Friday, 15 March 2013

The Last Hill - Spencer Dunmore

Title: The Last Hill 
Author: Spencer Dunmore
Publisher: Pan 
Pages: 188

Content: The Last Hill by Spencer Dunmore touches upon a number of themes centering upon the positives and negatives of crisis leadership. Additionally, he sheds light upon a question rarely explored; at what point does a Commanders actions cross the line between inspired leadership in the defence, and the needless sacrifice of life? By extension, he also raises the question of the roles and responsibilities of subordinate officers and what constitutes a legal command (and therefore obligation to follow). The story centres on a makeshift company of British Infantry as, out of communications, they retreat before the advancing Japanese down the Malaysian peninsula towards Singapore. Finding themselves established in a strong defensive position and under the inspired leadership of an ‘old’ Major, they repel multiple efforts by the Japanese to defeat them; this despite overwhelming odds.  Conflict between a sense of duty and an obligation to the welfare of one’s soldier’s results when the British Commander is presented with information by the Japanese that Singapore has surrendered. What then becomes the responsibility of the Commander and his Officers? An excellent and thought-provoking book.

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