So long as you drub the foe

Geoffrey Best

  • Military Identities: The Regimental System, The British Army and The British People c.1870-2000 by David French
    Oxford, 404 pp, £45.00, July 2005, ISBN 0 19 925803 1

For it’s Tommy this, an’ Tommy that, an’
‘Chuck him out, the brute!’,
But it’s ‘Saviour of ’is country’ when the guns
begin to shoot.

Rudyard Kipling wrote ‘Tommy’ in order to call attention to a couple of questions that were not new then and are with us still: what sort of an army do we need, and how do we regard and use the one we’ve got? To these questions, there are two conventional approaches. The more familiar and tractable appears under the heading of civil-military relations. Of greater social and moral interest are the relations between armed forces and society.

The full text of this book review is only available to subscribers of the London Review of Books.

You are not logged in