Le bon général ordinaire and le grand chef

January 31 2015

Montgomery of Alamein interviewed by Bernard Levin, January 24 1966, I suppose BBC. Levin has a piece about him in the first volume, Taking Sides, Jonathan Cape, 1979, of his collected journalism.

Monty must already have been working on A History of Warfare, Collins, 1968, where we’ll find examples, missing here – except that Caesar was ordinaire. And who is the inaudible grand chef? Marlborough, who never lost a battle? Even Monty lost at Arnhem. Eisenhower was presumably a grand chef with whom Montgomery disagreed, or was he a mere général ordinaire?

The head of the research team for that book, Alan Howarth, was my favourite history teacher at school. Which is the excuse for this post. He was directly responsible for the abridgement, A Concise History of Warfare, Collins, 1972.

3 Responses to “Le bon général ordinaire and le grand chef”

  1. davidderrick Says:

    My older teachers had fought in the war. A Latin teacher, dear old Ted Craven, as Tom Utley calls him, hardly ever taught Latin, but talked about the Navy. Wasn’t he in the Malta convoys? I wish I had listened.

  2. davidderrick Says:

    Was it clever of the French to divide generals into ordinary and great?

  3. davidderrick Says:

    A strange man. Monty in Love and War, 1987 documentary by his biographer Nigel Hamilton, first of six clips:


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