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Call to Arms: The British Army 1914-18 (Cassell) Paperback – 27 Apr 2006

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Product details

  • Paperback: 576 pages
  • Publisher: Phoenix; New Ed edition (27 April 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0304367222
  • ISBN-13: 978-0304367221
  • Product Dimensions: 23.2 x 16.1 x 4.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 662,339 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

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Product Description


'... illuminating... Charles Messenger has provided us with a lesson in excellence.' (SCOTTISH LEGION NEWS )

'detailed and comprehensive... also fascinating to read... Thoroughly reccommended.' (MILITARY ILLUSTRATED )

'comprehensive... based on years of research, this will become the standard work of reference' (MILITARIA MART ) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Charles Messenger served 20 years as a Regular Officer in the Royal Tank Regiment and is now a professional military historian and defence analyst. He is the author of over 30 books, including THE SECOND WORLD WAR IN THE WEST in the Cassell History of Warfare series, and has also scripted and produced several military history documentary series for television.

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By John Jones on 9 July 2006
Format: Hardcover
I like books of two types. Firstly, those that take a subject apart and push it back together again, adding to what you know, and secondly those that you can dip into, and learn a little that may be you didn't know before. This book is of the latter type. Covering many different aspects of the war, the book is well written and ideal for that longish train journey, or sit in the garden. For the casual reader, there is much of interest and yet for the 'in depth' reader there'll be much new or unmet stuff too.
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28 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Chris Baker VINE VOICE on 12 Aug. 2005
Format: Hardcover
Wow. Before I say anything else about this book, go away and buy it. Charles Messenger, already well known as a respected and highly readable military historian, has written a magnum opus here and I cannot recommend it highly enough to anyone interested in the facts of the development of the British Army during the Great War.
Do not expect tales of campaigns here nor much on battle tactics. This is a serious examination of the changes in structure and methods that took the army from being a relatively small, professional body whose technology was largely that of the late 19th century to a vast citizen army that had learned to fight an all-arms war using a new array of fighting technologies in just four years. The depth of research and sweep of coverage is simply amazing, and I was not at all surprised to discover that it took Charles five years to compile it. In truth, it is really a lifetime's work.
Barely a nook or cranny of the army escapes Charles's attention, from the formation of obscure labour units to the rules of recruitment, the adoption of new weaponry, morale, discipline and training. Inevitably, being full of facts and detail, "Call to arms" is not perhaps a fast paced, can't put down, bedtime reading book. What it is, is an indispensible reference which deserves a place on the shelf of any military historian.
I am especially proud to see that Charles lists my own website in his bibliography. Respectable internet sources are becoming just as important as the traditionally published work and Charles is among the first to acknowledge their value. He has also made reference to the Great War Forum and our network of "pals" who are so free with their own expertise.
Interested in the British Army of 1914-1918? What are you waiting for?
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Michael David Booker on 1 Feb. 2007
Format: Paperback
At the outbreak of the Great War, Britain's army was little more than an imperial police force and although it was professional in nature, it was not prepared for conflict of this magnitude. Numbering less than 250,000 men it was severely stretched, due to the requirement to serve both at home as well as in the far flung corners of the empire. Our army was also considerably smaller in size than those of our European neighbours and more often than not even at home, was considered to be the poor relation of the Royal Navy, who at that time were projected to be the true defenders of the realm.

There was now an immediate need to recruit, train and equip a new and more efficient army and as the war continued and the years passed, the number of men in uniform grew to an amazing 8.5million. This in itself brought its own problems in respect of feeding, clothing, accommodation, equipment, discipline, transportation and administration, not to mention health and fitness, together with morale issues.

The highly respected author of this most informative book has over 30 splendid titles to his credit and in this important volume, has provided the reader with a wealth of accurate and highly detailed information covering all of the above matters together with a wide variety of other fascinating subjects from the role of women in uniform through to officer selection, new weapons and arms of service, conscription, territorials and even the distribution of honours and awards.

The reader will also find many superb black and white photographs together with a full breakdown of infantry units and commands around the globe.
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