michaeldr, on 21 June 2012 - 04:25 PM, said:
A personal weakness perhaps, but I have found that the good newspaper correspondent, who writes well (a dying breed perhaps) is nevertheless, difficult to put down.
They are good reads, but are they sound history? I guess one reads what interests them - but that is hardly a weakness.
Personally I have found books written by journalists to be well written and engaging reads, but generally they serve up all the old myths and are rather shallow in their judgements. Reasons for failure are somewhat more complex than they suggest. What's the catch cry - never let the truth get in the way of good story?
Nonetheless, Carlyon is an excellent read, beautifully written and one of the good books on Gallipoli - certainly better than Moorehead. I heartily recommend it. His presentation of the the Gallipoli campaign is sensitive and unique in that he blends the current Gallipoli with the history, but it still serves up old myths. I think even Broomers would enjoy it.
On the other hand not all military historians produce good stuff. Some are difficult reads and others display a shallow knowledge of military operations and how armies work, and make judgements that demonstrate this ignorance. One recent " learned" judgement (PhD qualified) made on British command was based on a complete misunderstanding of the terminology being commented on. I had to review an mss recently (not yours Pete !!!) where the writer showed a complete lack of understanding of military operations ( as opposed to the battle being written about) and made highly critical judgements that were way off the mark. We persevered and the author rewrote the book before it went off to the publisher.
As an aside it is ironic that many authors who have never served in the military, have never been in action, have never had the responsibility of high command, and have never faced the difficulties of planning and running a battle feel they are competent to pass judgements on those who have.
Having said all that, the best analytical military history book I have read on a campaign was written by a lawyer, the best narrative on the same campaign was written by a journalist. So one reads what one likes, and takes from them what one wants.