Press Release: On the Psychology of Military Incompetence

On the Psychology of Military IncompetencePMI_PR_01
Norman F. Dixon

Introduced by General Sir Rupert Smith

‘An absorbing, perceptive and often very funny study in human frailty… stimulating and almost invariably provocative’

The Folio Society is proud to present an indispensible title that examines the psychology of the military as a whole and reveals an alarming pattern of military blunder. A recommended text at both Sandhurst and West Point, this incisive and engrossing book is a revealing study of 100 years of military incompetence, from the disasters of the Crimean War to the ‘misery and chaos’ of Operation Market Garden.

Norman F. Dixon served in the Royal Engineers, with nine years of service in the bomb disposal division. Wounded while on duty (‘largely


through my own incompetence’), Dixon left the army and entered academia, eventually becoming Professor Emeritus of Psychology at UCL: a mixture of careers that affords him a unique viewpoint on a contentious subject. Part one of this compulsive book looks closely at examples of calamitous ineptitude – the Crimean War’s infamous Charge of the Light Brigade, the disastrous attempt to capture Spion Kop during the Boer War, the First World War’s ruinous reliance on outdated methods and technology – whilst highlighting the egos and idiosyncrasies of the men who gave the orders. In parts two and three, Dixon looks at how and why this incompetence occurs: the impact of the personalities involved and the underlying psychological conflicts. Lastly, he examines those rare traits that can result in exemplary leaders: the PMI_PR_03Wellingtons, Nelsons and Napoleons of history.

General Sir Rupert Smith, with 40 years of service in the British Army, provides an enthralling introduction to this edition, revealing how Dixon’s book helped shape his own thinking early in his career, and how it continues to be a useful aid in his civilian life.

Product information
Three-quarter-bound in cloth with a printed Modigliani paper front board.
Set in Mentor. 480 pages. Frontispiece and 16 pages of colour and
black & white plates. 9½” x 6¼”.

UK £39.95 US $64.95 Can $84.95 Aus $84.95



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