Scapegoats: Thirteen Victims of Military Injustice
By: Michael Scott
At all costs avoid blame.
Such is the creed of dictators and politicians, tycoons and company chairmen, media celebrities and spin doctors the world over. But what about men at war, where the penalties for errors of judgement can be devastating? History is full of tales of those who have been wrongly castigated in the rush to find a culprit; only later, sometimes much later, when the real truth comes out, is the scapegoat exonerated.
Exposed here are the real stories behind the myths that allow the reader to make a balanced judgement on history’s fairness to the individual. From Admiral Byng, executed for failing to do his utmost in 1757, to General Alazar, held responsible for Israel’s lack of preparation at the start of the Yom Kippur War and General Dallaire, let down by the United Nations over the Rwanda massacres of 1994, these portraits of individuals unjustly accused span continents and centuries. The book begins with an introduction, defining the scapegoat and examining the conditions needed to qualify. This superbly researched book by a former professional soldier uncovers what might be termed the most disgraceful miscarriages of military justice.
The narrative was lucid, the opinions expert and judicious, the historical background well-informed and relevant.
- Professor Sir Michael Howard, OM, CH, CBE
This is history from the inside flawed, confused, frequently dysfunctional which reminds us, nevertheless, that at the heart of great events are human beings whose fate is determined by forces over which they have little or no control.
- Magnus Linklater
Well researched and elegantly written … The author has mined a rich and largely overlooked vein of military history and has done so in a balanced and thoughtful manner … This book is thoroughly recommended.
- The Guards Magazine
Scott, a former commander of the British Army in Scotland, does an excellent job of conveying the details of a variety of military campaigns, spanning several centuries and continents, in an accessible way, in his accounts of men unjustly blamed, and punished, by their country’s military.
- Publishers Weekly
[I]t’s a splendid book overall. General Scott fishes deep into history, pulling out intriguing minnows and astounding whales of fact that leave the reader both entertained and thoroughly well informed.
- Patrick Mercer OBE, The Oldie