cover image Montgomery: Lessons in Leadership From the Soldier's General

Montgomery: Lessons in Leadership From the Soldier's General

Trevor Royle, intro. by Gen. Wesley Clark. Palgrave Macmillan, $22 (224p) ISBN 978-0-230-61489-5

Royle, an editor at The Sunday Herald, curiously chose Bernard Law Montgomery for Palgrave's World Generals series. Monty had two big successes: he took over a disheartened British Eighth army in North Africa, binged them up%E2%80%94one of Montgomery's favorite terms%E2%80%94and gave the Allies their first major victories over the Nazis at El Alamein, defeating Field Marshal Irwin Rommel. Montgomery also played a key role in defeating the Nazis in the Battle of the Bulge. But Montgomery was also a highly flawed military leader. Few American generals could stand his arrogance and egotism and it took all of Eisenhower's tact to keep him in line. In Sicily, Montgomery overrated the capacity of his own troops and underrated that of the Americans. Montgomery's tendency to over-plan also led to lost opportunities. Royle races through Montgomery's life and battles, often trying to excuse Montgomery's bad behavior or bad press. Other than Montgomery's fame for inspiring his own soldiers, Royle finds few leadership lessons (aside from, perhaps, what not to do). Montgomery was a more fascinating figure than this volume can capture. (Dec.)