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Brigadier Allan Mallinson was a serving cavalry officer. Besides the Matthew Hervey series, he is the author of Light Dragoons, a history of four regiments of British Cavalry, one of which he commanded, and a regular reviewer for The Times and the Spectator.
Allan Mallinson’s six previous novels featuring Matthew Hervey - A Close Run Thing, The Nizam’s Daughters, A Regimental Affair, A Call to Arms, and The Sabre’s Edge and Rumours of War, which were Sunday Times Bestsellers - are all available in Bantam paperback.
'War is too important to be left to the generals' snapped future French prime minister Georges Clemenceau on learning of yet another bloody and futile offensive on the Western Front. One of the great questions in the ongoing discussions and debate about the First World War is why did winning take so long and exact so appalling a human cost? After all this was a fight that, we were told, would be over by Christmas. Now, in his major new history, Allan Mallinson, former professional soldier and author of the acclaimed 1914: Fight the Good Fight, provides answers that are disturbing as well as controversial, and have a contemporary resonance. He disputes the growing consensus among historians that British generals were not to blame for the losses and setbacks in the 'war to end all wars' - that, given the magnitude of their task, they did as well anyone could have. He takes issue with the popular view that the 'amateur' opinions on strategy of politicians such as Lloyd George and, especially, Winston Churchill, prolonged the war and increased the death toll. On the contrary, he argues, even before the war began Churchill had a far more realistic, intelligent and humane grasp of strategy than any of the admirals or generals, while very few senior officers - including Sir Douglas Haig - were up to the intellectual challenge of waging war on this scale. And he repudiates the received notion that Churchill's stature as a wartime prime minister after 1940 owes much to the lessons he learned from his First World War 'mistakes' - notably the Dardanelles campaign - maintaining that in fact Churchill's achievement in the Second World War owes much to the thwarting of his better strategic judgement by the 'professionals' in the First - and his determination that this would not be repeated. Mallinson argues that from day one of the war Britain was wrong-footed by absurdly faulty French military doctrine and paid, as a result, an unnecessarily high price in casualties. He shows that Lloyd George understood only too well the catastrophically dysfunctional condition of military policy-making and struggled against the weight of military opposition to fix it. And he asserts that both the British and the French failed to appreciate what the Americans' contribution to victory could be - and, after the war, to acknowledge fully what it had actually been.
'No part of the Great War compares in interest with its opening', wrote Churchill. 'The measured, silent drawing together of gigantic forces, the uncertainty of their movements and positions, the number of unknown and unknowable facts made the first collision a drama never surpassed.in fact the War was decided in the first twenty days of fighting, and all that happened afterwards consisted in battles which, however formidable and devastating, were but desperate and vain appeals against the decision of fate.' On of Britain's foremost military historians and defence experts tackles the origins - and the opening first few weeks of fighting - of what would become known as 'the war to end all wars'. Intensely researched and convincingly argued, Allan Mallinson explores and explains the grand strategic shift that occurred in the century before the war, the British Army's regeneration after its drubbings in its fight against the Boer in South Africa, its almost calamitous experience of the first twenty days' fighting in Flanders to the point at which the British Expeditionary Force - the 'Old Contemptibles' - took up the spade in the middle of September 1914: for it was then that the war changed from one of rapid and brutal movement into the more familiar vision of trench warfare on Western Front. In this vivid, compelling new history, Malliinson brings his experience as a professional soldier to bear on the circumstances, events, actions and individuals and speculates - tantalizingly - on what might have been...
The sixth in his Matthew Hervey series, he of the Sixth Light Dragoons who now returns to the Peninsula in 1826 where the Spanish threaten and Hervey remembers his first taste of military action when he was a young cornet. This is well written, thrilling, adventure stuff packed with detail and incident. Comparisons: Patrick O’Brian, Bernard Cornwell, Julian Stockwin.Similar this month: Gerald Seymour.
India, 1816 Fresh from the field of Waterloo, Matthew Hervey is dispatched on a mission of the utmost secrecy. Leaving behind his fiancee, Lady Henrietta Lindsey, he must journey across tempestuous seas to India, an alien, exotic and beguiling land that will test his mettle to the very limit. For the princely state of Chintal is threatened both by intrigue from within and military might from without, and Hervey - sabre in hand - finds he is once more destined for the field of battle... 'Captain Hervey of the 6th Light Dragoons and ADC to the Duke of Wellington is back in the saddle ...He is as fascinating on horseback as Jack Aubrey is on the quarterdeck.'The Times
Waterloo, 1815 As the war against Bonaparte rages to its bloody end upon the field of Waterloo, a young officer goes about his duty in the ranks of Wellington's army. He is Cornet Matthew Hervey of the 6th Light Dragoons - a soldier, gentleman and man or honour, who suddenly finds himself allotted a hero's role ... Momentous times call for momentous acts: as the Napoleonic Wars escalate, Cornet Hervey faces decisions, both military and romantic, which will change the course of his life, and possibly the outcome of Waterloo... 'I have never read a more enthralling account of a battle ... This is the first in a series of Matthew Hervey adventures. The next can't come soon enough for me' Daily Mail
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