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Generalship: Its Diseases And Their Cure: A Study Of The Personal Factor In Command

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This short study, long out of print, presents Fuller's devastating criticism of British general officers based on his WWI and post-war experience both as a general himself and as a long-time general staff officer. It came out in 1932 and he was put on the retired list a year later. The key to his analysis is, per the subtitle, is the lack of a personal element in the moder This short study, long out of print, presents Fuller's devastating criticism of British general officers based on his WWI and post-war experience both as a general himself and as a long-time general staff officer. It came out in 1932 and he was put on the retired list a year later. The key to his analysis is, per the subtitle, is the lack of a personal element in the modern general's command style. The telephone-mad "Blimps" in their Gilbert & Sullivan chateux have been replaced by commanders micromanaging from wars from offices a world away. Fuller is as relevant as ever.


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This short study, long out of print, presents Fuller's devastating criticism of British general officers based on his WWI and post-war experience both as a general himself and as a long-time general staff officer. It came out in 1932 and he was put on the retired list a year later. The key to his analysis is, per the subtitle, is the lack of a personal element in the moder This short study, long out of print, presents Fuller's devastating criticism of British general officers based on his WWI and post-war experience both as a general himself and as a long-time general staff officer. It came out in 1932 and he was put on the retired list a year later. The key to his analysis is, per the subtitle, is the lack of a personal element in the modern general's command style. The telephone-mad "Blimps" in their Gilbert & Sullivan chateux have been replaced by commanders micromanaging from wars from offices a world away. Fuller is as relevant as ever.

30 review for Generalship: Its Diseases And Their Cure: A Study Of The Personal Factor In Command

  1. 4 out of 5

    Terence

    Reading this extended essay, I can easily see why Fuller's military career came to a screeching halt post publication. He takes the high commands of every army in the Great War to task for what he sees as a catastrophic failure of command, and warns against the increasingly coarse conduct of war that is turning the modern army (c. 1935) into a soulless machine indiscriminating murdering soldier and civilian. It's that last concern that sets Fuller apart from the usual, technical critique of gene Reading this extended essay, I can easily see why Fuller's military career came to a screeching halt post publication. He takes the high commands of every army in the Great War to task for what he sees as a catastrophic failure of command, and warns against the increasingly coarse conduct of war that is turning the modern army (c. 1935) into a soulless machine indiscriminating murdering soldier and civilian. It's that last concern that sets Fuller apart from the usual, technical critique of generalship. It's not enough that a general be competent and a good leader but the army he leads must be correctly motivated. Fuller is "old school" -- steeped in the values of the Enlightenment and republican government latterly shat upon by modern and post-modern critics. But its that in-many-ways-admirable tradition that allows him to justify the soldier's role in a democratic republic and to write: "(War are) (n)ot `the rage of a barbarian wolf-flock,' not wars begotten by bankers, squabbling merchants or jealous politicians but wars of self-defence. `To such war as this,' he (Ruskin) says, `all men are born; in such war as this any man may happily die; and out of such war as this have arisen throughout the extent of past ages, all the highest sanctities and virtues of humanity.'" (p. 26) Later in the essay, Fuller laments the emergence of the "general staff." While the complexities of modern warfare make such an institution inevitable, the form it's taken turns command into a depersonalized matter of paper shuffling, further dehumanizing and brutalizing an already inhuman and brutal occupation. (pp. 67f.) The primary lesson to be drawn for the general is to be flexible. It's all well and good to have routines and chains of command but a successful general can adapt tactics and procedures to meet new conditions ("thinking outside the box," in modern idiom). This is a theme both Fuller and Liddell-Hart emphasize in their biographies of great military leaders (Scipio Africanus or Alexander, for example). For the military historian or armchair strategist, this should be an interesting read, particularly in light of Fuller's clear-eyed perception of the increasing brutality and destructiveness of war, evidence for which is all around us today in the daily dispatches from Iraq, Afghanistan or the Occupied Territories, where the dehumanizing and coarsening tendencies are exhibited in horrifying detail. Three additional plusses for this book: 1. It's public domain - I downloaded an HTML version for nothing from Internet Archive (http://www.archive.org/index.php). 2. It's less than 100 pages long. 3. It's a pleasure to read simply because of the cultured and erudite tone of the prose. It is to be mourned that no one can aspire to such eloquence today.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Dale

    Quick read. Not really a book, more of a treatise of less than 50 pages. In this addition the foreword is blistering and not sure it adds context to the topic but seeks to show relevance. It is interesting in the fact that as military formations have grown and modernized Generals have become more distant from the troops they lead and older.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Razeeb

    Even after these many years.....he is relevant.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Jens

    It reproaches the modern evolution wherein the commander moves away from the front and becomes less heroic to be the 'end of generalship'. In my opinion, this view is outdaded, as John Keegan nicely demonstrates in The Mask of Command. However, his ideas on how generals should me more original, responsible, tested during exercises and periodically to demonstrate their ability are refreshing still. To transfer the old, peace-time commanders to training and reserves upon declaration of war and to It reproaches the modern evolution wherein the commander moves away from the front and becomes less heroic to be the 'end of generalship'. In my opinion, this view is outdaded, as John Keegan nicely demonstrates in The Mask of Command. However, his ideas on how generals should me more original, responsible, tested during exercises and periodically to demonstrate their ability are refreshing still. To transfer the old, peace-time commanders to training and reserves upon declaration of war and to instate younger, highpotential, periodically trained commanders is an entertaining thought as well.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Darrell E.

    This a pretty fast read. I started reading this sometime this afternoon and finished it this evening with other events thrown in. It is a good discourse on where leaders (in this case generals) should be on the battlefield, what they should concern themselves with in battle and what they should be. It isn't he most academic book on the subject but it is worth the read because it makes you consider yourself in the past and in the future. This a pretty fast read. I started reading this sometime this afternoon and finished it this evening with other events thrown in. It is a good discourse on where leaders (in this case generals) should be on the battlefield, what they should concern themselves with in battle and what they should be. It isn't he most academic book on the subject but it is worth the read because it makes you consider yourself in the past and in the future.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Mannix Nyiam ii

    An easy 4-hours read on the waning element of the personal factor of generalship in relationship to the complexities of modern warfare. Though written before WW2, some of the solutions to generalship the author proposes as still valid. However, other solutions will be difficult to implement in the modern context if not impossible.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Prof

    Great book but poor copy This is a fantastic book! I can see why it would appeal to General George Patton. However, this edition is a disgrace, obviously complied using OCR without the benefit of anyone reading it carefully prior to publication. I would not recommend purchase of this edition, unless and until the publisher cleans up numerous annoying mistakes.

  8. 5 out of 5

    andre bosier

    Coaches must read! This book you not only reveals the sedentary lifestyle of generals, it also speaks to that of coaches as well. Coaches must take the center stage in front of athletes and physically and mentally lead them. Action, not words only.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Annm

    absolutely a wonderful read. If you've spent anytime near military staffs, you recognize what this author says aout the,. The book dates from before WWII, but it is still dead on accurate. absolutely a wonderful read. If you've spent anytime near military staffs, you recognize what this author says aout the,. The book dates from before WWII, but it is still dead on accurate.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Phil Geusz

    Tried to read Kindle version-- seller entered file improperly, unreadable.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Robert

  12. 5 out of 5

    Charles

  13. 5 out of 5

    Rayhana Khanom

  14. 5 out of 5

    JohnnyB

  15. 4 out of 5

    Ray Bonner

  16. 5 out of 5

    Misouri1982

  17. 4 out of 5

    Abhi

  18. 5 out of 5

    Craig Falk

  19. 5 out of 5

    Moses

  20. 5 out of 5

    David

  21. 4 out of 5

    Ashiq Zaman

  22. 5 out of 5

    Joseph

  23. 4 out of 5

    Shari

  24. 5 out of 5

    Eric Walters

  25. 4 out of 5

    Adam Elkus

  26. 4 out of 5

    Patrick Swan

  27. 4 out of 5

    Jamal Abisourour

  28. 5 out of 5

    Fred Sizemore

  29. 5 out of 5

    Malquiviades

  30. 4 out of 5

    Jose Vega

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