The General Perspective

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

  1. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member

    Thanks CF .

    Vincent Orange is a prolific writer around aviation history and senior personalities.No wonder one of his first works was on fellow Kiwi Keith Park.(As regards Keith Park,Park ,himself as a participant in the RFC wrote an excellent resume on the 1916 air war tactics in France which can be found by searching via Google.)

    Vincent Orange features a good deal around the Air Historic Branch where his late friend Air Commodore Henry Probert was Head and refers to him as his mentor.

    If you wish to look deeper into the biographies and sources quoted by Vincent Orange in his Dowding work,there can be nothing better than this for aviation subjects covered by renowned historians.
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  2. Charley Fortnum

    Charley Fortnum Dreaming of Red Eagles

    As an academic book, it's hard to find at anything like a sensible price, but for the moment I have a digital copy of the following publication on General Sir Douglas David Gracey KCB, KCIE, CBE, MC & Bar.

    As you can see it covers his war and post-war service in Burma, Cambodia and Vietnam & India.

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  3. Charley Fortnum

    Charley Fortnum Dreaming of Red Eagles

    I received the first mail in two months from the UK today: a letter from the Inland Revenue and the following:


    This definitely looks the better of the two.
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2020 at 2:24 PM
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  4. davidbfpo

    davidbfpo Well-Known Member


    I look forward to a review of the book here and on the 20th Indian Division thread too please.
  5. Charley Fortnum

    Charley Fortnum Dreaming of Red Eagles

    A very good essay here (by the only author of a full-length work on Dill). It focuses on his character, and in particular how his early life shaped his later outlook.

    Alex Danchev, Journal of the Society for Army Historical Research
    Vol. 67, No. 269 (Spring 1989), pp. 28-39:

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  6. Charley Fortnum

    Charley Fortnum Dreaming of Red Eagles

    It isn't a first edition (first reprint), but for 1985 it's in near-perfect condition, and, of course, Park is held in high regard by almost everybody who knows his name.

    Last edited: Sep 21, 2020 at 2:28 PM
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  7. Dan M

    Dan M Member


    Have you heard of another Probert book called High Commanders of the Royal Air Force (1991) HMSO? It contained, as I recall, about two dozen or so biographies of Air Marshals, almost all of whom either served during the war or began their careers during those years. I donated my copy to the Royal Canadian Military Institute which, at the time, seemed like a good idea.

  8. Charley Fortnum

    Charley Fortnum Dreaming of Red Eagles

    Thanks--it's now on the long list.

    I was aware of the existence of this, but I didn't manage to turn up a list of contents to find out who is covered.

    I see now that it's the same author as wrote the Harris biography.
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  9. Charley Fortnum

    Charley Fortnum Dreaming of Red Eagles

    This arrived this morning. It's quite rare and the price was just about on the border between expensive and too expensive. In the end, the fine binding won me over. As to content, as befits the title, his views look to take up quite a lot of the page count. First impression suggests that the sections of India and the subcontinent are interesting. He was friends with Gort and Grasett there.

    Very happy to have found this.

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    The three titles that now remain on my list in the 'too expensive' category are:

    Armoured Crusader (Hobart's biography),
    Playing With Strife (Neame's autobiography),
    The War in Malaya (Percival's account),
    Overture to Overlord (Morgan's account).

    I could also do with a nicer copy of Eight Years Overseas (Jumbo Wilson's memoir) as my copy is battered and unjacketed.
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2020 at 2:24 PM
  10. Charley Fortnum

    Charley Fortnum Dreaming of Red Eagles

    I'm frankly not sure that I need more on Wavell, but this was well reviewed and pretty cheap.

    The other modern biography--not so well reviewed--is:

    Fort, Adrian. Archibald Wavell: The Life and Death of the Imperial Servant (2009)

    The older one I'd like to see (because I like his writing) is:

    Lewin, Ronald, The Chief: Field Marshal Lord Wavell, Commander-in-Chief and Viceroy 1939-1947 (1980)

    Last edited: Sep 21, 2020 at 2:25 PM
  11. JimHerriot

    JimHerriot Ready for Anything

    Hello CF,

    I recently dug this one out, as I remembered a couple of photos within it that I wanted to post (and subsequently did) here;

    The sartorial elegance of the British officer on campaign

    I'm currently awaiting being black-balled for that one as "Weary" is of course by no means British (which is abundantly clear by the fact that his legs do not look like two strands of spaghetti in his KD's!)

    Having seen the posts here;

    Sir Edward "Weary" Dunlop - POW Hero

    and here;

    What are you reading at the moment?

    were you able to chase down a copy of the 1986 published "The War Diaries of Weary Dunlop"? And/or have you consequently invested in this? (my copy purchased second or even third hand for the (to me) bargain price of seven GBP around 2001).

    Having revisited it, and if you have yet to obtain a copy, I thoroughly recommend it (contents of same included below if needed to tip the balance. The book also contains the best part of a hundred photographs and illustrations).

    Kind regards, always,


    WEARY 1.jpg

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    Last edited: Jul 3, 2020
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  12. Charley Fortnum

    Charley Fortnum Dreaming of Red Eagles

    I haven't been actively searching for it, although--as I said on one of those threads--I would like a copy as diaries are my favourite genre: nice and episodic, written with the immediacy of first impressions.

    It does look to be quite a nice publication.

    On the topic of antipodeans, I'd also like a first edition of Infantry Brigadier by Kippenberger.

    I've read it already and it's a great book, but I don't own a copy.
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2020
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  13. JimHerriot

    JimHerriot Ready for Anything

    Dear CF, out of the same box as "WEARY", and posted out of deference (and difference) to your collection (this published by The Reprint Society Ltd. by arrangement with Cassell & Co. Ltd 1957)

    It's battered and bruised, and not a first edition in the true sense, but having seen the name on the inner dust-jacket review I just couldn't put it back on the second-hand shop shelf all those years ago. Plus, the Field-Marshal "takes" a cracking photo!

    Kind regards, always,


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  14. Charley Fortnum

    Charley Fortnum Dreaming of Red Eagles

    Bought this for a few quid on eBay. It's ex-libris, but seemingly unread.


    Mason-MacFarlane was DMI with the BEF, did a stint in Moscow as the head of the military mission and was appointed Governor of Gibraltar, but he's almost as famous as the man who 'could have killed Hitler':

    “On April 20, 1939, his 50th birthday, Hitler would mount the reviewing stand on Berlin’s main avenue at 11am. With a high-powered rifle, Mason-MacFarlane would place himself on the landing of his apartment, 30ft from the bathroom window to avoid muzzle flash and to blanket the sound. Firing through the window, he would kill Hitler with a single head shot.

    “As he said at the time, it would have been ‘an easy rifle shot. I could pick the bastard off from here as easy as winking.’”

    New book reveals Scottish soldier's plan to assassinate Hitler on his birthday

    Plenty here:
    Noel Mason-MacFarlane - Wikipedia
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2020 at 2:27 PM
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  15. Charley Fortnum

    Charley Fortnum Dreaming of Red Eagles

    A window opened in the seemingly impenetrable barrier of international mail and this arrived today.

    It was only published recently by the good people here: Blue Ormer Publishing

    It's quite an atrractive and well-assembled book, so you may be interested in their other war-themed publications.

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    In the Second World War he returned to military service, and was Adjutant and Quartermaster General of the 50th (Northumbrian) Division. He served in the British Expenditionary Force (BEF) in 1940, and was mentioned in despatches. He became a Major-General in 1943. From 1940 to 1945 he was Director-General of the Petroleum Warfare Department, which developed innovative applications for petrol during the conflict, include FIDO, (fog dispersal at airports), and PLUTO (pipeline under the ocean taking fuels from England to Europe during & after the Invasion build-up).

    Further details of his service here:
    Donald Banks - Wikipedia
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2020
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  16. Charley Fortnum

    Charley Fortnum Dreaming of Red Eagles

    Another airman by Orange, one mentioned above.

    Slessor's own memoirs are quite good: geographically and temporally ranging as befits an officer of his rank, so I wonder how much more this will add to the picture?

    Last edited: Sep 21, 2020 at 2:25 PM
  17. Robert-w

    Robert-w Well-Known Member

    Whilst I would agree that The Central Blue is clear and broad in its coverage it's no bad thing to have a different point of view applied. Even if no new facts are revealed it could throw light on the interpretation of what is known and on the decisions taken. For example Slessor's view on the value of supply flights to the Poles during the Warsaw rising versus the risk to his crews. His interpretation may have been perfectly valid but it is his interpretation of his decisions and it's always useful to look at it with different eyes.
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  18. Charley Fortnum

    Charley Fortnum Dreaming of Red Eagles

    I read the foreword and the first couple of sections last night and would like recant my former suspicions. Orange has brought in a very large number of outside sources and voices to assemble a very rounded picture of the man. There's much on the inter- and intra-service squabbles and how he transcended rather that exorcised a number of character flaws.

    Elsewhere, two more arrivals (ordered in March!).

    Calvert was 'only' a Brigadier but an influential one; the Slim biography is supposedly one of the best.

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    Last edited: Sep 21, 2020 at 2:26 PM
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  19. Charley Fortnum

    Charley Fortnum Dreaming of Red Eagles

    Think I'm about done for Bomber Harris books now.

    Last edited: Sep 21, 2020 at 2:26 PM
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  20. Charley Fortnum

    Charley Fortnum Dreaming of Red Eagles

    This arrived today. As I said on the 'coming soon' thread, I've read and enjoyed the author's account of the Yangtze incident. He's an ex-journalist, I believe, and he knows how to spin a tale.

    On the downside, it may be just me, but some publishers are going with notably thinner and glossier papers with lighter inks that look a bit like print-on-demand titles. It's likely a money-saving move, but I don't like it much.

    Last edited: Sep 21, 2020 at 2:26 PM

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