The Making of the British Army, by Allen Mallinson

Discussion in 'The Book Club' started by jim24, May 30, 2011.

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  1. jim24

    jim24 Book Reviewer

    The Making of the British Army
    From The English Civil War to the War on Terror

    Author Allan Mallinson

    Bantum Books


    £9.99 in Paperback

    ARRSE score 5 out of 5


    The Making of the British Army is Allan Mallinson's fascinating narrative of what has made the British Army what it is over the last four hundred years, he is author of the history of "The Light Dragoons" the regiment he once commanded and the very successful "Mathew Hervey" series of books about a fictional member of his old regiment in the Napoleonic Wars, he has also contributed on defence in a number of other publications and television news programs.

    But this is in my humble opinion Colonel Mallinson's finest work to date,starting at the Battle of Naseby it gives a brilliant account of not only the history of the Army, but also the main characters who have formed, supported, fought in,and against, the British Army through four hundred years of almost continuous warfare, It goes quite deeply into how the Army has developed since the Civil War until the current war on terrorism .

    Starting with Cromwell's Idea for a professional "New Model" army instead of the old Feudal system it tells how the army evolved through training and discipline into the force that was the envy of Europe, only to be stabbed in the back by government again and again, "the British Soldier can stand against anything ,except the British War Office" said George Bernard Shaw , an Oh boy was he right.
    The Author's description of the Army of Marlborough, and Wellington. their tactics, methods of supply and training ect, are incredible and he clearly has done a vast amount of research into this, and used this information in his other works to good effect.

    The analysis of the various leaders from the generals of the Civil War through Marlborough, Cumberland, Wellington, Kitchener, and Haige,to Tim Collins and Dave Richards make very interesting reading indeed, and he brings up a number of quips that only a member of the military hierarchy would ever know, I had no Idea that General Urquhart's daughter was married to Sir Menzies Campbell of the ConLib government , in fact all through this book there are these fascinating little pieces of information, about the great and good, their families, and in some cases not so good, major figures of British army history

    The story of how famous regiments got there names and tradition is fascinating and the author really knows at great depth the idiosyncrasy's of the army, his explanation of how the regiments of the Line where initially made up and how they have been carried on until today, most certainly was in some cases news to me and this book is very well referenced and notated.


    It is just as well that Allan Mallinson has retired as this book really shows who have caused the problems for the defence of the realm over the last four hundred years, but his no holds barred account of just how the Labour government Defence ministers were almost in a rotating door situation with one year having five incompetent incumbents. is most enlightening.

    This is a really great book, although you can't really call it a history, it is the best account of what the British Army was, is, and will be, that I have yet to read and I most certainly recommend it to fellow ARRSEers

    Jim 24
     
  2. I concur with everything said above. Brilliant book, well worth the read.
     
  3. I finished reading this book last night. It was an excellent, absorbing read. I was amused by the (very well founded, apparently) allegation that when Blair became PM he believed that the strength of the SAS was 4,000.