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Bernard Montgomery (Command) Paperback – November 23, 2010
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This work outlines (briefly) his early years and (in a bit more detail) his military career into the early years of the Second World War. The center of the work begins with his assumption of command in northern Africa, his leadership in Sicily, and, of course, his role on D-Day. His role against the Afrika Corps and Edwin Rommel at Al Alamein brought him to renown. The British victory made his name.
The book outlines his work, warts and all (quite prickly and unhappy with Eisenhower's role as commander in chief). His leadership in the Sicilian campaign is not told in as much detail as would be desirable. More detail is provided for his work leading up to and including D-Day.
The book does a nice job illustrating his leadership--both successful and unsuccessful (the latter spectacularly illustrated by his botched offensive, Operation Market Garden).
This work ends with a fair assessment of Montgomery's body of work
Author Moreman points to some of Montgomery's strengths, especially his rigorous attention to detail, that proved vital at 2nd Alamein and perhaps indispensable during the Normandy landings. Monty's showmanship was just what the 8th Army needed after a string of desert defeats, although his treatment of command predecessors, especially Auchinleck (to whom he owed much, as the author admits) was shabby. Montgomery's speech-making charisma, and ability to show interest in the common soldier, did much good for a war-weary Britain in 1944.
It is true, as Dr. Forczyk mentions in his review, that the author left gaps, especially during the Sicilian and Italian campaigns, but I think this was a necessary sacrifice to give sufficient coverage to all aspects of this complex, even tortured man. By focusing primarily on Montgomery's time in the North Africa and the Normandy campaign, the author is able to give adequate depth into Montgomery's strengths and weaknesses as a battlefield commander. There is also enough background on Montgomery's private life, including his difficult childhood and happy but sadly shortened marriage, to help the reader see inside the man. A historian must tread gently in the controversial field of psycho-history.Read more ›
Mr. Moreman starts off with a decent biography. The reader learns that his mother was very disciplinary and controlling, he did not have much of a life outside of the military and how he had trouble relating to people, among other things such as where he studied, his experiences in combat in the First World War and his experience in staff positions. The background on the mother and his problems with associating with people were of considerable importance considering, at least in Mr.Read more ›