This book, Blood on the Snow - the Carpathian Winter War of 1915, is the worst military history I have read in the past ten years. Because of the high quality of their other military histories, I am surprised that it was published by the University Press of Kansas.
The text is disorganized, repetitive and poorly written. Nothing suggests that it was edited. There are interesting facts presented, but not in an organized manner. Paragraphs routinely include unrelated thoughts, and often have a single unrelated declarative sentence dropped in. Frequently there is a statement that some unit "must" do something without any explanation of who or what decided it "must" be done.
The text combines a description of troop movements with thematic explanations of Austro-Hungarian failure. The description of troop movements is almost impossible to follow. The explanations of Austro-Hungarian failure (horrible weather, disorganization, inadequate supply, loss of trained officers and others) are presented primarily as conclusions and repeated frequently without much analysis.
Some more specific criticisms follow. These are taken from the beginning of the book because I lost interest in detailed reading rapidly.
The units of the Austro-Hungarian forces are poorly described. The author refers to them as "Hapsburg" or "Austro-Hungarian" or by an ethnic name such as "Hungarian" or "Bosnian-Herzegovinian" without explanation of whether they all mean the same or not. Nothing in the book explains how the units of the Austro-Hungarian forces were actually named.
Similarly, Austro-Hungarian forces are frequently described in a way that does not describe their size. On page 13 "March Brigades" are described in a way that credits each of them with approximately 115,000 troops. Whatever they were, they clearly were not conventional "brigades" by size and the difference is left unexplained..
On pages 28 and 29, the author identifies "Army Group Pflanzer-Baltin", without any further indication of its size. On page 37 the "Army Group" is described as containing 4 1/2 divisions. On the following page 38, it is 4 divisions. In the Austro-Hungarian forces of the time "Army Group" may have had a definition different than it common usage in WWII, but the author offers no explanation for this small an organization being called an Army Group.
On page 46, a German contingent is described as "two- and three-quarter German infantry and one cavalry division". The following parenthetical list names "half the 3rd Garde Division" and two infantry divisions and a cavalry division. There may be a reason for counting half the 3rd Garde Division as three-quarters of an infantry division, but no explanation is given.
On page 47, what appears to be the same organization is, in two adjacent paragraphs, called "Hungarian Group Szurmay", "Corps Szurmay" and "Army Group Szurmay". These may all mean the same, but using three different names for the same unit is not explained.
Frequently units are just described as "units" without any indication of size. That a "unit" has been reduced to 300 men doesn't tell the reader much if the nominal size of the unit is undisclosed. That an Austro-Hungarian regiment faced five Russian "units" is similarly uninformative.
On page 47 there is a reference to a "cannon regiment" being "in repair' for days. I would expect anyone reading this to have a guess what a cannon regiment is, but I don't know precisely what it was in the Austro-Hungarian Army and the author doesn't bother to explain. Similarly we know generally what repair is, but what does it mean here? Were all of the unit's cannons being repaired at one time? Was the unit withdrawn from deployment for general maintenance and repair? The author provides no details, just an almost random thought with no explanation.
Several of the maps in the book are of little help in understanding anything. I found no references in text to any map and often had to flip from map to map trying to find one that appeared to bear some relation to the textual description. Maps on pages 26 and 39 are both identified as showing the situation in December, 1914. The armies shown on the two maps are not the same and there is at least 150 miles between the positions of the Russian 8th Army on the two maps. In the map on page 39 the Austro-Hungarian and Russian armies are shown as separated by about 50 miles. Both maps could be accurate, but the text provides no obvious explanation for the differences between them and front lines fifty miles apart seems suspicious.
The author begins by stating the Carpathian Campaign is little known. Admittedly, I knew little of it. Unfortunately, his book did very little to increase my knowledge.