Top positive review
21 people found this helpful
Excellent "anecdotal" history.
on 20 June 2002
The Second Battle of Arras in April 1917 is an important Great War Battle which has, undeservedly, received little attention in modern popular histories. Modern authors have tended to concentrate on the more famous Battles of the Somme 1916 and Third Ypres 1917. Yet Arras was a huge Battle for the British Army. Important and interesting in its own right; it was also an important phase in the development of British tactics that led from the debacle of the First Day of the Somme to the triumphs of the Hundred Days.
"Cheerful Sacrifice" therefore, usefully fills a gap in modern histories.
We are particularly fortunate that this book is very well researched and written, with excellent and helpful maps. It covers the whole Battle from its successful opening to its costly conclusion. The lesson of when to "close down" a battle would not be learnt by the British until 1918.
It is what I term "anecdaotal" history in that it presents a series of individual accounts woven together into a coherent story with background explanation. It is in the style of the excellent "The First Day on the Somme." Not only does one gain an understanding of the whole Battle: one also gains something of an understanding of the experiences of the individual "Tommy."
It is an interesting and moving (particularly for those of us who had relatives fighting in the Battle) book. Time has moved on since it was researched and a book like this could not now be written on the Great War. Highly recommended: a must for those interested in the Western Front.