7 of 10 people found the following review helpful
A fine biography.,
This review is from: Field Marshal Earl Haig (CASSELL MILITARY PAPERBACKS) (Paperback)
Warner's book is a fine short account of Sir Douglas Haig's military career. Personaly I prefered Terraine's Educated Soldier, but that is for the serious student of Haig. Warner's book is a good introduction for those who know very little about Haig.
To answer the other reviewers question the officer who beat Haig in 1912, General James Grierson,another Scot, died on a train in 1914 before the BEF had even come into action. Grierson may have been a better general than Haig, and that is a very big 'may' since he saw no action. Grierson won because he used air reconaissance, which untill 1912 Haig did not take very seriously.
As with all of his mistakes Haig never made this one again, becoming a convert to air power, Trenchard and Salmond being amung his closest advisors.
My only major gripe with this book is that Warner makes too much of this incident. What general has not been beaten in an exercise? In fact to be beaten is often more important to a commander's learning curve, as he knows what mistakes he has made. Haig had to learn the hard way about aircraft, but he learned the lesson. A similar system is used by the US Army at their large exercise area at Fort Irwin where the Oposing Forces always initialy beat the units sent to train there. To make so much of one blemish, which may have been in the long term beneficial, on an officer's carrer is to blow the incident out of all proportion.
However this is only a minor falt, and I would reccomend this book as an introduction to Haig, followed by Neilland's Great War Generals on the Western Front. The more serious student should follow up with Terraine's work and the collection of essays edited by Brian Bond and Nigel Cave - Haig: A Reappraisal 70 Years On.