George Washington, Mark Lardas

George Washington, Mark Lardas

Command 21

This is one of the more successful entries in Osprey's Command series. George Washington was a general who tended to lose battles, but eventually won his war, giving the author the chance to examine how a great commander learnt from defeats (not always due to mistakes).

There is an interesting section on how Washington learnt from his early experiences, and in particular from his failures on his earliest campaigns and from his experiences early in the War of Independence, where he came to realise that the existence of the army was more important than the defence of any particular city. His emphasis on the creation of a core of regular troops, the Continental Army, also came from the same idea.

Lardas does a good job of maintaining the focus on Washington's role in the fighting, looking not just at what Washington did, but also why, and what he learnt from his experiences. The failure of his attempts to defend New York and the near-destruction of his army that followed made him realise that the existence of the army was more importance than the defence of any particular city. When the British advanced on Philadelphia, Washington fought not to defend the city but because he believed he had a chance of defeating the British army. The picture painted is of a great commander who triumphed despite the early weaknesses in his army and the failure of Congress and the States to provide enough men, equipment or money.

The early years
The military life
The hour of destiny
Opposing commanders
Inside the mind
When war is done
A life in words
Further reading

Author: Mark Lardas
Edition: Paperback
Pages: 64
Publisher: Osprey
Year: 2011

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