Shropshire author to put readers in charge of World War II strategy

Professor John Buckley’s latest book, Armchair General, published this month by Penguin Random House is to launch at Bridgnorth Library this Saturday, November 13 at 12 noon, reports ShropshireStar.

The report says, placing readers at the heart of strategic decision making in World War 2, Armchair General gives readers primary historical source documents such as briefings, diary extracts and photographs to call upon to reach monumental decisions in the strategic campaign to defeat Nazi Germany.

“One of the decisions readers have to make for themselves is the UK’s decision to appoint either Winston Churchill or Lord Halifax as Prime Minister,” said Professor Buckley.

“There is a lot of interest in ‘what if’ history, but usually it might be a chapter of a book where the author explains what might have happened. In this book I wanted to put the reader in a key decision-making position, and then they see the potential consequences of the decision they make.

“Sometimes it might be easy for people to look back on decisions in history and think ‘that was a mistake,that was wrong’ but at the time, and with the information the people would have had, they might not have made a different choice.”

Not only are some of the scenarios at the very upper echelons of politics during the war, but there are some front line battle scenarios too where you assume the role of a key player on the battlefield – from the corridors of Whitehall to the Battle of Midway in the Pacific.

To the outsider the interactivity of the book might seem more suited to a strategy game, and this idea was also in Professor Buckley’s mind when he was writing the book. He has taught military history at the University of Wolverhampton for over 25 years, specialising in World War Two strategy.

“We use a lot of games when we are teaching. It could be made into a game quite easily, and there is the thought that it could be made into a game,” he explained.

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