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51I+tFklpaLTaking Command by David Richards (Headline, £20)

It’s extremely rare for a genuine maverick to become a general, still less to become Chief of the General Staff and then of the Defence Staff. David Richards reached that pinnacle despite a career of remarkable independence and outspokenness.

Most notoriously he ignored explicit orders to stay on the sidelines of the Sierra Leone civil war and successfully rescued that country from the depredations of the hand-chopping Revolutionary United Front militia. Later, unlike his more deferential predecessors and successors, he forcefully, sometimes publicly, fought with the government…

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