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Writing the Great War: Sir James Edmonds and the Official Histories, 1915-1948 (Military History and Policy) Hardcover – 10 Jun 2003

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The roots of the organisation which was to produce the Official Histories began in September 1906. Read the first page
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3 of 17 people found the following review helpful
Truth not told 5 Oct. 2004
By Devl's Advocate - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Despite the author's prodigious efforts in trying to prove that the Official Histories are not partial accounts written to protect the reputations of the politicians and the High Command and cover up the gross incompetence of Britain's war efforts and its military, the fact that the Histories are paid for by the Treasury and the War/Colonial/Foreign Offices, written by Sir James who was on the staff of Haig in France, that all the findings must be vetted by the said Offices and the Cabinet's Subcommittee of Control (!) and that the chief aim is to serve as an antidode to all the unofficial histories which attribute the failures to the Government's ineptitude and incompetence, would make one suspicious of whatever that's put into print.

And the choice of Sir James as head of the Historical Section, whose remit was "to find the facts and make as little criticism as possible" was dubious to say the least.

A lifer in the Army, Edmonds was neither trained in historical research (he never attended college) nor professionally qualified
(despite his more than 6 decades in the Army, he managed to spend a total of 14 days at the front during the Great War) to write on the series. As a mental case (he broke down after just 14 days in the front, withour firing a shot or being fired on) and a desk bound, incompetent, intriguing staff officer, well protected by fellow Staff College graduates like Haig, who spent 4 peaceful, luxurious chateau years in the GHQ in France bathing in the sea and picking wild flowers, one understands why he was chosen to head up the effort, which was mainly to cover up the unthinking stupidity and gross incompetence of British generalship in general, Haig his boss in particular.

In defending Edmonds' monumental rubbish (Liddell Hart called the series, Official, but not History), Andrew Green, coming from a long line of revisionist historians like Warner, Terraine, Sheffield, manages to do the opposite - exposing the British Army for what it was, and is today, donkeys led by asses.
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