Two legendary strategists. Military campaigns stretching from the border of Persia all the way to modern-day northern India and from Tunisia to the Ardennes. A strong sense of a divine-like destiny to command armies in the face of a numerically superior enemy. A complicated personality. These are some of the aspects that have come to define our conception of both four-star general George S. Patton, Jr. (1885-1945) and Alexander the Great (356-323 BCE), hereditary king of Macedon. Their feats of hard-nosed leadership are admired by countless military professionals and enthusiasts worldwide, so it was no surprise they both eventually ended up on the silver screen.
Victoria’s Generals focuses on eight British generals of the late Victorian period: Garnet Wolseley, Evelyn Wood, Redvers Buller, George Colley, Lord Chelmsford, Charles Gordon, Frederick Roberts and Herbert Kitchener. Most of them were regarded as heroes by their contemporaries, and while the book manages to paint eight equally fascinating portraits, it does not achieve that at the cost of being uncritical. As the authors point out, this group of men was disparate and fractious – and each of these generals had his weaknesses and contradictions.