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Orde Wingate: A Biography Christopher Sykes

Orde Wingate: A Biography

Christopher Sykes

Published 1959
575 pages
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 About the Book 

A thorough biography of a thoroughly extraordinary man , an eccentric genius who distinguished himself as a hero of the re-establishment of Israel , who crated special units of Jewish fighters during the Arab pogroms against Jews in the Holy Land in the 1930s. And also one of the great military commanders of the Second World War.Christopher Sykes follows Wingates life from his childhood in England where he spent his first twelve years socializing primarily with his siblings. In rather austere upbringing in England in a Puritanistic household. There was no outings with others who were not of their family, nmo childrens parties , no juvenile dances, no football, no cricket, no sight of the human world beyond their family gates. . Wingate ans his sisters had a fantasy world. He and his siblings created a fantasy world full of romance, conspiracy and battle called Lodolf , similar to the fantasy worlds of the childhoods of great writers like the Brontes, Robert Louis Stevenson and JRR TolkienHe made no special distinction at university and military training and was not popular with his peers. He did distinguish himself as a soldier in the Sudan among the British forces in the 1920s.Orde Wingate then after marrying a girl 14 years his junior named Lorna, went to the then Palestine Mandate where he developed a strong affinity for the Jews and Zionism.After witnessing the terror of the pogroms of the so called Arab Revolt which swept Palestine in the 1930s, sponsored by Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy where Arab mobs swept the holy Land murdering Jews and British soldiers - in one place the book recounts in 1936 a Jewish cinema crowd was fired on, in another nurses in a Jewish clinic were shot with their patients and there were murders of Jewish children.In many places the bands of Arab peasants set out by night to destroy the crops and orange groves of the Jewish pioneers.the British army did little to help the Jews fearing greater Arab wrath. but wingate made acquaintances with many Jewish pioneers and he and his wife spent time on the Jewish kibbutzim, He urged the Jews of pre-state Israel to greater activism and militancy even exhorting them to defy the British colonial authorities.His key role in command, his distinction in leading nascent Jewish forces in battle such as The Battle of Dabburiya where amongst other places he rooted and off Arab bands intent on slaughter and plunder.At Tiberius in 1938 the forces of the German ally, the Syrian Fawzi al Kaukji,carried out a massacre where they murdered nineteen Jews, mainly young children, the victims being burned alive after having been stabbed.Histories of Palestine at the time often give shrt shrift tot eh massacres carried out againbst Jews in Palestine by arabs during the Arab Revolt.It was Wingates enthusiasm for the Zionist cause, much to the chagrin of the British colonial authorities that led him to being exiled from the Land of Israel. much to his displeasure Wingate was dubbed as the Lawrence of Judea (displeasure because wingate despised the Arabist TE Lawrence to whom he was related by blood)When serving in Abyssinia in 1941-1942 he distinguished himself against as a great commander against eh occupying Italians. He showed a passion for Ethiopian independence and was instrumental in driving the Italian out of Ethiopia.He is best known for his organization of bands of Chindit fighters to in Burma resisting the Japanese attacks on that country, where he met his death in 1944 in an airplane accident.This book while it can be long winded in places, thoroughly explores the psyche and motivations of this great character. Published in 1959 it was the first real biography of Orde Wingate and an instrumental resource on compilation of subsequent biographies.