Bond, Brian 1936-
BOND, Brian 1936-
(Brian James Bond)
PERSONAL: Born April 17, 1936, in Marlow, Buckinghamshire, England; son of Edward Herbert and Olive Bessie (Sartin) Bond; married Madeleine Joyce Carr, 1962. Education: Worcester College, Oxford, B.A. (with honors), 1959; King's College, London, M.A., 1962. Hobbies and other interests: Gardening; visiting country houses; wildlife conservation, especially of foxes.
ADDRESSES: Office—Department of War Studies, King's College, University of London, Strand, London WC2R 2LS, England.
CAREER: University of Exeter, Exeter, England, lecturer in history, 1961–62; University of Liverpool, Liverpool, England, lecturer in history, 1962–66; King's College, London, England, lecturer in war studies, 1966–78, reader in war studies, 1978–86, professor of military history, 1986–2001, Liddell Hart lecturer, 1997, and War Studies lecturer, 2001; professor emeritus, 2001–. Visiting professor at University of Western Ontario, 1972–73; visiting lecturer at U.S. Naval War College, 1972–74; visiting fellow at Brasenose College, Oxford, 1992–93, and All Souls College, Oxford, 2000. Cambridge University, Lees Knowles Lecturer, 2000. Member of council, Royal United Services Institute, 1972–84; president, British Commission for Military History, 1986–. Military service: British Army, Royal Artillery, 1952–54; became second lieutenant.
MEMBER: Society for Army Historical Research (member of council).
AWARDS, HONORS: Fellow, King's College, London, 1996.
Mapledurham House, the Historic Home of the Blount Family: Official Guide, English Life Publications (Derby, Derbyshire, England), 1968.
The Victorian Army and the Staff College, Eyre Methuen (London, England), 1972.
France and Belgium: 1939–1940, David-Poynter (London, England), 1975, University of Delaware Press (Newark, DE), 1979, revised edition published as Britain, France, and Belgium, 1939–1940, Brassey's (Riverside, NJ), 1990.
Liddell Hart: A Study of His Military Thought, Rutgers University Press (Piscataway, NJ), 1977.
War and Society in Europe, 1870–1970, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1983.
The Unquiet Western Front: Britain's Role in Literature and History, Cambridge University Press (New York, NY), 2002.
Also author of script for television film The Conduct of War in the Twentieth Century, Open University. Contributor to "Look to Your Front": Studies in the First World War by the British Commission for Military History, Spellmount (Staplehurst, Kent, England), 1999. Editor of War and Society Yearbook, 1975–77. Member of editorial boards for Journal of Strategic Studies, 1978–, Journal of Contemporary History, 1988–; and Journal of Military History, 1992–96.
Victorian Military Campaigns, Praeger (New York, NY), 1967.
Chief of Staff: The Diaries of Lieutenant-General Sir Henry Pownall, Leo Cooper (London, England), Volume 1, 1972, Volume 2, 1974.
(With Simon Robbins) Walter Guinness, Staff Officer: The Diaries of Walter Guinness (First Lord Moyne), 1914–1918, Leo Cooper (London, England), 1987.
Fallen Stars: Eleven Studies of Twentieth Century Military Disasters, Macmillan (Riverside, NJ), 1991.
The First World War and British Military History, Oxford University Press (New York, NY), 1991.
(With Nigel Cave) Haig, a Reappraisal 70 Years On, Leo Cooper (London, England), 1999.
(With Michael D. Taylor) The Battle of France and Flanders, 1940: Sixty Years On, Leo Cooper (London, England), 2001.
(With Kyoichi Tachikawa) British and Japanese Military Leadership in the Far Eastern War, 1941–45, Frank Cass (Portland, OR), 2004.
Charles Steel, Secret Letters from the Railway: The Remarkable Record of Charles Steel, a Japanese POW, Pen and Sword (Barnsley, Yorkshire, England), 2004.
SIDELIGHTS: British historian Brian Bond is the author or editor of numerous books, writing primarily about the history of the British military. Bond, whose early works focus on the Victorian period, has in more recent years written about the interwar period and World War II, but he may be best known for his work on World War I. His books on this period era include The First World War and British Military History and Haig, a Reappraisal 70 Years On, both of which he edited, and The Unquiet Western Front: Britain's Role in Literature and History, which examines representations of World War I in twentieth-century popular culture.
The First World War and British Military History collects eleven essays that examine how historians' understandings of World War I have changed over the years. The contributors focus on three of the most controversial theaters of war: the Western Front, which stretched through France and Belgium; Gallipoli, a peninsula in Turkey that was unsuccessfully invaded by troops from Britain, France, Australia, and New Zealand in 1915; and Palestine, a territory of the Ottoman Empire that the British invaded and conquered during World War I. After the war these campaigns came to be considered dismal failures, particularly the bloody and indecisive or failed Western Front and Gallipoli campaigns; and the generals and politicians who led or ordered them were declared to be either incompetent or downright evil. Yet the essayists, mostly military historians, argue that the truths behind these battles have been obscured by the constructed histories that have since been built up around them. In their essays, they examine the motives behind some of the arguments made about World War I, from the generally pro-war analyses published in the war's immediate aftermath to the widespread condemnations war voiced during the generally pacifist periods of the 1930s and the 1960s. "The result is an absorbing study of how history is written and re-written by succeeding generations," John Rae wrote in the English Historical Review. "An outstanding, diverse, and highly detailed collection," Kathryn Binden commented in the Historian, "it reflects not only Brian Bond's skill as an editor but also the fact that this group of scholars has been considering World War I from a collaborative and critical perspective for some time."
The Pursuit of Victory: From Napoleon to Saddam Hussein examines what it means to win a war and how, in broad strategic terms, to do so. In this title Bond describes the progression from the limited wars of the eighteenth century, particularly those led by Frederick the Great of Prussia, to the "total wars," exemplified by World Wars I and II. This more pervasive style of warfare became common in the twentieth century even as it became more difficult to prepare for and win a truly decisive battle. Bond also considers the post-World War II move away from total war back to a more limited model of conflict, and he examines the role of statesmanship, rather than pure military genius, in winning a lasting victory. French emperor Napoleon Bonaparte and German dictator Adolf Hitler, for example, both achieved remarkable military victories that they proceeded to squander by not knowing when to stop fighting and begin consolidating their gains through negotiations. The Pursuit of Victory "is a thoughtful and thought-provoking book," Michael Carver commented in the London Sunday Times. Steve R. Waddell noted in History: Review of New Books that "both professional historians and the general public will find [the work] interesting and provocative."
Bond collaborated with Nigel Cave to edit Haig, a Reappraisal 70 Years On, a collection of essays about World War I-era commander Field Marshal Sir Douglas Haig that was published on the seventieth anniversary of that man's death. Historians and the general public have generally dismissed Haig as incompetent and have blamed him for the staggering number of casualties the British Army suffered in several battles during World War I: 60,000 casualties in a single day of fighting along the Somme in 1916; and 275,000 at the Battle of Passehendaele. Yet, as Infantry reviewer Harold E. Raugh, Jr., noted, "The view of Haig that generally emerges from these essays is one of a much more competent and conscientious commander than previously recognized." Contributors discuss Haig's childhood, his relationships with his fellow officers and civilian leaders, and his military strategies, and they show how he has been misunderstood and maligned by previous historians. "While I remain personally ambivalent about the Field Marshal," Douglas V. Johnson II wrote in Parameters, "I am delighted with the relative objectivity of this book not only for the balanced appreciation of the man and his system, but for the broader subject of generalship in World War I."
Bond returns to the topic of The First World War and British Military History in The Unquiet Western Front: Britain's Role in Literature and History, which is based on a series of lectures he gave at Cambridge University in 2001. Here he traces the growth of antiwar sentiment in European culture, beginning in the interwar period and continuing to the present day. In the 1920s and 1930s British poet Wilfred Owen, German novelist Erich Maria Remarque, and a host of others who had served in the war wrote plays, poems, and other works that describe the horrors experienced by front-line troops and portray their suffering as having been completely pointless. Bond shows how this negative view of the war became particularly prevalent in the 1960s, when such nonfiction books as A. J. P. Taylor's Illustrated History of the First World War and Alan Clark's The Donkeys ratified such anti-war perspectives. Acceptance of the futile-war view led to new, often satirical pieces of fiction about World War I, including the blockbuster play and film Oh What a Lovely War!. This trend, Bond shows, has continued to the present day, as illustrated by the success of the similarly satirical 1990s television series Blackadder Goes Forth.
In contrast to this widely accepted history, Bond argues that World War I was a necessary and important war for Britain to fight, given the very real threat that an ascendant and militaristic Germany posed to the country and to European democracy in general. He also posits that the men who led the British war effort, although far from perfect, were not the imbeciles and sadists they have been portrayed as. The Unquiet Western Front "covers a lot of ground and is wonderfully wide-ranging in its cultural as well as its military references," Taylor Downing wrote in History Today. "Anyone who wants to reflect about the Great War and its role in shaping modern British thinking about war must read it." Others, however, were more critical. Canadian Journal of History reviewer Stephen Heathorn noted that Bond's "arguments come across not as a call for historical revisionism, but as special pleading for the importance and necessity of military historians, and the re-establishment of British military honor," which is "as much a political point as it is a revisionist one." Some reviewers also noted that Bond dismisses certain aspects of the argument out of hand; as John Horne wrote in the Journal of Modern History, "Bond is not writing cultural history and has little truck with such topics as memory and trauma, which for him merely obscure the historical record." Times Literary Supplement contributor Modris Eksteins similarly faulted Bond's lack of interest in the cultural aspects of making a myth out of history; nonetheless, he declared, The Unquiet Western Front "is eminently readable and always stimulating."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
American Historical Review, October, 1981, review of British Military Policy between the Two World Wars, p. 847.
Books and Bookmen, February, 1984, review of War and Society in Europe, 1870–1970, p. 37.
Bookwatch, September, 1992, review of Fallen Stars: Eleven Studies of Twentieth-Century Military Disasters, p. 9.
British Book News, March, 1984, review of War and Society in Europe, 1870–1970, p. 185.
Canadian Journal of History, August, 2004, Stephen Heathorn, review of The Unquiet Western Front: Britain's Role in Literature and History, p. 392.
Choice, July-August, 1992, F. Coetzee, review of The First World War and British Military History, p. 1738.
English Historical Review, October, 1982, review of British Military Policy between the Two World Wars, p. 869; January, 1988, G. C. Peden, review of War and Society in Europe, 1870–1970, p. 259; November, 1994, John Rae, review of The First World War and British Military History, p. 1; February, 1998, review of The Pursuit of Victory: From Napoleon to Saddam Hussein, p. 263; June, 2003, Trevor Wilson, review of The Unquiet Western Front, p. 832.
Historian, February, 1982, review of British Military Policy between the Two World Wars, p. 255; winter, 1994, Kathryn Bindon, review of The First World War and British Military History.
History: Review of New Books, November, 1984, review of War and Society in Europe, 1870–1970, p. 41; spring, 1997, Steve R. Waddell, review of The Pursuit of Victory, p. 140.
History: The Journal of the Historical Association, February, 1987, Hew Strachan, "Old Battles and New Defenses: Can We Learn from Military History?," p. 150; October, 1997, John Gooch, review of The Pursuit of Victory, p. 709; October, 2000, Michael Howard, review of Haig, a Reappraisal 70 Years On, p. 735.
History Today, October, 1982, review of British Military Policy between the Two World Wars, p. 52; March, 1990, review of Britain, France, and Belgium, 1939–40, p. 55; December, 2002, Taylor Downing, review of The Unquiet Western Front, p. 58.
Infantry, September-December, 2000, Harold E. Raugh, Jr., review of Haig, a Reappraisal 70 Years On p. 49.
International History Review, November, 1993, review of Fallen Stars, pp. 855-56; May, 1997, Dennis E. Showalter, review of The Pursuit of Victory, p. 388; June, 2003, Tim Travers, review of The Unquiet Western Front, pp. 436-437.
Journal of Military History, March, 1984, review of British Military Policy between the Two World Wars, p. 100; October, 1992, Robin Prior, review of The First World War and British Military History, p. 699; March, 1995, Lothar Hobelt, review of The First World War and British Military History, p. 152; July, 1997, Richard L. Russell, review of The Pursuit of Victory, p. 616; October, 2000, Tim Travers, review of Haig, a Reappraisal 70 Years On, p. 1176; April, 2004, review of The Unquiet Western Front, pp. 625-626.
Journal of Modern History, March, 1983, review of British Military Policy between the Two World Wars, p. 127; March, 1995, review of The First World War and British Military History, p. 152; June, 2005, John Horne, review of The Unquiet Western Front, p. 429.
London Review of Books, October 18, 1984, review of War and Society in Europe, 1870–1970, p. 19.
Parameters, winter, 1992, review of Fallen Stars, p. 116; summer, 2001, Douglas V. Johnson II, review of Haig, a Reappraisal 70 Years On, p. 148.
Political Studies, December, 1992, Peter M. Jones, review of The First World War and British Military History, p. 766.
Reference and Research Book News, November, 1998, review of War and Society in Europe, 1870–1970, p. 24; November, 2002, review of The Unquiet Western Front, p. 25.
Spectator, August 10, 2002, review of The Unquiet Western Front, p. 35.
Sunday Times (London, England), January 28, 1996, Michael Carver, review of The Pursuit of Victory, p. 6.
Times Educational Supplement, October 12, 1984, review of War and Society in Europe, p. 30.
Times Literary Supplement, March 9, 1984, review of War and Society in Europe, p. 245; April 17, 1992, Geoffrey Best, review of The First World War and British Military History, p. 27; June 5, 1992, Richard Holmes, review of Fallen Stars, p. 27; April 12, 1996, Hew Strachan, review of The Pursuit of Victory, p. 28; March 10, 2000, Hew Strachan, review of Haig, a Reappraisal 70 Years On, p. 11; October 25, 2002, Modris Eksteins, review of The Unquiet Western Front, p. 25.