The first biography of one of Australia's most senior soldiers.
LAVARACK: RIVAL GENERAL is the story of one of Australia's most senior soldiers and yet one of the least known. Chief of the General Staff and in command of thousands of Australian troops in battle during the Second World War, Lieutenant-General Sir John Lavarack is relatively unknown in the annals of the Australian army.
Lavarack was head of the Australian army from 1935 to 1939, during the critical years before the Second World War. In 1940 he dropped a rank to go to war, fighting successfully in the Middle East as a division and corps commander. Indeed, he was the first Allied comander to stop Rommel's advance across North Africa. But none of his virtues or abilities could save him from the effects of personal antipathies.
Field-Marshal Sir Thomas Blamey saw Lavarack as a rival and so, like other able Australian generals, Lavarack was ruthlessly consigned to obscurity. In the 1940s, the Australian army at war had become Blamey's personal kingdom and Lavarack, perceived as a threat to the throne, was eliminated.
Whether soldier or politician, no-one who knew Lavarack was ambivalent about him. He had a fiery personality, but he was also a man of many accomplishments: intelligent, well-read, professional and courageous. Whether he was loved or loathed, he was respected for his abilities both on and off the battlefield. Lavarack's obscurity was born of jealousy, insecurity and paranoia.
Brett Lodge is a military historian now living in the UK, who has written widely in the area of Australian military history. He is the author of The Fall of Gordon Bennet.
Biography & Autobiography
Table Of Contents:
Maps and illustrations
1 The foundations of controversy, 1885-1929
2 `A brilliant thinker': Director of Military Operations and Intelligence, 1929-1932
3 `A bit of an invasionist': Commandant, Royal Military College, 1933-1934
4 `The fullest co-operation is expected': Chief of the General Staff Designate, 1935
5 `Treat our part of the business as strictly confidential': Chief of the General Staff, 1935-1936
6 `Your luck is out': Chief of the General Staff, 1937-1939
7 `The crown of any officer's career': Raising the 7th Division, 1940
8 `What sort of person does he think I am?': Palestine, 1940-1941
9 `A bloody insult': Tobruk, April 1941
10 `I am not conscious of failure at Tobruk': The Easter Battle, 1941
11 `He did not want Lavarack as corps commander': The Syrian Campaign, 1941
12 `We have Damascus in our pocket': The Syrian C
Allen & Unwin
Allen & Unwin
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Biography & True Stories