Strachan, Hew.


Oxford, 1st ed., 1997. X + 311 pp. D.j., 22 x 14cm. Covers slightly cocked & a little light marking to edges o/w Nr.FINE. The British Army, unlike some other armies, has never staged a coup d’etat. As a result, it has prided itself on its ready subordination to parliamentary government, portraying its nature as essentially apolitical. The reality is very different. Armies are inherently political entities, embedded in the fabric of the state, and innately involved in the formation and implementation of policy. The history of the British Army shows that it is no exception. The behaviour of many of its most illustrious commanders, including Marlborough, Wellington, Wolseley, and Roberts, as well as more recent figures like Henry Wilson, William Robertson, and Gerald Templer, gives the lie to any strict demarcation between military and political spheres of responsibility. This is a work of history but it has a profound contemporary relevance. The author argues that if the British Army were to become genuinely apolitical – to practice what it preaches – it would be a less effective contributor to the management of Britain’s defence. Published by the Clarendon Press. SCARCE.

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