The Plain Cook and The Great Showman: The First and Eighth Armies in North Africa - Gregory BlaxlandAbingdon: Purnell Book Services, 1977, Hardback in Dust Wrapper.
Condition: Very Good — in Good+ Dust Wrapper. Gently faded at the spine of the dust wrapper with a vertical crease/scuff the length of the lower panel, a decent copy otherwise.
Contains: Black & white photographs; Maps; List of sources; Appendices ;
From the cover: “Underlying the Allied struggle for Tunis was the contrast in personalities between the commanders of the First and Eighth Armies — Generals Anderson and Montgomery. Although Anderson was a sound tactician, he was over-burdened by anxiety and lacked the ability to project himself, but the author shows that the description attributed to him as a good plain cook was not altogether justifiable, pointing to his fortitude, foresight, and his loyalty to his C.-in-C., General Eisenhower. Montgomery, on the other hand, is presented as the great showman, and the author believes that his sense of the theatrical was his greatest asset, in that it primed his men with the self-confidence that made them invincible. But he explodes the myth that Montgomery would never put their lives to unnecessary risk.
This book describes the convergent progress of the two armies, the First under Anderson and the Eighth under Montgomery. It gives detailed and vivid descriptions of all the battles from Alamein to the great climax of the junction and the sensational breakthrough to Tunis. It includes the first detailed account of the First Army’s initial attempt on Tunis and tells of the gallant attempts to overcome the handicaps imposed by faulty planning.
The author has drawn on all available sources, war diaries, histories, and the accounts given him privately by participants. He himself served in the Tunisian campaign as an infantry officer, and his story is enlivened by sympathy for fellow sufferers and by the joy felt in the final triumph.”