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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A well balanced biography, 29 Jan. 2013
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This review is from: The CHIEF: Douglas Haig and the British Army (Kindle Edition)
It's as difficult for a reader to approach a biography of Douglas Haig in an even handed manner, as it is for the biographer themselves. So in a spirit of full disclosure, I come from a left-wing family, in which my paternal Grandfather had fought in the Great War and survived. So I can tick all those boxes that revisionist historians hate - Oh What a Lovely War!, the War Poets and Blackadder. But I've also read a good number of revisionist books on the war, and can appreciate the scholarship that has greatly broadened our understanding of the conflict.
I procrastinated for a long time before buying this book, even having enjoyed Gary Sheffield's 'Forgotten Victory.' After all it is clear that he is not an unbiased biographer, having edited Haig's diaries, and clearly admiring much about the man. The book is however even-handed, and it is possible to finish it with a dimmer view of the subject than the authors.
Is it well written? Possibly not in a classically scholarly way, but it cracks along at a good pace and is eminently readable. Perhaps it is slightly superficial in some areas - Haig replacing French flashes by with little discussion, but is a very good introduction to the subject, and thankfully focuses mainly on the war itself.
In summary, a good introduction to Douglas Haig, with a balanced approach to its subject.
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Initial post: 29 Apr 2013 19:02:07 BDT
Squeeth says:
Oh What a Lovely War!, the War Poets and Blackadder.

These are the revisionists, the orthodox view of 1914-1930 was that it was a hard war against a powerful, brave and well-equipped enemy which proved a supreme test to the British state and British society. These days there is a synthesis of both, which is sceptical as to the benefit of the war to ordinary Britons (I see it as the real beginning of the Welfare State, so recently murdered) but which sees the British army rising to become the most powerful and effective on the Western front in 1918 after a much more rapid development into a continental war-machine than the continental ones, since most of them were forty years old when the war began.
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