Alanbrooke fought with the artillery in World War I, conducted his corps in the retreat from Dunkirk with exemplary calm and courage, and longed to fight again. But the moment Churchill selected him as Chief of the Imperial General Staff in November 1941 he became indispensible in Whitehall, the one man who could never be spared for more spectacular undertakings. David Fraser recounts his life and career.
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‘Alanbrooke,’ wrote General MacArthur, ‘is undoubtedly the greatest soldier that England has produced since Wellington.’ He fought with the artillery in the First World War, had a brilliant career as a peacetime soldier, and conducted his Corps with exemplary calm and courage in the retreat to Dunkirk. In November 1941 Churchill selected him as Chief of the Imperial General Staff, and from that moment he became indispensable in Whitehall, the one man who could never be spared for the more spectacular feats of war on the battlefield which he longed to undertake.
Alanbrooke was the master strategist of the British military effort. His partnership with Churchill – the statesman’s imagination and inspired energy perfectly complementing the soldier’s clarity of mind and unflinching realism – was often turbulent, yet endlessly fruitful. Under his chairmanship the Chiefs of Staff became the most efficient machine for the conduct of war which Britain, perhaps the world, had ever seen. His influence in the shaping of global strategy was immeasurable.
David Fraser, himself a soldier of distinction, describes Alanbrooke’s monumental career with lucidity and vigour. Witty, polished and perceptive, this acclaimed, definitive biography catches his personality and brings him triumphantly alive. It is a book worthy of its great subject.
“A work which puts David Fraser among the great soldier-writers, who make you tingle as you read, and sometimes also make you weep with pride”
JOHN TERRAINE, 'Daily Telegraph'
“Excellent … full of military wisdom and shrewd assessments”
PHILIP WARNER, 'Spectator'
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