Politics of Command: Lieutenant-General A.G.L. McNaughton and the Canadian Army, 1939–1943

John Nelson Rickard

© 2010

In December 1943, Lieutenant-General A.G.L. McNaughton resigned from command of the 1st Canadian Army amidst criticism of his poor generalship and of his abrasive personality. Despite McNaughton's importance to the Canadian Army during the first four years of the Second World War, little has been written about the man himself or the circumstances of his resignation.

In The Politics of Command, the first full-length study of the subject since 1969, John Nelson Rickard analyses McNaughton's performance during Exercise SPARTAN in March 1943 and assesses his relationships with key figures such as Sir Alan F. Brooke, Bernard Paget, and Harry Crerar. This detailed re-examination of McNaughton's command argues that the long-accepted reasons for his relief of duty require extensive modification.

Based on a wide range of sources, The Politics of Command will redefine how military historians and all Canadians look at not only "Andy" McNaughton but also the Canadian Army itself.

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Product Details

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  • Page Count: 416 pages
  • Illustrations: 18
  • Dimensions: 6.0in x 1.2in x 9.0in
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Quick Overview

The Politics of Command re-examines Lieutenant-General A.G.L. McNaughton’s command and argues that the long-accepted reasons for his relief of duty warrant review.

Politics of Command: Lieutenant-General A.G.L. McNaughton and the Canadian Army, 1939–1943

John Nelson Rickard

© 2010

In December 1943, Lieutenant-General A.G.L. McNaughton resigned from command of the 1st Canadian Army amidst criticism of his poor generalship and of his abrasive personality. Despite McNaughton's importance to the Canadian Army during the first four years of the Second World War, little has been written about the man himself or the circumstances of his resignation.

In The Politics of Command, the first full-length study of the subject since 1969, John Nelson Rickard analyses McNaughton's performance during Exercise SPARTAN in March 1943 and assesses his relationships with key figures such as Sir Alan F. Brooke, Bernard Paget, and Harry Crerar. This detailed re-examination of McNaughton's command argues that the long-accepted reasons for his relief of duty require extensive modification.

Based on a wide range of sources, The Politics of Command will redefine how military historians and all Canadians look at not only "Andy" McNaughton but also the Canadian Army itself.

Continue Reading Read Less

Product Details

  • Row Rights
  • Page Count: 416 pages
  • Illustrations: 18
  • Dimensions: 6.0in x 1.2in x 9.0in
  • Reviews

    "Captain Rickard has provided a much-needed reassessment of Canada’s top general during the formative years of the Canadian Army in the Second World War. Giving weight to both the systemic challenges that came with the rapid expansion of the army and the personality conflicts – the ‘flame warfare’ – in which McNaughton became engaged, Rickard offers refreshing insight into ‘Andy.’"


    Christine E. Leppard, University of Calgary
    Journal of Military and Strategic Studies

    "Through his nuanced analysis, Rickard’s argument provides a radically different historical interpretation of McNaughton as a senior national commander between 1939 and 1943. Moreover, Rickard convincingly demonstrates that judgements by McNaughton’s peers were greatly coloured by the effects of his dominant personality and by his earlier relationships … Rickard adds significant and relevant context to earlier historical interpretations of McNaughton’s obstinacy with keeping the Canadian Army intact for employment in a European invasion."


    Daniel Gosselin, Commander of the Canadian Defence Academy
    Canadian Military Journal

    "Rickard has written an impressive, nuanced work that aptly demonstrates the challenges facing Lieutenant-General A.G.L. McNaughton's command and McNaughton’s creative responses to them. A classic example of the conflict between character and circumstance, The Politics of Command portrays McNaughton as a rational, well-informed decision maker constrained by events and personalities over which he had no control."


    Terry Copp, Wilfrid Laurier University, author of Fields of Fire and Cinderella Army
  • Author Information

    John Nelson Rickard is a Captain in the Canadian Armed Forces and has a PhD in military history from the University of New Brunswick.

  • Table of contents

    Maps
    Tables and Figures 
    Foreword by Marc Milner 
    Preface by Lieutenant-General Andrew Leslie
    Acknowledgments
    Abbreviations

    Introduction

    Part One: The Making of Andy McNaughton

    1. Early Life and the Crucible of the First World War
    2. The Road to High Command

    Part Two: The Problem of Deploying the Army

    3. A Willingness to Fight, 1940–1941
    4. From ROUNDUP to TORCH
    5. Practical Operations of War

    Part Three: McNaughton as Military Commander and Trainer

    6. The Difficulty of Training in 1940
    7. The Politics of Training
    8. Enter Montgomery
    9. Exercise SPARTAN
    10. The Long Shadow of Spartan

    Part Four: The End of an Idea

    11. The Sicily Incident
    12. Broken Dagger: A Corps in Italy
    13. The Final Months of McNaughton's Command

    Epilogue
    Conclusion

    Appendices
    Notes
    Bibliography
    Index

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