The Chief: Douglas Haig and the British Army Hardcover – 1 Aug 2011
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'Solid scholarship and admirable advocacy' Seven (Sunday Telegraph) 'A true judgement of (Haig) must lie somewhere between hero and zero, and in this detailed biography Gary Sheffield shows himself well qualified to make it... a balanced portrait.' The Sunday Times (Culture) 'Well written and persuasive biography...objective and well-rounded...this scholarly rehabilitation should be the standard biography (of Haig)' - Andrew Roberts Four stars **** Mail on Sunday 'Sheffield is very good indeed in his analysis of Haig's battles...his account of the Somme is particularly good. This is a good book and a balanced book.' The Scotsman 'Erudite reappraisal' Daily Mail 'Sheffield's excellent scholarship convincingly shows precisely why Haig died a national hero' The Times 'A well-researched and thought-provoking book' Soldier magazine 'No-one knows Haig's army better than Prof Sheffield.' Country Life
About the Author
One of Britain’s leading military historians, GARY SHEFFIELD is Professor of War Studies at the University of Wolverhampton. He has written a number of critically acclaimed and commercially successful books on the First World War including Forgotten Victory: The First World War – Myths and Realities. He is the co-editor of Douglas Haig: War Diaries and Letters 1914-18.
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Top Customer Reviews
The argument goes that Haig conducted operations from the safety of a château 40 miles behind the front line and, according to Blackadder, he was not a man to change his mind despite everyone being slaughtered in the first ten seconds.
Gary Sheffield's account goes a long way in dispelling the aforementioned misconception and is a must read for anyone interested in the First World War. Drawing from a plethora of private papers and previously untapped archival evidence Sheffield has produced an almost definitive account of Haig's career.
Haig's early career was spent serving in the Sudan and South Africa. However, his reputation was forged in the attritional struggles astride the Somme and in the mud of Flanders after taking command of the British Expeditionary Force in December 1915.
Sheffield argues that fighting on the Western Front was a learning process. It is difficult to see how else the war could have been fought. And it certainly could not have been won in any other theatre. Germany, Britain's main enemy, could only be defeated through attrition i.e. by inflicting more casualties on Germany than Britain sustained and eroding German manpower and morale quicker than Britain's manpower and morale were eroded.
Fundamentally, Haig was successful in waging this war of attrition. By 1918 Germany's manpower was running out and their moral smashed. Battles such as the Somme, Arras and Passchendaele went a long way towards achieving this end.
However, Sheffield does not completely vindicate Haig.Read more ›
well balanced, excellently assembled research, and with an excellent pace throughout ( in otherwords It didnt get dry and stuffy) all in all its how a military bio should be written and I look forward to reading more from Mr Sheffield
I don't know much of Lloyd-George, save he was reputedly a adulterer. We learn in the book that Lloyd George made unfavourable comments regarding Haig's generalship in his memoirs but not until Haig had died. In another era that would be seen as cowardice. Lloyd George and his socialist politcal classmates were content to sacrifice Haig on the alter of their political ideology and the liberal intelligencia have been in their employ ever since. Having now read the book I am struck by the heartlessness of the popular caricatures of Haig.
Every life that was lost on the fields of Flanders is a terrible loss and we have reason to believe that Haig was grieved by these losses. He was a soldier, he had led men into battle, he knew his men. This book allows one to get to know the persona and character of Haig. And now I know the Chief I really don't think that he would allow his detractors to trouble him. He was a humble man, not one to be troubled by the political machinations of man.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Like many of my generation I was taught that Haig was a blinkered fool who wantonly butchered every army he commanded. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Michael Newbury
A very comprehensive exposition of a remarkable man. Although it comes down on his side it does not gloss over his mistakes.Published 7 months ago by Jim Gibb
Again, this was purchased at the request of my son for background to a MA course. I am sure it is excellent.Published 9 months ago by Malcolmlt
Having been thoroughly brainwashed by the anti-war brigade, this was a real eye opener. Neither an eulogy nor an assassination, Mr Sheffield destroys the myths bit by bit but still... Read morePublished 17 months ago by Pruman
An alternative view of Douglas Haig during world war one I found it thought provoking and worth reading.Published 18 months ago by Joseph
Sheffield takes on the stereotype of Haig as the bungling butcher. He shows him to be a thoughtful, visionary commander. Read morePublished 22 months ago by David N Luke
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