Douglas Haig: The Educated Soldier - John TerraineLondon: Hutchinson, 1963, Hardback in Dust Wrapper.
Condition: Very Good — in Very Good Dust Wrapper. A little wear to the edges of the dust wrapper. Related newspaper clippings pasted onto the first blank and pastedown. The contents complete, clean and tight otherwise.
Includes: Plans of battle; Black & white photographs; Maps; Frontispiece portrait;
From the cover: “This book — the product of intensive study of published and unpublished material, and of conversation with witnesses of the great events involved — is not a straightforward biography of Douglas Haig: it is a detailed reassessment — in moral, political, strategic and tactical terms — of his achievement as Commander-in-Chief of the British Expeditionary Force in World War One. Haig’s youth is touched on insofar as it explains the soldier he became; his family life, which was a happy one, falls outside the scope of this book, as does his work in founding the British Legion. It is upon the central period of his public life, when the lives of thousands and the fate of a nation depended on his judgement, that John Terraine has concentrated his attention.
Haig has been called stupid, unimaginative, callous, a snobbish and ambitious intriguer, by critics who, lacking information, biased by conflicting interests, or swayed by emotions aroused by the holocaust of the War, have made of a military leader a scapegoat for the tragedy of a generation. In Mr. Terraine, Haig has found an advocate who, through the force of his arguments and the weight of his evidence, proves the Field-Marshal to have been none of these things: but a soldier who, though not free from faults, possessed to a degree not found in any other man of his time the foresight, the courage and, above all, the military education successfully to wage a war fought on a scale never before experienced, with weapons and methods never before tried.
In military parlance the word ‘educated’ has definite but subtle connotations. It is used to describe a soldier who takes his work seriously, who studies it from all aspects, who above all has the mind, as well as the aspiration, to think an issue through for himself, from first to last. The reading, the battlefield experience and so forth are taken for granted. The educated soldier is one who has learned and will put into practice all those lessons and many more. By such exacting standards Haig was indeed educated. He learned, and was willing to go on learning, throughout the War.
Great offensives which are part of the personal history of many readers are vividly and meticulously portrayed in these pages; but always in the centre of the picture is the man whose responsibility they were, and the reader comes to understand the struggles which took place at levels too high to be appreciated by the man in the trench, but so important and so fogged with controversy that they still provoke passionate argument today. Haig’s ‘relations with Lloyd George; with Robertson; with the King and with the Allied commanders: these are among the points upon which this book throws a brilliant and searching light.
Douglas Haig: The Educated Soldier is a worthy tribute to a noble and tragic figure; and it is an outstanding contribution to the study of military history.”