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What WW1 books are you reading?


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I am currently reading "The Invisible Cross" by Andrew Davidson. The book follows the letters written to his new wife from the beginning of the war through to 1918. He rose from being a company commander to 2ic 1st Cameronians, and eventually OC of the battalion. I am only on page 87, so early days. Very interesting so far.

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NorthStaffsPOW
13 hours ago, Marilyne said:

Just had a lot of train time and read "Nursing through shot and shell" by Vivian Newman. It's the diary of staff nurse Beatrice Hopkinson. Very good read!! 

And now I'm going through Alan Palmer's "The Salient". 

 

M.

 

I have just finished The Salient and can recommend it as a good overview of the battles around Ypres. First and Second Ypres get particularly good coverage but I felt it tailed off a little as the Third and Fourth battles were covered. He also gives a good overview of the political aspects of the campaign and the British need to appease/ support their French Allies. I also found his coverage of the Belgian campaign and post- war political attitudes in Flanders useful. I can also recommend Palmer's earlier work "The Gardeners of Salonika."

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I've just started reading ' Angels and Heroes ' , a book based around the journal of Sergeant Hugh Wilson of the 1st Royal Irish Fusiliers . I've only

read the introduction so far but have already discovered that Franz Ferdinand was murdered on the 29th June and Britain declared war on Germany

on August 3rd . But ignoring those dubious 'facts' , it looks like an interesting book .

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On ‎18‎/‎08‎/‎2019 at 08:52, Black Maria said:

I've just started reading ' Angels and Heroes ' , a book based around the journal of Sergeant Hugh Wilson of the 1st Royal Irish Fusiliers . I've only

read the introduction so far but have already discovered that Franz Ferdinand was murdered on the 29th June and Britain declared war on Germany

on August 3rd . But ignoring those dubious 'facts' , it looks like an interesting book .

Finished reading this book , an interesting account which includes the journal of sergeant Wilson interspersed with an overview of the battalions actions

from the start of the war until Wilson was wounded at St Julien in April 1915 . I thought it suffered a bit from the lack of maps when dealing with the early

actions , one map for Le Cateau but none for the retreat and battles of Marne/Aisne . It also didn't mention Wilson's company (C) until page 54 which would

have been more useful to know earlier when reading about the battalions actions and movements in August/September  .

 

When I read Haldane's 'A Brigade of the Old Army ' he mentioned an attack on a farmhouse which was stubbornly held by a small force of Germans ,

after several men had been killed trying to storm it the building was eventually set alight and most of the Germans burnt to death . This action is also

mentioned by Wilson as it was his battalion that attacked the farmhouse . The farmhouse became known as 'Sydney Street ' ( reference to the famous

London siege in 1911 ) by the troops and Wilson later rescued a badly burned German from the ruins but was not thanked by the medical staff who told

him they had too many of our own wounded to deal with.

 

The book also contains many photographs , a roll of honour for those men of the battalion killed between Aug14-Apr15 , a short biography of Sgt Wilson

and Private Robert Morrow V.C , the order of battle of the B.E.F in 1914 and a short account of the legend of the 'Angel of Mons' .

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On 18/08/2019 at 09:32, NorthStaffsPOW said:

 

I have just finished The Salient and can recommend it as a good overview of the battles around Ypres. First and Second Ypres get particularly good coverage but I felt it tailed off a little as the Third and Fourth battles were covered. He also gives a good overview of the political aspects of the campaign and the British need to appease/ support their French Allies. I also found his coverage of the Belgian campaign and post- war political attitudes in Flanders useful. I can also recommend Palmer's earlier work "The Gardeners of Salonika."

 

I felt exactly the same way... where the chapters about Y1 & 2 gave more insight into planning and decision making, the chapter about Y3 left me wanting... there was nothing there that we don't already know from more specialised books but all the same, the end of the book feels like it had to be finished quickly and it was quick to be done with.

But a good read nevertheless. 

Now reading "Winged Victory" by V.M. Yeates and about to start Penny Starn's "Sisters of the Somme" ... title is somewhat misdirecting, as it has nothing to do with the battle of the somme as I initially thought, but more about the life at one particular hospital, but OK... it fits in the current study direction. 

 

M.

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Just finished ' War letters of Bernard Long ' , a short but poignant book containing the letters home of a young subaltern of the W.Yorks

who was killed at Passchendaele .

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I'm currently reading "A war in words" by Svetlana Palmer and Sarah Wallis . It's another collection of diaries and letters but it includes correspondence between Vado Cubrilovic and his sister after the armistice (apparently Vado was one of three Serbians  that went after Ferdinand he was the youngest??)  and also has  german and French children's view of the conflict . Also has accounts of the Italian and Hungarian battles in the Julian Alps. Anyway highly recommend to anyone who hasn't read it as it shows first hand accounts from most theatres including a first hand account from a Ghanian? trooper.

Scotty 

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Just started reading 'Trench life in the front line , World War 1 ' , the diary of Sidney Appleyard  of the 9th London regiment covering the years

1915-17 , it's a very scarce privately published account ( c1966 ) .

 

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Dust Jacket Collector
3 hours ago, Black Maria said:

Just started reading 'Trench life in the front line , World War 1 ' , the diary of Sidney Appleyard  of the 9th London regiment covering the years

1915-17 , it's a very scarce privately published account ( c1966 ) .

 

Never heard of that one, John. Sadly the internet doesn’t want to provide me with a copy.

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46 minutes ago, Dust Jacket Collector said:

Never heard of that one, John. Sadly the internet doesn’t want to provide me with a copy.

I've never seen a copy before i purchased this one Alan . When he retired in 1966 he decided to decipher his war diaries and his niece edited and

put them together in book form . It looks a bit of a D.I.Y job , 68 typed pages with photo, diagrams and maps . I doubt many copies were produced,

maybe just enough for family and friends ?

 

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On ‎26‎/‎07‎/‎2019 at 13:25, Gareth Davies said:

I am reading Cornerstones:

 

 

 

So am I - and it is excellent.

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Currently reading The Eye Of The Storm King George V and the Great War by Alexandra Churchill and published by Helion. 

I am enjoying the book. It is informative and fleshes out not only the character of the King but many others in the forces and the Government and politicians at the time.

However, as with a number of Helion books I have read, there are a number of typographical errors, misspellings, extra words here and there and "fed up of", not a quote, caused a sharp intake of breath. In one sentence I came across the word "lunter" which on reading the sentence again should have been volunteer.

In my view these spoil the read. What happened to proof reading and editing?

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in the event of my moving to a bigger house, with more place for my books, I've been packing and reorganising my "to read" pile as to fit in easier... Finished Penny Starns' "Sisters of the Somme"... mouais... interesting, yes, entertaining certainly but the lack of sources and references makes it hard for me to use it as a scientific references. There is also a lack of a clear structure. It's written in chronological order but one has the feeling the informative bits (gas, various types of wounds, nerves etc...) just thrown in whenever the chance arises. I was expecting a bit more from the book, to be honest. 

I've been working on my notes, finishing the notes on various books read in the last months, and my research on the women buried on the WF lately, but now time to read a bit more. So next on the pile are Hallett's "Nurses of Passchendaele" and Proctor & Grayzel's "Gender in the First World War". 

 

Have a good sunday, 

 

M.

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What mood are you in ? if you fancy reading something on a particular action or campaign I would recommend " a wood called Bourlon " ( the cover up after Cambrai by William Moore .

It's a cracker with a good balance of the action with lots of eye witness accounts from both sides , and the bigger picture so to speak from the planners ambitions . Couldn't wait to finish work every day so I could get back and knock off another few chapters . If you hav'nt already read it try and pick up the hardback pen and sword issue with the excellent drawing of a vickers crew  and a lewis gunner setting up in a shell hole .

Another cracker by an author who's name escapes me ( I have over a hundred books on ww1 and some including this one are packed up in cases ) is " See how they ran " dealing with the 1918 Marne offensive .Or  " Sapper Martin " is the diary of  a young conscript  who served on both the Italian and western fronts and gives a real insight in to conditions and attitudes to the war as well as his own experiences .

If however you are more interested in the bigger picture then you can't go wrong with Niall Ferguson's " The pity of war "  Sometimes these kind of book's can be heavy going but not this one . His research is excellent and I for one found his conclusions intelligent and couldn't help but concur with his overall assessment at the end of it . a pacy read in light of the subject matter and easy to follow . 

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I don't know if the above question was addressed to me particularly, but I read "A wood Called Bourlon" and "Sapper Martin". 

But as far as Mr Ferguson is concerned ... "The Pity of War" ranks very high in the top ten of "worst WWI books ever read" (my opinion of course, you're free to disagree) and the guy once had the guts to call my country an “Artificial, half French, half Dutch Buffer State” on TV... so not my best friend either. 

 

"See how they ran" is also from William Moore. As is "the Thin Yellow Line". 

 

M

 

 

 

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 You must be from Belgium?? We have done a lot on that  Country over the last several years and find it to be pretty remarkable. My wife loves the muscles! 

 

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9 hours ago, joerookery said:

 You must be from Belgium?? We have done a lot on that  Country over the last several years and find it to be pretty remarkable. My wife loves the muscles! 

 

spot on!!

We actually told the Dutch to mind their own beeswax in 1830 … even the French told them to back off when they wanted to "conquer" us back…  

 

but as this is a topic about books, y'all might have a look at these gems:

Anthony MASON's "Xenophobe's Guide to the Belgians"

Alec LeSueur's "Bottoms up in Belgium: Seeking the High Points of the Low Land"

that's for the tourist… once done touristing, you'll be thirsty, so you need Erick Verdonck's "The Belgian Beer Book"

and of course for real Belgium-cycling fans there is Harry Pearson's "The Beast, the Emperor and the Milkman: A Bone-shaking Tour through Cycling's Flemish Heartlands". We've gone from hosting wars to putting cyclists through hell … gniac gniac gniac…

 

and if you want to stick to WWI, then read Jean-Michel VERANNEMAN: Belgium in the Great War, Pen & Sword 2018

 

with that you'll be equipped with everything you need to know about Belgium…

and if you still haven't got enough, make yourself comfortable in your couch with a good Belgian beer and a box of Belgian chocolates and watch "Nothing to Declare" with benoit Poelvoorde and Dany Boon on the telly … that's for the French-Belgian relations…

 

Have a great day!!

 

M.

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Create a list of books! From a self promoting  position I would offer “German failure in Belgium, August 1914.“ Came out in June .

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Something of a side view, but reading John Buchan's complete Hannay series in the soporificc Sardinian sun and, with some reservations,enjoying them as cracking good tales.

Regards

David

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11 hours ago, Marilyne said:

watch "Nothing to Declare" with benoit Poelvoorde and Dany Boon on the telly

Or Jacques Brel on the sound system ;)

 

2 hours ago, David Filsell said:

reading John Buchan's complete Hannay series in the soporificc Sardinian sun 

I can't imagine reading JB in Italy. Scotland or Germany maybe, but not Italy... 

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On 29/09/2019 at 03:35, Marilyne said:

in the event of my moving to a bigger house, with more place for my books, I've been packing and reorganising my "to read" pile as to fit in easier... Finished Penny Starns' "Sisters of the Somme"... mouais... interesting, yes, entertaining certainly but the lack of sources and references makes it hard for me to use it as a scientific references. There is also a lack of a clear structure. It's written in chronological order but one has the feeling the informative bits (gas, various types of wounds, nerves etc...) just thrown in whenever the chance arises. I was expecting a bit more from the book, to be honest. 

I've been working on my notes, finishing the notes on various books read in the last months, and my research on the women buried on the WF lately, but now time to read a bit more. So next on the pile are Hallett's "Nurses of Passchendaele" and Proctor & Grayzel's "Gender in the First World War". 

 

Have a good sunday, 

 

M.

Will be interested in how you find “Nurses of Passchendaele”.  I didn’t much like it. It has been some time since I read it and gave it away to a nurse friend along with another book on nurses on the western front.

 

I also read the Hannay books and quite enjoyed them.

 

Hazel C.

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SJ,

Having already been transported to Scotland, Belgium and France already,  Hannay and I are actually in Switzerland now after a daring visit to Italy and moving in, finally, to a denouement with the beastly and devious Hun spymaster. It's all too exciting when one is concentrating on hot sun, cold beer great pasta, sea food and warm sea water. Dated, but escapist fun, with more coincidences than any reader should have to bear.😊

Regards

David

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19 hours ago, joerookery said:

Create a list of books! From a self promoting  position I would offer “German failure in Belgium, August 1914.“ Came out in June .

 

Well one I should have mentionned straight ahead is "Une Petite Armée dans la Grande Guerre", a book and movie made to point out the excellent work of the Belgian army in the war. this is a book published by Belgian Defence and based on the work that the team around Rob Troubleyn, Malek Azoug and my good friend  Patrick Brion (the two latter being also fantastic photographers) made by searching in Belgian archives at the War museum.

Available copies are quite rare now, I'm afraid, but if you venture out to the museum in Brussels, they might still have some…

 

16 hours ago, David Filsell said:

 John Buchan's complete Hannay series

 

Those are spy novels, right??

 

M.

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Mariline

Not quite. Adventure/crime/ spy stories. One pre Great War, the famous 29 Steps,  two Great War, the second a fascinating overview of the British facing the German March 1918 offensives. The last two are post war. Same hero throughout. Dated certainly but sharply written and highly readable. John Buchan is well worth checking out  on Wiki - he had a fascinating career as politico, in British wartime propaganda and much else. His evocation of nature, wildlife and atmosphere is fascinating. Thoroughly enjoyed reading them - now on last tale.

regards

David

 

Edited by David Filsell
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