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Jestre

World War I Books

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Hi Jestre

After reading your post, I bought and read G.J. Meyer's book. It is a very good read, and I am glad you suggested it. After finishing Meyer, I now think that which book I would recommend as the best single volume history would depend on the reader - Meyer is very good at explaining the background and is especially good with characters (I suspect his training as a journalist helps his writing). However, for readers that have a good background on the Great War, I really do think Strachan is a better source, as although he does not provide as much background - his book is almost cryptic in places - it is a wonderfully comprehensive (within the constraints of a single volume) source.

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I mostly read about the aviation:

-Winged Victory by V.M Yeates: It's about a camel squadron similar to the author's own experiences.. although the cover has an SE5a!

-Goshawk Squadron by Derek Robinson: Dark humour and grim tales of an SE5a Squadron

-Fire in the Sky by Michael Molkentin: The Australian Flying Corps contribution VERY good book for Aussies

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"The Myriad Faces of War" by Trevor Wilson is a favourite of mine. Deals with the war solely from the British standpoint, but it is very well put together. Not a short read though! Having bought and read the book many years earlier I was gobsmacked to find that his niece turned up in my history class, even though he writes out of Adelaide in Australia and I am in the UK.

It's a small world indeed...

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"The Myriad Faces of War" by Trevor Wilson is a favourite of mine. Deals with the war solely from the British standpoint, but it is very well put together. Not a short read though! Having bought and read the book many years earlier I was gobsmacked to find that his niece turned up in my history class, even though he writes out of Adelaide in Australia and I am in the UK.

It's a small world indeed...

Yes it is! All of us Aussies go through the UK for a while. I spent 5 years there and I ran into my Auntie coming out of a travel agent purely by chance, didn't even know she was on holidays :)

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I'm reading "Three armies at the Somme", by William Phippott, gives the political an military preperation for the battle that the French and British thought would give them victory over Germany in the summer of 1916.

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I've recently read that, though in the UK it's been published under the title Bloody Victory.

I liked its perspective as it's about time the French part of the battle was added to the story. Too much of the focus has always been on the British role, with very little coverage given to the more successful French attacks.

There's also Jack Sheldon's book on the German Army on the Somme which might make a good follow up. I've not (yet) read it, but it looks pretty good.

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I see that David Stevenson has a new book out, called With Our Backs to the Wall: Victory and Defeat in 1918.

As his general work on the war, 1914-1918: The History of the First World War, was really good and provided a lot of inspiration for much of this game, I would imagine that his new book on 1918 will be pretty hot too. I have only flicked through it in the bookshop so far, but hope to find the time later this summer to delve into it further.

Meanwhile I've been re-reading Robin Neillands' The Death of Glory: The Western Front, 1915. I really like this book and it is one of the best on the problems facing the British army and their attempts to launch successful attacks that year.

Neillands is also pretty damning about the French insistence that the B.E.F. attack at Loos in September 1915. Sir John French and Douglas Haig had rejected the French suggestions that they attack there, but they were told by Lord Kitchener that they had to do so.

If Neillands is correct, Joffre and Foch weren't interested in the British attack being successful, having it tie up German forces was sufficient, and they were far more concerned with making sure they had their way, i.e. to show the British who was boss.

I don't quite understand why the British (in this case Kitchener) felt that they had to kowtow to the French so much, because if the British had left the French to fend for themselves then they'd have been defeated before long. While Britain had an interest in ensuring that Germany didn't dominate Europe, the French surely had a much stronger interest in that their own country had been invaded and its entire future was at stake. Yet the French were able to call the shots and dictate strategy to the British.

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I don't quite understand why the British (in this case Kitchener) felt that they had to kowtow to the French so much, because if the British had left the French to fend for themselves then they'd have been defeated before long. While Britain had an interest in ensuring that Germany didn't dominate Europe, the French surely had a much stronger interest in that their own country had been invaded and its entire future was at stake. Yet the French were able to call the shots and dictate strategy to the British.

I'll guess Kitchner recognized the French were fighting on their native soil and fielded a much larger army. Pulling out of the alliance was not an option as Britain would have been facing a German dominated continent from somewhere in Russia to the Atlantic - a situation that would have meant their eventual subjugation.

Will definitely have to check these 3 books out.

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