The General Perspective

Discussion in 'Books, Films, TV, Radio' started by Charley Fortnum, Mar 23, 2014.

  1. Charley Fortnum

    Charley Fortnum Dreaming of Red Eagles

    Lieutenant-General Sir John Glubb, commander of the Arab Legion for many years. A little off the beaten track in terms of British general officers, but it does overlap with my reading of the fighting in Syria. He has published several works on Arab cultural, historical and military subjects, but this rather later work (and rather slim given his experience) is the only real autobiography.

  2. Charley Fortnum

    Charley Fortnum Dreaming of Red Eagles

    This is not quite up to the standard I usually buy, but given that:
    • It only ran (I think) to a single edition/impression,
    • There aren't that many nice copies out there,
    • It's a signed copy from Japan with a Japanese bookseller's plates inside,
    I compromised.

    The material is overwhelmingly pre-war ('the thread' broke in 1939), but Piggott was said to be pestering the War Office and anybody else who would listen with his plans relating to Japan throughout the war years.

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    Last edited: Jun 17, 2019
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  3. Charley Fortnum

    Charley Fortnum Dreaming of Red Eagles

    Found Alanbrooke's second volume to complete the set. Pleasingly bright for 1959 first editions.


    The other book somehow slipped through my previous searches, but if the author's biogaphy of O'Connor is anything to go by it will be a solid piece of work.

    Last edited: Jun 21, 2019
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  4. Charley Fortnum

    Charley Fortnum Dreaming of Red Eagles

    Buying books you already own is a sign of excessive wealth or failing memory, but I have neither excuse.

    Couldn't resist when I found that somebody had rebound a first edition of Horrocks's autobiography in leather.

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    Last edited: Jul 1, 2019
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  5. Charley Fortnum

    Charley Fortnum Dreaming of Red Eagles

    These aren't perfect (bit foxed on the top), but they seem to be unread and after two years of looking I'm resigned to the fact that they may be as good as it gets given their age.

    I've read a couple of sections and it's good, but I can't yet substantiate the claim that it's 'the best written memoir of the war' and on a par with Churchill.

    Last edited: Aug 10, 2019
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  6. Charley Fortnum

    Charley Fortnum Dreaming of Red Eagles

    Finally picked up a copy of this (it's rather expensive for a new hardback, even when discounted).

    My only impression so far is to question the wisdom of the author, the current Lord Ironside, in referring to the subject as 'My Father' throughout. Doing so serves to 'insert' the author in the scene artificially, and it doesn't lend much to (at least the pretence of) objectivity. It's also a mite cloying--at least he didn't choose 'Daddy'...

    Still, I have high-ish hopes given the abundance of personal material the author has had access to.

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  7. Charley Fortnum

    Charley Fortnum Dreaming of Red Eagles

    Not an exclusively military biography, but the only published source about a general involved in a series of major battles.

    Last edited: Aug 10, 2019
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  8. TTH

    TTH Senior Member

    I read some of The Fall of France years ago, still have it. Very well written, really conveys the drama and tension of those few weeks. He is particularly savage about Weygand--quite rightly, too.
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  9. Charley Fortnum

    Charley Fortnum Dreaming of Red Eagles

    I seem to have left it in the wrong country, but I do notionally own this title now.

    Screenshot 2019-08-15 at 02.24.01.jpg

    I had no idea until I browsed this book that his life, private and public, went so far awry in latter years.

    That's all the Pen & Sword biographies of WW2 generals now acquired.
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  10. Charley Fortnum

    Charley Fortnum Dreaming of Red Eagles

    Picked this up. Signed and crisp, clearly unread.

    Would quite like to get Sir John Smyth's biography of Percival as well as Percival's own book, The War In Malaya, but the latter is rare and expensive.

    Last edited: Dec 25, 2019
  11. Charley Fortnum

    Charley Fortnum Dreaming of Red Eagles

    It will be interesting to read a sympathetic treatment of Chink Dorman. Apart from John Connell's biography of Auchinkeck, everything I've seen has been negative.

  12. Charley Fortnum

    Charley Fortnum Dreaming of Red Eagles

    Have picked up a pretty rare book. I'm unsure whether it was ever published in even a private sense as it's little more than a bound typewritten manuscript and the only other copy I have been able to locate is in the IWM.

    As to content, 'desultory' is the word. There are a lot of scraps on a lot of topics--a few interesting--but no sustained discussion of anything. I think, perhaps, this is the product of a man who had an unsatisfactory war, having had, as Bernard Fergusson notes in the letter included, the chalice snatched from his lips twice. You do get quite a lot on his views of his peers and subordinates, which are good as far as they go.

    All in all, not revelatory, but a new figure about which I knew nothing.

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    Last edited: Dec 25, 2019
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  13. JimHerriot

    JimHerriot Ready for Anything

    Thanks for posting this up, a real rarity.

    If my brass neck is not sticking out too far, please would you post up your thoughts on the "Arnhem Day" pages.

    Kind regards, always,

  14. Charley Fortnum

    Charley Fortnum Dreaming of Red Eagles

    It's very short.

    I'll upload here for you tonight.
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  15. Charley Fortnum

    Charley Fortnum Dreaming of Red Eagles

    Very flimsy, I'm afraid.

    I think it was delivered as a speech or a handout.

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  16. Don Juan

    Don Juan Well-Known Member

    Sir John Glubb's short but enjoyable "The Fate of Empires" is available here:

    It's sort of a mini version of Oswald Spengler's "The Decline of The West", albeit without Spengler's excellent jokes.
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  17. Charley Fortnum

    Charley Fortnum Dreaming of Red Eagles

    A bit of a find by my mother. Privately published diaries by one of Wavell's ADCs. Facile, I know, but the idea of Wavell, an officer with one eye and an eye-patch selecting an assistant with one eye and an eye-patch is rather good.

    Last edited: Dec 25, 2019
  18. Charley Fortnum

    Charley Fortnum Dreaming of Red Eagles

    In contrast, this was a failed purchase:


    It arrived damp and bowed, a second impression instead of a first with a tatty jacket. I include it here merely out of completeness.
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2019
  19. Tom OBrien

    Tom OBrien Senior Member

    Have you heard of any books about Major General D.A.H. Graham? I think he was at Alamein with 51 (H) Division, then led 56 Inf Div during the Salerno invasion and then came home to take over 50th Division for the Normandy invasion. It seems a bit strange that no one has produced a biography of him.


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  20. Charley Fortnum

    Charley Fortnum Dreaming of Red Eagles

    Afraid not.

    The name has cropped up a few times in my reading, but I don't even know where his private papers (if any) reside.

    Your best bet is probably:

    Mead, Richard (2007). Churchill's Lions: a biographical guide to the key British generals of World War II

    And the various formation histories.

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