his death he is anethma to some conventional military types. The question is why and how did Wingate manage to accomplish so much, alienate much of the establishment and yet earn the devotion of the men under his command and powerful figures such as Roosevelt and Churchill? Royle goes along way to unraveling this enigma and pays particular attention to Wingate's childhood(his family were Plymouth Brethen)and his formative years. All in all a good read, comparable to Michael Asher's account of T E Lawrence, 'The Uncrowned King of Arabia'. These two men are perhaps the single most fascinating characters in British Military history. Interestingly they were related.
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By Maciej TOP 500 REVIEWER
This is a good book and I am happy that I bought it. I learned a lot from it and I think it gives a very complete vision of Orde Wingate as a brilliant but troubled and controversial human being.

Author certainly worked hard to compile the information contained in this book and his writing style is pretty skillful and pleasant to read. The book stays with facts and, although at 356 pages pretty long, contains virtually no fillers. It is a good, real story, chronologically ordered, very clear, well written and containing lots of data.

Please be aware however, that this book focus more on Wingate as a human being, than as a soldier. Now, considering that he was a professional soldier, of course his military career is very meticulously described, including all his fighting campaigns (Palestine, Ethiopia, Burma), but if you are looking for a detailed history of Chindits, you should definitely buy another book. Contrary to the title, in this one it is the man who is the main focus - not the soldier.

Trevor Royle did an excellent job with this book - maybe even better than he intended. As one can see by looking on amazon site, in a later version of this book he changed the title to "Orde Wingate, a man of genius" and therefore I think it is right to say, that author really admires Wingate as a great man and soldier, who was maybe prevented by his untimely death from achieving even greater things. But by reading this book I saw clearly something different.

Maybe unwillingly Trevor Royle showed in this book that Orde Wingate without a shadow of doubt suffered from some kind of psychiatric problem, which made his full succesful integration with the society impossible.
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