Leading from the Front: An autobiography Paperback – 26 May 2011
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"A passionate and searingly honest account of four decades of army service, it offers both a sober caution of the past and a carefully thought-out blueprint for the future" (Saul David Sunday Telegraph)
"In this book, Sir Richard Dannatt has some thoughtful things to say not only about the past but also about the future shape of our forces. No one can read it without being reminded that we need, as a country, to take the military covenant with our forces with the utmost seriousness" (Richard Harries Church Times)
The frank-speaking autobiography of one of Britain's most respected military leadersSee all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
Fascinating because of the detail he provides to back-up his severe criticism of Ministry of Defence civil servants and politicians, Labour ones in particular but Gordon Brown above all, for failing to fund the army sufficiently for the jobs they demanded of it. Banal because, despite his long experience of counter-insurgency and peace-keeping operations starting with Northern Ireland in the 1970s, his repeated message through the book is one of `give the army more money, give the army more time'.
The contrast with the US army and the way, for example, it has massively altered its counter-insurgency approach under General Petraeus is marked. Resources and time certainly feature in the lessons learnt by the Americans, but are very far from the whole picture. The picture Dannatt paints of the British army by contrast is, in this respect, unintentionally a deeply unflattering one because it gives the appearance of an army looking over the last 40 years and pointing the finger at others rather than asking questions of itself.
In fact, the British army has been rather smarter than Dannatt's account gives out, but how it has learnt the lessons of its mistakes such as those in Northern Ireland or tries to meet the continuing challenge to ensure that soldiers do not go violently out of control in the stresses of counter-insurgency are not stories told in this book.
The one significant area of army error Dannatt does concede in the epilogue is that the army's doctrine of "Go first, go fast, go home" was a wrong one.Read more ›
The general got to the top army post and was only denied charge of all the armed forces because of his outspoken standing up for the interests of his troops in a way the Labour government did not appreciate. One admires his courage on behalf of his troops and also his courage under fire in Northern Ireland.
If one is not into the technicalities of the army large parts of the book are hard going but Dannatt comes across as a first rate soldier and family man.
Dannatt was attacked by some (especially those on the left of the political spectrum) for being 'too political', but this accusation does not stand scrutiny. It is even a little pathetic. By standing up to an uncomprehending liberal elite (in and out of government) for those who had to fight Blair and Brown's wars but who themselves had no significant political voice, Dannatt reminds us powerfully of the responsibility society has to its Armed Forces when they are sent to fight on our behalf. The other Chiefs appeared parochial, tribal and silent in contrast, except where it was to defend their numbers of fast jets or surface vessels.
As CGS Dannatt quite rightly defended the Army, but this book demonstrates convincingly that he did not do it not do so uncomprehendingly, or blindly.Read more ›
I was privileged as a young man to know General Richard, and I can tell you that he really is the honest, modest and decent person who leaps from these pages.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Good book. Interesting story of someone at the top having the interests of the ordinary soldier always in mind.Published 5 months ago by Ken Fryer
A good read, think this was audio cd actually...a good listen !Published 16 months ago by JollyGreenGiant
This is the story of a man who worked has way to the top of the British Army. It is told "as it was ". Read morePublished 19 months ago by Norfolk Horn
a robust account of his role as CGS fighting the internal politics of the MOD and the politicians who did not understand the need for
enough troops and proper equipment in... Read more