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  • Sep 17, 2014
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Someone Has Blundered - Calamities of the British Army in the Victorian Age

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 01 April, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 01 April, 2007, 12:00am

Someone Has Blundered - Calamities of the British Army in the Victorian Age


by Denis Judd


Phoenix, HK$128


It's easy to see why this reissue of historian Denis Judd's short account of six command catastrophes still has currency today. In Someone Has Blundered - Calamities of the British Army in the Victorian Age, Judd dips into the 1838-42 invasion of Afghanistan, the Crimean war, the Indian Mutiny of 1857, the Zulu war and the two Boer wars with an eye for the cock-up. In 1973, he was injecting a sense of reality into the derring-do of the empire's army; in 2007, it takes on a whole new meaning. Judd has revised his introduction and updated his bibliography, notably with the addition of Norman Dixon's On the Psychology of Military Incompetence, which suggests that the officer class was filled with insecure types who needed structure and a sense of place - all well and good when your side is winning, but a recipe for disaster when things go wrong. This was evident in Afghanistan and in Africa against the Zulus and the Boers. Judd notes that disaster had its upside - major reforms generally followed calamity to spare the needless death of soldiers.


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