On The Psychology Of Military Incompetence

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Random House, 2011 M09 30 - 448 pages

This unique and penetrating book surveys 100 years of military inefficiency from the Crimean War, through the Boer conflict, to the disasterous campaigns of the First World War and the calamities of the Second. It examines the social psychology of military organizations, provides case studies of individual commanders and identifies an alarming pattern in the causes of military disaster.

Absorbing and original, this is the definitive history of military failures.

 

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User Review  - christineplouvier - LibraryThing

Fascinating brief analyses of the personalities who were responsible for the worst military disasters in history. Just a little bit dated, in the Freudian part (1976 edition in paperback). Read full review

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Many of the ethos and customs followed in the Indian Army even today can be traced to the leagacy left by the British. In fact , the Royal Indian Military College ( now renamed Rashtriya Indian Military College) was fashioned on the lines of Sandhurst Military School. No wonder that the products of RIMC who later became commissioned officers in the Indian Army , imbibed the very same qualities and even tried to out do the British. As a veteran of the Indian Army, i would suggest that this book must be made a compulsory reading for all officers of the Indian Army who aspire to reach the ranks of Brigadiers and above.  

Contents

Introduction
17
Generalship
27
The Crimean
36
The Boer
52
Indian Interlude
68
The First World
80
Cambrai
86
The Siege of
95
Military Achievement
238
Authoritarianism
256
Mothers of Incompetence
280
Education and the Cult of Muscular Christianity
288
PART THREE
303
Extremes of Authoriunanism
309
27
318
Exceptions to the Rule?
354

Between thc Wars
123
Singapore
130
Arnhem
145
ls Thcrc a Case to Answer?
169
Bullshit
176
Character and Honour
196
Leaders of
214
Retreat
393
AFTEIWORD
405
52
423
BIBLIOGRAPHY
424
80
433
IND EX
440
95
441

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About the author (2011)

Dr Norman F. Dixon, M.B.E., Fellow of the British Psychological Society, was Professor Emeritus of Psychology at University College London.

After ten years' commission in the Royal Engineers, during which time he was wounded ('largely through my own incompetence'), Professor Dixon left the Army in 1950 and entered university where he obtained a first-class degree in Psychology. He received the degrees of Doctor of Philosophy in 1956 and Doctor of Science in 1972, and in 1974 was awarded the University of London Carpenter Medal 'for work of exceptional distinction in Experimental Psychology'. He held an honorary doctorate from the University of Lund.

His other books include: Preconscious Processing, Subliminal Perception: the nature of a controversy, which was described by Professor George Westby as 'one of the most substantial works of British psychology of recent years', and Our Own Worst Enemy, which New Society praised as 'an elegant play on man's chaotic nature...diverse and arresting'.

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