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Remembered Today:

What WW1 books are you reading?


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I am a book collector I have most of the readily available books on Waterloo.

And I have recently re-started reading about World War 1 as both of my grandparents were on the western front and came back.

Like many others, I tend to buy books (when I can afford them) have a quick scan through for any new content or theory and then put them on a shelf.

But I did just finish reaing cover to cover Forgotten Victory by Gary Sheffield.

I really enjoy his writing style and his analysis of some of the fighting and the way the British Army improved over the years.

But I did not like his chapter on 1918 where he glosses over the very bad situation on the British front of the two Kaiser offensives. The British lost thousands on the first day and the line nearly broke.

I also did not like the last chapter where he analysised the treaty of Versailles.

But overall I would recommend the book.

 

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I am now reading (planning to read it from cover to cover)

Lost Opportunity The Battle of The Ardennes 1914

By Simon House

First I am amazed at the detail he goes into. He started the book as his thesis in his fifties!

I have always been interested in the Battle of the Marne and we hear of the huge French losses of 1914 and 15 in their blue coats and red trousers and with white gloved officers.

But once again this is a bit of a myth, and Simon shows (or will do when I get to it) how the French had several opportunities to breakthrough on22nd August.

Which was the day they lost 22,000 men killed (more than Britain on the first day of the Somme)

 

 

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Struggling a bit through McGreal's "War on hospital ships"... definitely not what I hoped it to be. It sometimes seems like information has just been glued together to fill the pages, with a sentence or two copy-pasted in between at random to make for some sort of transition.

But going back to basics and following another conversation here on the forum about the best sources concerning logistics,, I've prepared Ian Brown's "British Logistics on the Western Front" and Michael Young's "Army service Corps 1902-1918" for the upcoming weeks at the Log Coord cel … I'll have some evenings on my hands for that.

I've read Brown in 2009, but lost the notes I took to a computer bug. Would be interesting to know of the book went out of the library since then… LOL.

 

M.

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On 25/10/2019 at 16:02, DigNap15 said:

I am now reading (planning to read it from cover to cover)

Lost Opportunity The Battle of The Ardennes 1914

By Simon House

 

I am sure you will enjoy. I reviewed it in the Book Review Forum last year. It certainly addresses a couple of myths. Do you have the map book that goes with it?

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Finished reading 'Gunner on the Somme' * the memoir of William Robert Price . He was a highly educated botanist who because of a speech impediment decided

he could not serve as an officer so joined the R.F.A as an ordinary gunner . He was also quite well off financially but this and his intellect didn't alienate him from

his fellow gunners who all seemed to like him , he also seemed to be on good terms with the officers he met . He served in F&F from early 1915 until wounded 

at Passchendaele and wrote up his memoirs in the early 60s but couldn't find a publisher so sent them off to the IWM . I found the book interesting , he gives 

quite a detailed account of the duties of a gunner , it also contains some of his own photographs as unusually he took a camera with him to France. 

 

One remark by the author amused me , when discussing the shortage of rations he mentions that there was always an abundance of cheese but little bread and 

adds " I discovered that no matter how hungry you are you cannot eat cheese by itself ".

 

* The History Press 2016 

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32 minutes ago, Black Maria said:

" I discovered that no matter how hungry you are you cannot eat cheese by itself ".


I feel that the comment could certainly warrant its own thread in Skindles😁
By the way, the book it is in my ever increasing pile to be read, will move it up a bit higher on your recommendation.

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8 minutes ago, Knotty said:


I feel that the comment could certainly warrant its own thread in Skindles😁
By the way, the book it is in my ever increasing pile to be read, will move it up a bit higher on your recommendation.

:D 

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3 hours ago, Black Maria said:

 " I discovered that no matter how hungry you are you cannot eat cheese by itself ".

 

I agree… one needs a good beer to go with the cheese… 

and a good book to go with the two of them…

 

M.

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44 minutes ago, Marilyne said:

 

I agree… one needs a good beer to go with the cheese… 

and a good book to go with the two of them…

 

M.

I can't disagree with that , a good Belgian beer of course ( is there any other kind ?)

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On my recent quasi-annual trip to South Africa this year I picked up "Louis Botha's War", an account of the campaign in South-West Africa 1914-1915 by Adam Cruise, published by local imprint Zebra Press in 2015. I was interested in comparing it with Helion's "The Horns of the Beast", by James Stejskal, published the previous year, presumably both of them to mark the centenary of the campaign. The latter is probably easier to obtain for UK readers but the former paints a broader picture, giving more about Botha's career and also the nationalist rebellion that broke out when he opted to aid the British government on the outbreak of war in invading German territory. Stejskal on the other hand concentrates on the Swakop river campaign following the landing at Walvis Bay, with more specifically military details of units, weapons, etc. Incidentally Cruise cites Forum Pal Harry "Bushfighter"'s website as one of his sources.

 

Two complementary books then on an interesting sideshow of the war. The South Africans  might have found it much tougher had the German commander, Lieutenant-Colonel Joachim von Heydebreck, who had already defeated an attempted cross-border incursion in the south, not been killed in a rifle-grenade accident in November 1914. 

 

Cheers Martin B

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 29/10/2019 at 23:24, Crunchy said:

I am sure you will enjoy. I reviewed it in the Book Review Forum last year. It certainly addresses a couple of myths. Do you have the map book that goes with it?

Yes, I am half way thought it, I have found his writing style very hard to read. I can only handle two pages at a time.

I do have the map book which is marvelous.

I read your review which was very detailed and added some of my own comments.

Edited by DigNap15
added a few words
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  • 2 weeks later...

Moving on… Brown was as good as I remembered but Young's "ASC" though quite well researched was quite strenous… now off to a bit lighter reading: I'm re-reading Joyce Marlow's "The Virago book of Women of the Great War" and discovering Kate Luard's memoirs, after reading so much about his lady in Christine Hallett's "Nurses of Passchendaele"...

funny how when moving one can re-discover so many books that were stacked behind the piles of more recent lectures … maybe I should move more often… NOT…

 

M.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Really need to savour this… I was in Heverlee this Morning finalising the last elements of the selling of my appartment and handing over the keys and then had a chat with the bank on how to invest the leftover money… so going back to Marche for half a day was a bit dumb… so instead I drove to Evere, and took advantage of my passing at the Library to elect it as my temporary office… working, surrounded by books… and without a phone ringing… bliss !!!

So my good friend Daniel, Keeper of the Books dove into his trove to get my requests and this is on my reading list for the next 5 weeks:

  • Colin Pengelly's "Albert Ball, VC"
  • Lawson: "The First Air Campaign"
  • Freddy Vinet's "La Grande Grippe", about the Spanish Flu epidemic
  • Richard Holmes' "Acts of War"
  • Timothy McCracken's "Images of war: The RAMC in the Great War"

so yes, the usual happened: came in with a list of three, got out with 5 because new acquisitions always hold interesting books.

 

Have a good day!!

 

M.

 

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Dust Jacket Collector
4 hours ago, Marilyne said:

Really need to savour this… I was in Heverlee this Morning finalising the last elements of the selling of my appartment and handing over the keys and then had a chat with the bank on how to invest the leftover money.

What could be more satisfying than investing that spare cash in a few rare WW1 books. I can recommend a man in Brighton who’d be more than happy to set you on the perilous path of bibliomania!

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18 hours ago, Dust Jacket Collector said:

What could be more satisfying than investing that spare cash in a few rare WW1 books. I can recommend a man in Brighton who’d be more than happy to set you on the perilous path of bibliomania!

This an invitation to visit Brighton???

I'll have to check my minister-schedule!!

 

M.

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  • 5 weeks later...
NorthStaffsPOW

Thought I'd bring this topic back to the top. 

 

Just finished Haupt Heydemarck's War Flying in Macedonia. A good, fast paced read that gives some insight into the efforts of the German Air Force supporting the Bulgarian and Turkish on the Salonika front. 

 

Bit dated with some Boys Own style flair. Also I would have preferred if Heydemarck had stuck to his own experiences rather than waxing lyrical about Rudolf von Eschwege, the Eagle of the Aegean. Such yarns were entertaining but I am inclined to question the accuracy of exploits recorded by someone who did not directly witness them. 

 

All the best and a Happy New Year. 

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suesalter1

Currently reading 'Wounded' by Emily Mayhew. This was on the recommendation of someone on the forum.

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Michelle Young

Having really enjoyed Rugbeans in the Great War and Missing, I'm finding the Alexandra Churchill book on George V rather hard going. Written in a really peculiar style. 

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As the TV schedules completely bore me, I bought 'Famous 1914 - 1918' by Richard Van Emden and Victor Piuk, which details the war experiences of such diverse people as John Reginald Christie and George Mallory to name just two.

 

Rioja and Malbec will be brought up from cellar (Morrisons in reality). The reading glasses will be sprayed with 'Elbow Grease' and the mobile switched off.

 

And if anyone rings on my doorbell while I am indulging myself, heaven help them!

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1 hour ago, maxi said:

Rioja and Malbec will be brought up from cellar (Morrisons in reality). The reading glasses will be sprayed with 'Elbow Grease' and the mobile switched off.

 

A very civilised plan if I might say so. I've read most of it and really enjoyed it, however for some reason I tend only to read it when I'm waiting for the Eurostar at Lille Europe (I'm always ludicrously early).

 

Pete.

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Martin Bennitt

I have just read 'Frère d'âme' by David Diop, a slim novel about a tirailleur sénégalais in the French army who avenges the death of his best mate from a disembowelling by meting out similar treatment to German soldiers and bringing back their severed arms, at first to praise and then to discomfiture of his comrades. It has won several Francophone literary prizes and is due to be published in English towards the end of this year but it will need a very astute translator to do it justice, methinks.

 

Cheers Martin B

 

 

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Currently reading Edwin T Woodhall 'Spies of the Great War:  Adventures with the Allied Secret Service' (Mellifont, 1935).  I have found several paragraphs that are true.  

 

 

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16 hours ago, maxi said:

As the TV schedules completely bore me, I bought 'Famous 1914 - 1918' by Richard Van Emden and Victor Piuk, which details the war experiences of such diverse people as John Reginald Christie and George Mallory to name just two.

 

Rioja and Malbec will be brought up from cellar (Morrisons in reality). The reading glasses will be sprayed with 'Elbow Grease' and the mobile switched off.

 

And if anyone rings on my doorbell while I am indulging myself, heaven help them!

 

I have "Famous" on the waiting list… do tell us if it's any good, so I can move it up or down the list…

Like the reading strategy too

I'm reading the last chapters of "That Friend of Mine" right now and then will make a little priority list for the upcoming weeks…

 

M.

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