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Steven Broomfield

Ironside biography

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Steven Broomfield

I'm quite tempted by THIS biography of Field Marshal the 1st Baron Ironside.

 

Has anyone read it - any thoughts?

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clive_hughes

Steven,

I read it preparatory to guiding an informal group of friends at Vimy Ridge last year, which included a relative of his. 

 

A substantial enough volume, I found it quite interesting; though I'd have liked to know the thoughts of others about some of the assertions made - eg. his apparent claim to be the de facto commander of 4th Canadian Division; that he had to pull some chestnuts out of the fire as regards getting a senior officer sober enough to attack The Pimple on day 3 of Vimy; and that it was his direct suggestion that launched the Arras counter-stroke in May 1940.  I expect that the difficulties inherent with any authorised biography are that the sources and final product are more tightly controlled than in an independently-produced piece of research and writing.  It doesn't, however, have the air either of a hagiography or a whitewashing exercise.    

 

It's a good read, and I was also surprised to learn that he had served as a British intelligence officer after the Boer War, leading a double life as a Boer waggoner in order to infiltrate the German forces in the Herero War of 1903-04 (he was even awarded the German campaign medal!).  It was also stated that he was likely the model for Richard Hannay in The 39 Steps.  Most of the book in terms of its size deals with the post-WW1 era and the various promotions to higher command, and the problems (political and military) he experienced between the North Russian campaign and the BEF 1939-40.  

 

I knew little about this General before I tackled this volume, and felt much better informed in consequence.  

 

Clive

Edited by clive_hughes
grammar!

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Steven Broomfield

Clive: thanks. I appreciate the review and may well invest. If it now falls short of expectation I will probably not hold you responsible.

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clive_hughes

If you press ahead (or indeed, if anyone else reading this thread does so) then let us know your thoughts on the volume.  By the way, you will be delighted to know that my book royalties this year amounted to a staggering £7.20 !

 

Clive

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Steven Broomfield
37 minutes ago, clive_hughes said:

  By the way, you will be delighted to know that my book royalties this year amounted to a staggering £7.20 !

 

Clive

 

Oh dear. My commission is going to take a lot of that, particularly if you put the packet of crisps in something that will protect them in the post.

 

Joking aside, it is a book which deserves a wider readership.

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