Once the war correspondents have moved on, the historians move in — either to help the combatants or bayonet them.

Erwin Rommel, a German general from World War 2 who was promoted way beyond his level of competence, was extolled by a string of British historians while his nemesis, Bernard Montgomery, hero of El Alamein, was excoriated 19 years after his great victory, especially by Correlli Barnett, a distinguished historian.

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