Magazine article The Spectator

Under the Influence of Mars

Magazine article The Spectator

Under the Influence of Mars

Article excerpt

CAPTAIN PROFESSOR : A LIFE IN WAR AND PEACE by Michael Howard Continuum, £19.99, pp. 221, ISBN 0826491251 . £15.99 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655

It is no surprise that Michael Howard after winning distinction as an infantry officer and subsequently as the leading military historian with no previous inclination to either profession should have written an autobiography that might serve as a model in this department of literature. Partly this is because he is such a brilliant writer.

Succinct, exact, candid, without the least degree of conceit or artificiality, he commands the reader's confidence and sympathy without ever embarrassing him. He never tells us too much or suppresses anything that might be held to discredit him.

He is generous to others, but not indiscriminately, and, where he cares to, he is a skilful portraitist. No better sketch has been made of Keith Feiling and his selfdeprecating charm as a tutor. His account of front-line soldiering in Italy is striking because of its truth to life and its candour.

The extraordinary success of his subsequent academic career is presented with a deceptive scepticism and a marked emphasis on the elements of chance and good luck that he would have us believe account for it. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.