Callwell, Major-General Sir C. E.


2 Volumes. 1st eds., 1927. Vol. I : Xiii + 364 pp., frontis., + 7 photo-plates. Vol. II : Vii + 390 pp., frontis., + 7 photo-plates. Both Vols. : Uniformly bound in ¼ black cloth ; ¾ green cloth ; gilt armorial to front of both vols. ; gilt titles to spines ; 23 x 15cm. Some marks to covers ; split to 1 lower joint at rear ; some wear to hinges but all holding ; internal foxing in places with an occasional pencil annotation ; owner’s stamp to f.e.p.’s o/w GOOD +. Field-Marshal Sir Henry Wilson was by far the most astute and many-sided of the small band of British soldiers who rose to fame during World War I but after such popularity during his lifetime, he became the most thoroughly maligned public figure of the period after his death. He became portrayed as a "political general" – a ruthless wirepuller whose irresponsible ambition embroiled Britain in the First World War without a sound strategic plan, and who later conspired with Lloyd George to get himself made Chief of the Imperial Staff and (unsuccessfully) to oust Sir Douglas Haig. In fact, however, Wilson was not only one of the most selfless of public men but by far the ablest British soldier of his day – a brilliant military thinker whose tactical insight as a youngish brigade major in South Africa came near averting the disaster of Spion Kop. He was always a power to be reckoned with. As a staff officer his services to his country were outstanding: the efficiency of the BEF of 1914 owed much to him and he was CIGS through the fateful months of 1918. However, as a soldier forever meddling in politics, he did much damage. In 1922, as a newly-elected Ulster MP rapidly assuming leadership of the reactionary Conservative right-wing, he passionately believed that Ireland must be re-conquered, the Empire "held", Britain "governed". And to him the government of Britain "rested on the bayonets of the soldiers". Sir Henry Wilson was an inveterate diarist who wrote only for himself and extracts from these diaries are included in this biography that covers his life from his early days through to his tragic assassination. Two volume set.

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