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Orde Wingate: Irregular Officer Hardcover – 10 Apr 1995


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 356 pages
  • Publisher: Weidenfeld & Nicolson; First Edition edition (10 April 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0297815350
  • ISBN-13: 978-0297815358
  • Product Dimensions: 3.8 x 16.5 x 24.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,358,164 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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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. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Maciej TOP 500 REVIEWER on 11 Dec. 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
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 filler. 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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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Mother in Israel on 11 April 2009
Format: Hardcover
In his own way, Wingate is just as fascinating a character as Winston Churchill, and Trevor Royle does justice to the childhood influences that shaped the man. His originality of thought was there long before the phrase "thinking outside the box" was coined, and yet the inescapable logic of his convictions comes through to explain why and how he was so very original in his deeds.
One can't help feeling that circumstances surrounding his Burma campaigns might have been very different in their outcome had it not been for the jealousies and rivalries of his superiors - who may well have been envious of his superior grasp of both the mentality of the Japanese and the tactics necessary to win the war on the ground.
A tragic end not mourned by those who should have been supporting him, but a man who is fittingly honoured by Israel as someone of vision and integrity.
The overall impression after reading Royle's book is that one feels admiration for his career, but compassion for his private life. However, he was, through and through, one of those "Englishmen" who made a difference to the world in his generation. May he be long remembered.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 3 reviews
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
The most complete biography of a true military genius 24 Mar. 2003
By Aaron Eitan Meyer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Of the dozens of books that relate to Orde Wingate, the majority deal primarily with either the Chindit operations into Burma or serve as answers to the character assassination that was done posthumously after Wingate's death in a plane crash in 1944. Of the remainder, this book, along with the authorized bio by Christopher Sykes, and the most recent one by John Bierman & Colin Smith, stand out as the most complete. Of these, the Sykes version is the earliest, from 1959 and the author did not have access to certain records that the latter did. The Bierman and Smith version is quite thorough, but ends with some editorializing commentary on the current state of affairs in the Middle East totally contrary to those views that Wingate himself held. For this reason it leaves a sour taste in one's mouth. Royle's book suffers none of these flaws, and is perhaps the easiest read of them all. It is an excellent introduction to the life and thoughts of a man whom it will be revealed in time, was in fact a man of destiny, as Churchill's epitaph for him stated he was likely to become.
A good and detailed biography of the man rather than the soldier, proving maybe more than author intended... 11 Dec. 2012
By Maciej - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
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 prevented by his untimely death from achieving even greater things. But by reading this book I saw clearly something rather 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. Not being a psychiatrist I can not of course diagnose this famous man, but the sum of all his - sometimes deeply embarassing - eccentric behaviours seems indicate that he suffered from something similar to Asperger syndrom or maybe adult ADHD and certainly from some kind of OCD. Now, even when combined with high intelligence, great courage and a disregard for personal comfort and safety, for a military man this was a considerable problem and it is small wonder that Wingate made his career almost completely by leading autonomous operations of irregular formations in extreme conditions. In those kinds of circumstances his strong points (brilliance, courage, endurance) could be optimised when his weaknesses (inability to cooperate with others, pigheaded obstination, lack of discipline) couldn't do too much harm.

Author certainly makes a lot of famous Churchill words said after Wingate's death "a man of genius who might well have become a man of destiny", without seemingly realising that they were a polite and mostly a void formula. Wingate certainly had a kind of genius, but after meeting him at Quebec conference Churchill, although initially pretty taken by this eccentric general, clearly realised that he was too unstable to do other things that those autonomous irregular operations. Therefore, instead of bringing him to the main war theater in Europe, to lead the airborne assault on Festung Europa, he send him back to Burma, a secondary front, to let him do the one thing he could do right. Orde Wingate was indeed an "irregular soldier", a very great one and in fact maybe one of the greatest ever - but he was no more, and Trevor Royle showed it very clearly in this book.

Bottom line, this is a very good book, which, although initially intended as a hagiography of this brilliant but controversial man, ultimately managed to show the truth about him, which is somehow different than what author wanted to show. Therefore, in my opinion, this is a recommended reading for anybody interested in the unique career of one of the greatest "iregular soldiers" in the history...
8 of 22 people found the following review helpful
A poor biography 8 Feb. 2005
By MW - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
This is a poor biography because Trevor Royle has written a

work about a controversal subject that goes out of its way

to avoid offending anyone.

Its impossible to write a useful biography of Wingate that

doesn't address any of the controversies about him that

persist to this day. In avoiding taking a stand on the

controversies, the book gives offense to none but at the

same time paints a dishonest portrait of the man.

Royle also appears to have gone out of his way to avoid

dealing with many of the stupid things that Wingate thought

and said before and during the war.

What Wingate's followers have never quite understood is that

Wingate himself insulted and attacked almost everyone around

him in the army during his career. Its impossible to expect

his critics to be polite or deferential to a man who neither

during his lifetime.

And with regard to his Israeli supporters, your patrotism

is all fine and well. But the world outside the superheated

political nationalism of Israel doesn't have to obey your

rules of political correctness as regards history.

The worst single thing Royle does is turn Wingate's breakdown

and suicide attempt during the war into some sort great heroic

turning point in a life. Rather than another sign of a very

troubled man who could not follow orders, accept authority

or even accept responsiblity for his own actions.
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