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Fire in the night : Wingate of Burma, Ethiopia, and Zion

by Bierman, John.

Format: Print Book 1999
Availability: Available at 1 Library 2 of 2 copies
Available (2)
Location Collection Call #
CLP - Main Library Mezzanine - Non-fiction D767.6.B54 1999
Location  CLP - Main Library
Collection  Mezzanine - Non-fiction
Call Number  D767.6.B54 1999
CLP - Main Library Mezzanine - Non-fiction D767.6.B54 1999
Location  CLP - Main Library
Collection  Mezzanine - Non-fiction
Call Number  D767.6.B54 1999
Winston Churchill thought he was a military genius; others considered him greatly overrated; a few even thought him mad. Almost sixty years after his death at age forty-four in an airplane crash, Orde Wingate remains perhaps the most controversial of all World War II commanders.         Born into a fundamentalist Christian sect and raised in the Cromwellian tradition of Sword and Bible, Wingate was an odd mixture of religious mystic and idealist, combining an unshakable belief in an Old Testament God with an insatiable interest in music, literature, history, philosophy, and the politics of his day.         But his overriding and enduring passion was for Zionism, a cause that--although he had no Jewish blood--he embraced when posted to British-ruled Palestine in 1936. There he raised the Special Night Squads, an irregular force that decimated Arab rebel bands and taught a future generation of Israeli generals how to fight.         In 1941, Wingate led another guerrilla-style force, this time into Italian-occupied Ethiopia, where he was instrumental in restoring Emperor Haile Selassie to his throne. But the campaign that was to bring him world fame was conducted behind enemy lines in Burma, where his Chindits shattered the myth of Japanese invincibility in jungle fighting, giving Allied morale a much-needed boost at a crucial point in World War II.         Throughout his career, Wingate's unconventionality and disdain for the superiors he dismissed as "military apes" marked him as a difficult if not impossible subordinate. He was that, but also, as this vigorous new study reveals, an inspiring leader.
Published Reviews
Booklist Review: "An eccentric nonconformist who on occasion received visitors in the buff, Orde Wingate offers a biographer a colorful palette for painting military life in the latter days of the British Empire. Wingate's short, 41-year-long life ended in a 1944 plane crash as he was leading the Burma campaign against the Japanese. His successes in Burma had suddenly made him one of Churchill's favorites. So, the oblivion of a possibly greater career is the backdrop for this wholly interesting narrative that Bierman and Smith construct. From rigidly fundamentalist Christian parents, Wingate absorbed, if not religious fervor himself, fascination with lands of the Bible, then protectorates of Britain. His entry into the army, fluency in Arabic, and boldness in persuading superior officers brought him the adventuresome postings he desired: Khartoum, Cairo, Jerusalem. The authors write of his war years, spent largely in Sudan, Ethiopia, and India, covering theaters American readers of the period tend to neglect. Bierman and Smith ably rectify a gap about the man and his battles. --Gilbert Taylor"
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Publisher's Weekly Review: "The English General Orde Wingate is the only foreign officer to be buried in Arlington National Cemetery. He is revered in Israel. In his native U.K., there are still those who resent him. Bierman (Righteous Gentile, a biography of Raoul Wallenberg) and Smith (Carlos: Portrait of a Terrorist) sympathetically portray Wingate's eccentric and combative personality and his equally remarkable, although short, career at arms. There is a distinctly Lawrence of Arabia flavor to Wingate's story. He fetches up in impossibly remote corners of the world, rallies a poorly armed but elusive force and attacks the enemy behind their own lines. This pattern was established in the Sudan, recurred in Palestine and Abyssinia and finally in Burma, where Wingate fought the Japanese until his death in a plane crash in March 1943. The Wingate summoned up in this book was hard on his men, harder on himself and hardest of all on his superiors. He emerges as arrogant, bitterly resentful of anyone who dared advance contrary ideas or question his monopolizing of scarce resources. Wingate's detractors are given their say, as are those who revered him, including Chaim Weizmann and Winston Churchill, whose patronage made Wingate's career possible. The authors obviously admire Wingate's accomplishments, especially his role in prewar Palestine, where, as an ardent Zionist, he instilled professionalism in what would become the Israeli army. With balanced judgment and a sharp eye for revealing details, Bierman and Smith bring a neglected warrior back to life. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved"
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Additional Information
Subjects Wingate, Orde Charles, -- 1903-1944.
Great Britain. -- Army -- Biography.
World War, 1939-1945 -- Campaigns -- Burma.
World War, 1939-1945 -- Campaigns -- Ethiopia.
Soldiers -- Great Britain -- Biography.
Publisher New York :Random House,1999
Edition 1st ed.
Contributors Smith, Colin, 1944-
Language English
Description 434 pages, 16 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations ; 25 cm
Bibliography Notes Includes bibliographical references (pages [417]-419) and index.
ISBN 0375500618 (alk. paper)
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