Field-Marshal Sir Claude Auchinleck died in Marrakesh in 1981, aged 96. With him died a tradition of service and a concept of honour obsolescent even in his own time. Raised in near poverty and schooled in the Indian army, "The Auk" was the first British commander of the Second World War to defeat a German general in battle. That general was Rommel and the battle was First Alamein in 1942. And yet Auchinleck's reward for stemming the Axis advance on Egypt was to be dismissed by Churchill, and it is Montgomery's victory at Second Alamein which is remembered as one of the turning points of the war. An apparently austere individual, Auchinleck was nonetheless a soldier's soldier, never one to complain about his lot. But he was a complex man, and his career was not without its share of controversy, either in the desert or later, when he returned to India as commander-in-chief during the turbulent days of Partition. Philip Warner's scrupulous biography determinedly reclaims Auchinleck for posterity and affords an insight into a remarkable man.
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Philip Warner served in the Far East and was a senior lecturer at the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst. He is the author of many books, including biographies of Kitchener, Haig and Horrocks and histories of the First and Second World Wars.
Auchinleck: The Lonely Soldier by Philip Warner
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Orion Publishing Co
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