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Forgotten Victory: The First World War: Myths and Realities [Kindle Edition]

Gary Sheffield
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (56 customer reviews)

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Product Description

Product Description

The First World War is arguably the most misunderstood event in twentieth century history.

In this classic book, the leading military historian Professor Gary Sheffield argues that while the war was certainly tragic, it was not futile; and although frequently condemned as 'lions led by donkeys', in reality the British citizen army became a highly effective fighting force, which in 1918 won the greatest series of victories in British military history.

Forgotten Victory, first published in 2001 is a challenging and controversial book. It was described in 2013 by Professor David Reynolds as 'the most significant of the revisionist works' on the British Army in the First World War.

While it does not underestimate the scale of the human tragedy or play down the disasters, it explodes many myths about the war, placing it in its true historical context.

For this new edition, Forgotten Victory has been updated with a new chapter.

'Outstanding... for any student of the First World War, particularly beginners, this is essential reading' Sir Michael Howard, Royal United Services Institute Journal

'This is revisionist history at its best - thought provoking and original' , Trevor Royle, Sunday Herald

'A remarkable and masterful book' , Tim Newark, Military Illustrated

'One can only hope that [Gary Sheffield's] compassionate, clearly argued book will displace the [mythical] version' David Horspool, Guardian

'Gary Sheffield's Forgotten Victory ... is essential reading ...and an essential corrective to the way [the First World War] is "taught" in many schools. Tragic - yes, but futile -no; wasteful - yes, but unnecessary - no', Alan Judd, Sunday Telegraph

Gary Sheffield is an English academic at the University of Wolverhampton and a military historian. He has published widely, especially on the First World War, and contributes to many newspapers, journals and magazines.

Endeavour Press is the UK's leading independent publisher of digital books.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1291 KB
  • Print Length: 319 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Endeavour Press (27 Aug. 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00N3RCHB2
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (56 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #793 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Gary Sheffield is one of the more widely known of the so-called Revisionist historians, who seek to give an informed view of the Great War through an understanding of primary sources of evidence from the period, rather than the fallacious views which found their way into the popular perception of the War in the early-1960’s and which largely persist to this day. Forgotten Victory is one of the cornerstones of that school of thought. However, unlike so many works by academic historians this is no dry and dusty academic volume, written for an audience of a few dozens, at most, of his peers. It is a book for the interested amateur and the layman as well.

In a set of thematic chapters Sheffield first lays bare the skeleton of the public myth and then sets about methodically dismantling it, piece by piece, by showing the fault-lines that lie beneath it. One of the keys to its success was demonstrating sourcing to an academic standard and putting its evidence-base beyond reproach, whilst being written in a language accessible to many. When originally published it sold well and was generally well-reviewed and received. But, as will always be the case when someone contradicts deeply-held ideas, it caused some controversy from people unwilling to have lifelong concepts of a ‘futile’ war challenged so directly.

It was not an entirely original work, as the author acknowledges, being a synthesis of the best material available from the then-current thinking of others, all of which he acknowledges, with the addition of a measure of his own original research.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding 4 Dec. 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
It is popular in military history circles to glorify German capabilities while being critical of Russian and British. It is obvious that this started with WW 1. This is a plausible and insightful analysis of the capabilities of the BEF. Well overdue refreshing. It also helps in understanding British doctrine of Bit and Hold .It is not as dramatic as blitzkrieg but it does the most important thing an Army can do, It wins wars. This is a clear and insightful analysis of how. Thoroughly recommend it.
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71 of 76 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A true WW1 classic (already) 28 Jan. 2005
By oldhasbeen VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback
Firstly, a word about what this book isn't - it is not intended to be narrative, year by year account of WW1. Many such books already exist, I found Huw Strachan's very good.
What this book does offer is a reappraisal of WW1, comparing the realities of the Great War with the tired stereotypes and myths that are served up regularly (and unquestioningly) in WW1 films, books and documentaries. Dr Sheffied does not flinch from asking the hard questions, and some readers will be shocked, or possibly angered, by some of his findings. But you don't have to agree with every word of it to find this an outstanding contribution to war history.
Apart from being an outstanding historian, the author is also an excellent writer who retains the reader's attention with stylist prose and wit. Unlike some other "revisionist" authors, he also writes with great compassion for those caught up in the war and resists the trap of rubbishing anyone who has written anything contrary to his thesis, except in cases where it is truly deserved (Alan Clark's dreadful "The Donkeys" being a case in point.)
In short, I wholly recommend this book to anyone with even a passing interest in the Great War.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This should be required reading for all the "lions led by donkeys" people. A compelling case is made for a full re-assessment of the performance of the British Army and its general staff during WW1. Well written by a distinguished academic, it is no hymn to slaughter but a sober and thoughtful analysis of what went right as well as what went wrong. The 100 days in 1918 represented one of the outstanding British victories in all its history - and there have been many victories down the ages.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Gary Sheffield has produced a thought provoking, incisive and accessible piece of work that blasts an important hole into the Blackadder view of the First World War.

His arguments are well researched, well presented and fearlessly delivered that make this opus compelling and convincing. With the centenary of the First World War in full throttle, this is an important work to add to the armoury to aid our understanding of this seminal and utterly savage conflict of the early twentieth century.
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67 of 73 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent reappraisal of the British Army. 7 Oct. 2003
By Matt M.
Format:Paperback
So often thought of in the ideal of poets such as Owen and Sassoon, Gary Sheffield argues that this was hardly the typical view of the British soldier in the Great War. The old line of the British Army being an archaic institution of incompetant officers and disillusioned soldiers is refuted as a myth of post-war pacifist literature. In reality, the BEF experienced the greatest learning curve of all the armies in the war, and profited most from the hotbed of technological innovations and ideas (the tank, air reconaissance and the "creeping barrage"). The evetual reality of this great learning curve was the most impressive and coherant victory in the histoy of the British Army.
As well as the course of the war, Sheffield also seeks to re-examine the causes, with much emphasis placed on the post-Bismarck attitude of Wilhelmine Germany.
Whilst the author does not seek to deny the mistakes that were made, and the tragedies the befell the frontline soldiers, he argues that the "lions led by donkeys" mentality is one that has obscured our perceptions of the Great War even to this day.
The subject of possibly the most controversy, Field Marshal Sir Douglas Haig, is also reappraised in a single chapter depicting the relationship between Haig and the men under his command, which by 1918, could be described as very coherant. Sheffield does not attempt to lionise Haig, but his excellent revision allows for a far more objective look into a very complex character.
An essential read for all who express an interest in the British Army, and the Great War.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Victory of a sort
Mr Sheffield makes some strong points in the latest edition of his 2001 work. His basic argument that the Lions led by Donkeys is a rehashing of the ideas of a limited number of... Read more
Published 3 days ago by Donald Thompson
4.0 out of 5 stars A Brave Stance
This is never going to be a light-hearted romp but it does offer some interesting insights into a war in which the received wisdom is so well-entrenched (if you'll pardon the pun)... Read more
Published 7 days ago by Philip Whiteland
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Fascinating
Published 9 days ago by stephenpowell
5.0 out of 5 stars ... a different point a view well written and highly recommended
looks at ww1 from a different point a view well written and highly recommended
Published 14 days ago by zander fisher
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great book
Published 24 days ago by Clifford Ian Jenkins
4.0 out of 5 stars It is good to read a balanced history of the First World ...
It is good to read a balanced history of the First World War that takes as its starting point the fact that we actually won the First World War. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Neil Clarkn
5.0 out of 5 stars very readable and interesting
Excellent history of the British and American involvement in the Western Front fighting. More balanced than many books on the subject.
Published 1 month ago by Lyn K.
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Very good .
Published 1 month ago by D. Warrington
5.0 out of 5 stars Understanding WHY?
Very informative without being to exhausting to absorb, put a different view on Why? on various stages leading up to and during the war.
Keep an open mind and enjoy
Published 2 months ago by MR M LANE
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
A revisionist account; thought provoking
Published 2 months ago by Bill Roy
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