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The Good Soldier: A Biography of Douglas Haig Hardcover – November 8, 2007


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Editorial Reviews

Review

"The best and fairest biography of Haig that I have read."  —Daily Telegraph
--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

Gary Mead was a journalist for the Financial Times for ten years and has worked extensively with the BBC. He is the author of The Doughboys: America and the First World War (2000).
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 608 pages
  • Publisher: Atlantic Books (November 8, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1843542803
  • ISBN-13: 978-1843542803
  • Product Dimensions: 6.6 x 9.5 x 1.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,492,791 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By MarkK VINE VOICE on May 24, 2009
Format: Hardcover
There are few soldiers in British military history with a reputation as controversial as that of Douglas Haig. Lionized in his lifetime, his role as commander of the British Expeditionary Force in the First World War came under attack soon after his death, becoming the head donkey whose decisions led to the unjustifiable sacrifice of a generation of British men. Though more recent scholarship has much modified this view, his career remains a battleground of historical debates, one in which every work is assigned to one side or the other.

Based on the introduction, Gary Mead's biography of Haig would seem fit into the "redemptive" side of the Haig debate. Yet in many ways it transcends such labeling, offering the most judicious account of Haig's life yet published, one interspersed with critical assessments that offer a well-rounded view of Haig's personality and career. Mead endeavors to correct many of the myths that have formed around his subject, noting, for example, his embrace of new technologies such as the tank and the airplane as they began to appear on the battlefield. Yet at the same time he proves perfectly willing to criticize Haig for his stubborn belief in the viability of cavalry and his preference for officers who shared his views rather than those who might have introduced a healthy tone of dissent into discussions over operations.

All of this makes Mead's biography well worth reading, though it is not without its flaws. Perhaps the most glaring is the lack of explanation for how Haig came to assume such a prominent position in the army.
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