On the Psychology of Military Incompetence

On the Psychology of Military Incompetence

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This unique and penetrating book surveys 100 years of military inefficiency from the Crimean War, through the Boer conflict, to the disasterous campaigns of the First World War and the calamities of the Second. It examines the social psychology of military organizations, provides case studies of individual commanders and identifies an alarming pattern in the causes of military disaster.show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 448 pages
  • 136 x 212 x 36mm | 458.13g
  • Vintage Publishing
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • diagrams
  • 0712658890
  • 9780712658898
  • 63,839

Review quote

"Shocking and provocative" New Society "An absorbing, perceptive and often very funny study in human frailty... Stimulating and almost invariably provocative" -- Lord Chalfont Listener "An original, scientifically impressive and fascinating book... This is a minor classic" Tablet "It should be compulsory reading wherever future officers are selected or trained, and deserves a very wide readership among psychologists and laymen" -- John Nicholson New Society "Classic book" New York Timesshow more

About Norman F. Dixon

Dr Norman F. Dixon, M.B.E., Fellow of the British Psychological Society, is Professor Emeritus of Psychology at University College London. After ten years' commission in the Royal Engineers, during which time he was wounded ('largely through my own incompetence'), Professor Dixon left the Army in 1950 and entered university where he obtained a first-class degree in Psychology. He received the degrees of Doctor of Philosophy in 1956 and Doctor of Science in 1972, and in 1974 was awarded the University of London Carpenter Medal 'for work of exceptional distinction in Experimental Psychology'. He holds an honorary doctorate from the University of Lund. His other books include: Preconscious Processing, Subliminal Perception: the nature of a controversy, which was described by Professor George Westby as 'one of the most substantial works of British psychology of recent years', and Our Own Worst Enemy, which New Society praised as 'an elegant play on man's chaotic nature...diverse and arresting'.show more

Review Text

A writer on war who misdates the Dardanelles expedition by a year cannot be wholly competent; yet Dixon has a serious point to argue. He maintains, in a book that appeared in 1976 and at once became a minor classic, that authoritarian generals are likely to be indecisive and incompetent commanders, and illustrates his point from a mass of examples of ineptitude, most of them British. (Kirkus UK)show more