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Remembered Today:

What WW1 books are you reading?


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Thanks Kate

Am gratified that my $1 Aud wasn't exorbitant. Hope the Salvoes spend it wisely.

Can only hope young Robert isn't depending too much on Royalties. He's had a 100% strike rate as far as we know.

ooRoo

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  • 2 months later...

I've just started Lusitania and it is a great read. I like the way the author has laid the ground work identifying the players, and perception of large ships and U boats before the war. As someone who knew verey little about the sinking I have found it a great foundation book to understanding what happened and why.

Andy

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I'm reading All Quiet on the Home Front by Steve Humphries and Richard van Emden, and British Generalship in the Twentieth Century, by Major-General EKG Sixsmith.

Cheers,

S

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Having just finished "The Hell They Called High Wood", I've now jumped forward a war and started reading "Amageddon: The Battle for Germany 1944/1945" by Max Hastings.

A really good detailed read, but I suspect it could alienate many people as it could be seen to be quite critical of a lot of actions (or inactions!!).

Steve

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I just received Shane Schreiber's book "Shock Army of the British Empire- The Canadian Corps in the Last 100 days of the Great War". Fascinating stuff, and the author stresses that it is a critical analysis of the formation's string of successes beginning at Amiens in 1918 through to the end of hostilities, and not another bit of nationalistic propaganda.

I am about half way through and I must say it is extremely well done. I was impressed with the section comparing the firepower of a Canadian division with a British division. The CEF organization was almost like a mini-corps. Examples include: a British division had three engineer field companies ( 657 men) and a pioneer battalion of 900; a CEF division had a full brigade of engineers (over 3000 men) plus a pontoon bridging unit. A BEF divisional machine gun battalion had less than 500 men while the Canadian MG battalion had 1500. Overall divisional numbers BEF about 15,000; CEF 21,000. Infantry: BEF 8,100; CEF 12,000. Automatic weapons; BEF 1 for every 61 men; CEF 1 for every 13 men.Apparently at Corps level the difference was just as obvious; much more signals and transport capability, repair facilities, and especially artillery.

Obviously Currie, with the luxury of reporting to Ottawa, had many advantages over comparable British corps commanders.

So far a very interesting read.

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I'm reading Richard Holmes' biography of Wellington. Er, guess that makes me the only one here not reading something WW1 related :unsure:.

Paul

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Hi Terry,

That is a great book I found it in a used bookstore in Oregon right when I was beginning to look into the CEF. One of the best 'accidental' book buys I've ever made!

To stay on topic I'm currently re-reading 'A Concise History of the Russian Revolution' by Richard Pipes. I have mixed feelings towards Richard Pipes, I sometimes feel the facts suffer for the crusading against the 'leftist' histories of the RR. This is background as I picked up a couple of books on the Czechoslovak Legion and wanted to refresh my memory by re-reading some Revolution and Civil War titles.

Take care,

Neil

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Hi Neil,

I have scant knowledge of the Russian revolution, only general stuff. However, after I picked up a medal pair to the CSEF (actually to a fellow living in Connecticut) I did obtain Swettenham's "Allied Intervention in Russia 1918-19", although I have not had a chance to do much more to quickly glance through it.

Cheers,

Terry

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Guest Bunker1917

I am reading Storms of steel by Ernst Jünger and after finishing that book I will read "The wardiaries of Louis Barthas 1914-1918"

I also have this nice comic by Tardi, which is called "Trench warfare 1914-1918", the comic is drawn quite raw and shows exactly how the war looked like, it contains several stories which all end up with the character dying, the stories are hard and relentless and really confront you with the hard reality of the trenchwarfare from that time.

Another comic by Tardi about WW1 is "Private Varlot"

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The Origins of the First World War - Great Power Rivalry and German War Aims.

A collection of essays edited by H W Koch. Incluses work by Joll, Koch, Fischer, Zechlin, Geiss.

Second edition of 1984, discusses the various sides of the war guilt debate, how and why it started, Social Drawinism, imperialism, pre-war vs during-war aims, etc. I'm still no closer to understanding why a continent comitted mass suicide.

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To try to counteract the tendency to think of WW1 as a British war, I have acquired 3 books by Pierre Miquel. I am slowly picking my way through " Le Chemin de Dames". How I wish I had paid more attention in French class all these years ago. :( . When I have read these books, I will start on "Storm of Steel" in English, for yet another angle. I like the Official Histories for the years and actions I am interested in.

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Guest scarletto

Finished an excellent book, the vanished army by Tim Carew about the B.E.F 1914.

Just started the Bond of Sacrifice a biographical list of Officers killed Aug-Dec 1914, interesting seeing the pictures of the Officers ive read about and seeing their backgrounds, probably explains as has been said, why so many stately homes are now owned by the National Trust.

Other excellent books

The Mons Star by David Ascoli

Mons by John Terraine

Mons by Horsfall & Cave

now if someone put all the best bits from the above into one book with Tim Carews id be very happy :D

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Scarletto,

From looking at your list of Mons related books, have you read "Farewell Leicester Square" by Kate Caffrey? It also covers the period August-November,1914 and it well done.

Cheers,

Terry

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"Spearhead to Victory / Canada and the Great War" (1987) by Daniel G. Dancocks - covers the battles of 1918 starting with Amiens.

It was very difficult to get a copy of this book - surprisingly it turned up with the otherwise poor selection of WWI books at a small community library.

I would really like to read Storm of Steel next, but can't locate a copy.

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I would really like to read Storm of Steel next, but can't locate a copy.

Really! It was our book club selection in Nov and people found it at the book store and local libraries. Let me know if you still can find it (www.bn.com) and I can send a copy.

Also be aware that different versions have been edited/translated differently. Our group discussed it, some thought it was to be PC and others just thought it was the mood fo the time.

Andy

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Hi!

Thanks for your offer. I did see it in the book store a long time ago, but it was only available in hard cover - over $40 - a bit steep. I was hoping to find a paperback one. I'll try checking a larger library.

Marika

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I've just finished a fantastic book that I picked up for a couple of quid at a second hand book store.

The book is called Into Battle by John Glubb.

John Glubb was a 2nd Lieutenant in the 7th field company, Royal engineers.

and the book is a diary he kept from his arrival in 1915 to to the end of the war.

He did rather well, as he later became Lieutenant-General Sir John Glubb KCB, CMG, DSO, OBE,MC.

As with all books this type, he brings the story to life, and you end up caring for the men,and end up feeling so sad when they die.

So they will be more planned visits to the cemeteries on the western front this year, so I can pay my respects to the brave men in the book.

Highly recommended, but it's out of print as usual. It makes my blood boil when I see book shops full of Z-list celebrity tripe, and books like this are largely forgotten.

Happy reading.

Ian.

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Just started a copy of Before Endeavours Fade by Rose Coombs(card backed edition), that I was given for Xmas.

As others have said packed with information and maps- so far enjoying it- especially the 70's cars in many of the modern pics

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Christmas money enabled me to splurge.

Command on the Western Front - Prior & Wilson. Excellent, IMHO, but is starting to convert me away from being a Haig apologist. On that note, I think I'll read Denis Winter's book on Haig just for a bit of fun (Gordon Corrigan's "Mud, Blood & Poppycock" and Robin Nielland's "The Great War Generals on the Western Front 1914-1918" are standing by to relieve my anxieties afterwards :P ).

Plumer - Next on the list.

Vimy - Pierre Berton (?? sp) Third.

Waiting for Fire Power (Bidwell & Graham) to be available in a Pen&Sword imprint.

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I was just re-reading "Haig's Command," by Denis Winter. He really hates the Field Marshal, and accused him of everything short of bestiality. The cover says, "Haig's Command: A Re-Appraisal."

I showed that to a friend, and he said, "What does the book say, Haig was a genius?"

"No, it says he was an idiot."

"That's a 're-appraisal?'" :blink:

Maybe it's a re-re-appraisal. :lol:

I gave it a go last night, and have to admit that I didn't finish it.

Something about the book repelled me. Maybe it was his automatic conviction that a conspiracy existed to fix history and to deny him sources for the book. Maybe it was the not-so-subtle way that he raved on about Haig's physical attractiveness and then hinted about the homosexuality of some of his benefactors (if you're going to say he slept his way to the top, you should have the courage to say it up front!!!).

Maybe it was his refusal to quote sources with the justification "all the sources have been corrupted." His statement about the incomplete German records - to paraphrase, "of course, given the way they were stored, there's no way the RAF could have bombed them, so what happened to them?" neglects the Soviet occupation of Berlin after the war. He also neglects to justify within the body of the text, leaving it for the footnotes, that the missing records in Kew also were not damaged by (German) bombing (in WW2).

What got to me most was that I felt it was all a load of unsubstantiated hogwash - so much of what he claims people said is totally unreferenced, and he could have made it up for all I know - yet other books with a similar vein of punitive judgement (Alan Clark's "The Donkeys" for example) haven't turned me off in the same way. Basically, the book is a character assassination.

A rather odd transition for me - having been brought up on the 'stupid charges at barbed wire and MGs' codswallop and then converted to Terraine's way of thinking, reading Travers (The Killing Ground) and Prior/Wilson (Command on the W.F.) has made it quite clear that someone (Sir DH among others) had blundered, but Winter's case left me feeling quite unconvinced.

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Ian wrote

It makes my blood boil when I see book shops full of Z-list celebrity tripe, and books like this are largely forgotten.

I couldn't agree more.

What also saddens me is that yesterday I visited my local Central Resources Library, and spent a great two hours going throughthe Times Official Histories. As usual they were selling off books that people either no longer want to borrow or, I suppose, are not in good enough condition to loan. I picked up a lovely little book about Rangoon in 1942 that was last borrowed in 1992 (OK, not WW1 but a man's gotta have some vices!) for the princely sum of £1. Earlier on in the year they had a book on Arnhem written by Col John Frost (you know, Anthony Hopkins!) on sale for the same price - and that in the year of the 60th anniversary of that action!

Mind you, my wife's got a nice book on celebrity diets....

Best not to think about it too much

Nick

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