332 - General 'Boy' The Life Of Lieutenant Gen. Sir F Browning (Book)

332 - General 'Boy' The Life Of Lieutenant Gen. Sir F Browning (Book)


General Boy

On three quite seperate counts 'Boy' Browning is a superb subject for a biography. His military career alone justifies detailed study, spanning as it does both World Wars and, in particular, his pivotal involvement in the creation and employment of Britain's airborne forces from 1941 to 1944. Secondly, his long and sometimes troubled marriage to the temperamental but brilliant novelist Daphne du Maurier adds fascinating personal and literary dimensions. Thirdly, there is his post-war royal involvement in the household of Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip and then as Treasurer to the latter following the Queen's accession. HRH The Duke of Edinburgh's affectionate Foreword is proof of Boy's outstanding contribution and influence in these key roles.

As this deeply researched work reveals, Browning's character was full of contradictions and surprises. As a Grenadier Guards officer he outwardly appeared immacutely confident yet in his private life he was less - assured and at one point suffered a serious nervous breakdown. During the Second World War he held key appointments advising Eisenhower, acting as Mountbatten's Chief of staff and, most controversially, commanding 1st Airborne Corps during the ill-fated Market Garden operation in September 1944. Despite allegedly coining the phrase 'A bridge too far' it was Browning who received much of the blame for the outcome. This will be, for many, the most important aspect of the book.

For others, Boy's life with his strong willed and sexually complex wife will be the main fascination. How he coped with the demands of his military and royal careers against this domestic backdrop and the strain he lived under makes compelling reading.