Mike Farquharson-Roberts, Royal Naval Officers from War to War, 1918-1939 (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2015). This book is based on the author’s 2013 Ph.D. thesis from the University of Exeter, which I wish I had read while I was doing my research as there are clear parallels between Farquharson-Roberts’ work and my own. In this book Farquharson-Roberts examines the executive branch of the Royal Navy during the First and Second World War and how the organisation developed its officer class. In this Farquharson-Roberts utilises a methodology grounded in ideas borrowed from modern leadership theory. Specifically, the ideas of Frederick Herzberg, which surround leadership, morale and motivation, are used in this work. This is important because the crucial difference between Farquharson-Roberts’ work and my own is what we might describe as the focal point for analysis. The key focal point for the Royal Navy and the development of its officer corps was the Invergordon Mutiny of 1931. Indeed, while the mutiny itself was perpetrated by sailors, Farquharson-Roberts argues that ‘the officers’ sympathies probably lay with the mutineers’ (p. 133). As such, Farquharson-Roberts deals with how the Royal Navy managed its officer class by attempting to improve morale. Conversely, my work is grounded in ideas surrounding culture, ethos and ethics and their relationship to officer development. Nevertheless, there appears to be much meat in this book, which will make for interesting reading. A review will appear in The Second World War Military Operations Research Group.


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