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Collision of Empires (General Military) Hardcover – 20 Jun 2014


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 488 pages
  • Publisher: Osprey Publishing (20 Jun 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1782006486
  • ISBN-13: 978-1782006480
  • Product Dimensions: 16.4 x 4.2 x 24.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 133,655 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Review

"Painstaking research and firsthand accounts propel the author's narrative of events that took place during the first year of the war a century ago. Buttar's splendid hardcover book puts an exclamation point on the reality that their collision in combat resulted in the downfalls of all three empires." --"Toy Soldier & Model Figure" ..".a timely retelling of the early weeks of the war on the Eastern Front." --WWI Historical Association (www.ww1ha.org), October 6, 2014

About the Author

Prit Buttar studied medicine at Oxford and London before joining the British Army as a doctor. After leaving the army, he has worked as a GP, first near Bristol and now in Abingdon, Oxfordshire. He is extensively involved in medical politics, both at local and national level, and serves on the GPs Committee of the British Medical Association. He appears from time to time on local and national TV and radio, speaking on a variety of medical issues. He contributes regularly to the medical press. An expert on the Eastern Front during World War II, he previously wrote the critically acclaimed Battleground Prussia: The Assault on Germanys Eastern Front 194445 (Osprey 2010).

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

25 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Dr Barry Clayton TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 27 Jun 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Prit Buttar's latest book does all those interested in the Great War a valuable service, he reminds us that the war was every bit as nasty and bloody on the Eastern Front as on the Western Front. For far too long the focus on the latter has led to a serious imbalance and ignorance about the true nature of the war.

Churchill wrote a book about the Eastern Front, it was entitled: 'The Unknown War'. It was an apt title for while many can name three battles on the Western Front I doubt if many can name more than one, if that, in the East. There is still no official Soviet history of the army's performance in the war. German accounts are heavily biased, a bias that was transferred to that over-rated writer Liddell Hart.

The popular image of the war is a massive convulsion that transformed parts of France and Belgium into water filled trenches, where thousands were killed by gas, snipers or shells. This image is, of course, true as far as it goes but it fails to convey the full picture. Trench warfare has always been a somewhat dubious motif for the war because in the East another very bloody war raged on a vast scale. Static warfare did take place but the vastly different landscape allowed for the use of cavalry and the finding and use of flanks. The ratio of troops to space was also totally different. Some areas were vast swamps, dense forests while others were flat and open. The enormous Pripet Marshes forced the Russians to operate as two independent commands. The Carpathian mountains formed a formidable barrier in the south. The different topography forced armies to use different tactics whereas on the Western Front the tactics remained uniform until 1918.

It is worth noting that deaths were a higher percentage of German casualties in the east than in the west.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Ned Middleton HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on 28 Aug 2014
Format: Hardcover
Now that the 100th anniversary of the start of WW1 has passed, we are inundated with all manner of books about various aspects of that conflict - some of which are refreshingly new. Of these, I found this particular work to be exceptional. Even if we are not fully acquainted with specific details, most people seem to know something about WW1 - most notably the Western Front, trench warfare and the emergence of the tank. It would appear that few, however, know anything at all about the Eastern Front - with some, perhaps, confusing the subject with the Far East.

In this first-rate work by an author not previously known to me, we learn a great deal about the bitter fighting between the three mighty empires of Germany, Austro-Hungary and Russia. It is a work where names previously unknown slowly become as familiar as any others from this period in history. How ironic, for example, to learn that a failure of cooperatioin between Russia’s senior commander’s Rennenkampf and Samsonov led to the defeat at Tannenberg. It brought to mind ‘the war between the Allied generals of WW2’ - but I digress.

This is a thick book of 470 pages packed with narrative and information supported by 17 maps appearing when relevant to the text. There are also two sections of glossy b&w historic photographs from the period (32 images altogether) showing leading personalities and war scenes. The book itself, however, commences with 5 pages of ‘Dramatis Personae’ in which the names and positions held by the leading players are all listed in alphabetical order by country. Very useful!
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By HRCostigan on 15 July 2014
Format: Hardcover
I previously enjoyed Buttar's book on the Baltic States in WWII, and I looked forward to reading this when I saw that it would be released a few weeks after I finished 'Between Giants'. I wasn't disappointed by another excellent book, but this work has more obvious limitations. In particular, I felt that the balance between military history and political and social history leaned rather too far in favour of guns and maps in this volume. Buttar's work on military history is excellent and itself strikes an ideal balance between the differing military perspectives on the conflict, and the book is well worth reading for this reason alone.

Reading it though, I occasionally longed for Buttar to zoom out completely and find out what politicians in Petrograd, Vienna and Budapest, and Berlin all had to say about the conflict by Christmas of 1914. Were civilian politicians in control at this point? Did civilians really understand just how serious the military limitations were? Was there yet any significant degree of opposition to the war at this stage? I'd hesitantly guess "No" to all of these, but it's a shame we don't find out in this volume. Likewise, even though the political bickering in the military is well covered in all three countries, civilian political bickering - especially in Austria-Hungary - is something I'm hoping will be in future volumes.

On the other end of the scale, Buttar hasn't yet covered the lives of civilians and societies in the war zones as he did in the way which made 'Between Giants' so appealing. Almost certainly this is because this volume (part of a series) ends around Christmas 1914 and there can't be the sources specific to that five month period alone to really justify a proper treatment when there will be space and time in later books.
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