Despatches from the Front

Posted on by Jonathan Beckman

Richard Holmes’s popular histories of the British army – Redcoat, Tommy, and Sahib – and his television War Walks, in which he recounts with enthusiasm and wryness the army’s battles, have established him, alongside the cerebral Sir John Keegan and Oxford’s Professor Hew Strachan, as one of the country’s leading military historians. As a military […]

After The Bomb

Posted on by Jonathan Beckman

According to the author, American Shogun is an attempt to weave the lives of two leaders, General Douglas MacArthur and Emperor Hirohito of Japan, into a single narrative ‘told from both sides’. Readers, he says, should judge whether he has succeeded. It was never likely to be an easy assignment. MacArthur left behind him a […]

He on Honey-Dew Hath Fed

Posted on by Jonathan Beckman

On a programme on political diarists the other evening on Radio 4, it was remarked that in a century or so people will only know Cabinet ministers like Geoffrey Howe through the prism of Alan Clark’s diaries. The priapic fancier of Margaret Thatcher’s ankles might have been a smaller man politically, but history – through […]

A Model of the Old School

Posted on by Jonathan Beckman

Because Field Marshal Lord Wavell was removed from two very important posts – the Commandership-in-Chief of the Middle East and the Viceroyalty of India – he has gone down in history as an overall failure. This sympathetic biography goes some way towards redressing this harsh verdict, especially concerning the Indian part of his career.

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