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Kitchener's Army: The Raising of the New Armies 1914-1916 Hardcover – 16 Aug 2007


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 358 pages
  • Publisher: Pen & Sword Military; Reprint edition (16 Aug. 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1844155854
  • ISBN-13: 978-1844155859
  • Product Dimensions: 3.8 x 15.9 x 23.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 479,221 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Chris Baker VINE VOICE on 11 Oct. 2007
Format: Hardcover
This is a welcome reprint of an important work that first appeared in 1988 and has long since been difficult to find.

Peter Simkins, who worked for over thirty-five years at the Imperial War Museum, retired as its Senior Historian in 1999. His book is among those rare works that has both academic rigour and plain-talking readability. Anyone who has an interest in the war, the army, the incredible expansion of military forces to face the Germans, Austrians and Turks or the units of the new armies will find much to delight them here.

Kitchener was not alone in August 1914 in believing that Britain would need to face a long war on a huge continental scale but he alone was in a position to do something about it. The authorisation by Parliament of the raising of 100,000 volunteers was followed by further similar "waves" and ultimately the army enlisted more than 5 million troops. This was not only globally unprecedented: it brought with it immense problems. The army was short of everything for these men: officers, NCOs, arms and equipment, accommodation, uniform, food and supplies. The fact that all were arranged, albeit often in a typically British improvised fashion, in a short timeframe is one of the forgotten triumphs of the war. Kitchener's men were arriving in France from early 1915.

Peter Simkins takes us through it all, from the official expansion of the "first hundred thousand" of Kitchener's first army, K1, to the unofficial raising of the many local, pals, units. He explores the motivations for men who joined up and in so doing challenges the many myths that men of 1914 were simpletons, doing what they were told in a fervour of misplaced patriotism.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Michael MCCARTHY VINE VOICE on 13 Oct. 2007
Format: Hardcover
This timely reissue of Peter Simkin's excellent study of the raising of the New Armies is most welcome.
The book documents the various aspects that emerged from the need to create a `continental' army and details the logistic and organisational problems that arose.
It also explains how the problems had their origin in the Haldane reforms and how the dynamics of a public pre-war apathy to the Army, coupled with the Government's unwillingness to anticipate the consequences of its foreign policy and the likelihood of involvement in a European war. In short, conscription was unacceptable yet conscription seemed to be the only way to create an Army of the size needed. That the British volunteer Army was created and acquitted itself so well is testament to the magnificent men who volunteered and those who, under difficult circumstances, trained them.
Simkins also offers thoughts on the iniquity of the volunteer system and why many men did not rush to the colours.
It is an object lesson in change management and a very useful reference as well as being a `good read'.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Sha on 29 Oct. 2012
Format: Hardcover
I got this book to use for my dissertation on Britain in the First World War and this book is brilliant for it. It is clear an well written. Really good for academic use.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By mike pontet on 20 Jun. 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
In the WW1, Kitchener sent to France one of the best armies Britain has ever put on a battle field. They were well fed, properly clothed to meet all weather conditions, well equipt and well armed. Peter Simpkins gives a detailed account of how Kitchener drew on his experiences in the Boer War to put together a series of armies for which this nation should be eternally proud. But this isn't just about Kitchener; it is just as much about the hundreds of thousands of young men who volunteered to fight for their country.. whatever their motives..and about their staggering death rate. Simpkins waves no banners and sings no jingos; this is raw war! This book is an important read for the history student who needs to know the difficulties involved in putting together a colossal army at short notice, and how Kitchener was able to accomplish this monumental task.
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By dr p n stokes on 19 Sept. 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
excellent description & analysis of the raising of the volunteer army under Kitchener
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