Douglas Haig's career is at the center of a debate concerning the nature of the Great War. Traditionalists contend that, like the majority of general from both sides, he was a hidebound relic of a bygone age who could not come to grips with modern war and sent his soldiers "over the top" in futile attacks, with a criminal disregard for the enormous cost in lives. Indeed, under Haig's leadership, the British Expeditionary Force fought its two signature battles of the war at the Somme and Passchendaele, earning him a reputation as a "butcher and bungler." A revisionist school now contends that wartime leaders, including Haig, inaugurated a phenomenal period of innovation, one that laid the foundations for modern warfare. This learning curve led from the killing fields of the Somme to the protoblitzkrieg tactics of the Hundred Days Battles. While the Hundred Days Battles often go unnoticed or unappreciated in the history of World War I, obscured as they were by the failures of earlier campaigns, here modern war came of age. Haig's role in that transformation makes him the central figure of the war on the western front.
About the Author
Andrew Wiest, Ph.D., is a professor of history at the University of Southern Mississippi and was Visiting Senior Lecturer, War Studies Department, Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst. He is the author of numerous books, including Passchendaele and the Royal Navy. He lives in Hattiesburg, Mississippi.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
¿Haig: The Evolution of a Commander¿ by Andrew A. Wiest, essentially an extended treatise on Douglas Haig, is my sixth military biography from the presses of Potomac Books. Mr. Wiest attempts to resurrect the exceedingly tarnished often maligned image of Douglas Haig the British expeditionary Force commander during World War One. Granted Mr. Wiest makes some cogent arguments, places Haig in a good light and does away with common misconceptions. However, this reader simply cannot overlook the catastrophic casualty rates Haig was responsible for, even though likewise commanders suffered counts just as high if not more. Overall an excellent military profile and but definitely a tough stance to defend.