Imperial Warrior: The Life and Times of Field-Marshal Viscount Allenby 1861-1936
by Lawrence James (Author)
Field-Marshal Lord Allenby was one of the few British generals in the First World War who won battles.
A cavalry officer with an open mind; he made a name for himself in the Boer War and held several senior commands on the Western Front. Here he gained his reputation as ‘The Bull’, a bad-tempered and volatile martinet. Allenby was also frustrated by having to direct offensives planned by Haig which were tantamount to the repeated reinforcement of failure. The most calamitous was at Arras and led to Allenby’s removal. Lloyd George detected his innate genius and placed him in command of the army in the Middle East, where Allenby shone as a strategist. His forces took Jerusalem in 1917 and completed the destruction of Turkish-German forces in Palestine, the Lebanon and Syria the following year.
A cultured man, Allenby recognised and used the talents of T.E. Lawrence, but was uncomfortably amused by his subsequent pursuit of celebrity. After the war, Allenby served as High Commissioner in Egypt where he confronted the powerful nationalist movement. He was a pragmatic imperialist who was able to balance Egyptian aspirations with British strategic and political interests.
Flexible and intelligent, Allenby helped create the modern Middle East.