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Haig: The Evolution of a Commander (Potomac…

Haig: The Evolution of a Commander (Potomac Books' Military Profiles…

by Andrew Wiest

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“Haig: The Evolution of a Commander” by Andrew A. Wiest, essentially an extended treatise on Douglas Haig, is my sixth military biography from the presses of Potomac Books. Mr. Wiest attempts to resurrect the exceedingly tarnished often maligned image of Douglas Haig the British expeditionary Force commander during World War One. Granted Mr. Wiest makes some cogent arguments, places Haig in a good light and does away with common misconceptions. However, this reader simply cannot overlook the catastrophic casualty rates Haig was responsible for, even though likewise commanders suffered counts just as high if not more. Overall an excellent military profile and but definitely a tough stance to defend. ( )
  BruderBane | Jan 16, 2009 |
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"Historians consider Douglas Haig one of the most controversial military leader in British history. Today his career is at the center of a swirling debate concerning the nature of the First World War. The traditional school contends that, like the majority of generals from both sides, he was an overmatched, hidebound relic of a bygone military age who could not come to grips with modern war. Such men allegedly sent their soldiers "over the top" in pointless attacks, with a criminal disregard for the enormous cost in lives. A new revisionist school now contends that many Great War leaders, including Haig, stood at the center of a phenomenal period of military innovation, one that laid the foundations for modern warfare. This learning curve led from the killing fields of the Somme to the protoblitzkrieg tactics of the Hundred Days Battles." "Haig had achieved a measure of fame in Britain's colonial wars and began the First World War as a corps commander. He obtained command of the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) in France in 1915. Under his leadership, the BEF fought its two signature battles of the war at the Somme and Passchendaele, earning him a reputation as a "butcher and bungler." The slaughter at the Somme and the muddy hell of Passchendaele forever tarnished his reputation; however, as Andrew Wiest points out, in 1918 Haig proved instrumental in winning one of the greatest victories in British military history. While the Hundred Days Battles often go unnoticed or unappreciated in the history of the First World War, obscured as they were by the failures of earlier campaigns, here modern war came of age. Haig's role in that transformation makes him the central figure of the war on the Western Front."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

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