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Major and Mrs.Holt's Battlefield Guide to Ypres Salient (Major & Mrs Holt's Battlefield Guide) Paperback – 14 Feb 1997


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Product details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Pen & Sword Books Ltd; Pap/Map edition (14 Feb 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0850525519
  • ISBN-13: 978-0850525519
  • Product Dimensions: 21 x 15.1 x 2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (44 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 70,198 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Tonie Holt is the 'Major' of Major and Mrs Holt who are well known as the authors of the leading guide books to the battlefields of the First and Second World Wars.
Both he and Valmai(the 'Mrs') began writing at their schools. Their first published works were for local newspapers and then for commercial radio.
They founded the company Major and Mrs Holt's Battlefield Tours in the early 1970s at which time it was the first and only company running such tours for the general public eventually covering wars as far afield as Viet Nam, the Crimea, South Africa, El Alamein, the American Civil War and of course the battles of both the First and Second World Wars.
In the 1980s they were asked to take over running the Pilgrimage programme for the Royal British Legion which they completely upgraded and then handed back to the Legion when the British Government re-instated the financial support for relatives to visit the graves of loved ones.
Having sold the company in the 1990s Tonie and Valmai began writing the series of guide books which is now accepted as the leader amongst such publications. Unlike many authors they do not have a team of researchers but do all their own research by travelling all the routes they recommend, visiting all the memorials and cemeteries and taking all the photographs.

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

30 of 32 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 20 Jan 2000
Format: Paperback
This is an invaluable guide for anyone looking to tour the battlefields of Flanders. A useful, if brief, intoduction to the history of the battles, bags of practical suggestions, a useful but complicated pull-out map. Great colour photography, with some well-planned itineries.
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29 of 31 people found the following review helpful By the_bald_man on 10 Jan 2004
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is without a doubt the best guidebook avaliable for visiting the sites of the Great War in Flanders.
Well written, easy to follow routes, every possible site of interest with excellent descriptions and anaecdotes. The enthusiasm of the authors for their subject is apparent on every page.
If you are planning a trip to Ypres or around, you are garanteed an excellent trip, using this superb book.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Mr. Peter John Smith on 11 Dec 2009
Format: Paperback
I visited Ypres in Sept 09 and bought the excellent book after for I had noted it there at £24!! (in Museum/Tourist Office) - and came back to Amazon UK. It is a very thorough reference book, organising the chaos of WW1 into manageable information and one's realisation of size and horror of that location. It is very readable, easy to use in actually walking around sites, and seems very expert.
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41 of 45 people found the following review helpful By Christian Spriet on 8 Jan 2005
Format: Paperback
Entering the busy, teeming Ypres (Ieper, as we have it) through the Menin Gate (de Menenpoort), any visitor will involuntarily believe the cosy old city has retained its erstwhile elegance unimpaired.
By 1917 the Ypres as Edmund Blunden saw it, had been reduced to smithereens. What remained was an eerie, godforsaken 'catacombed sepulchre', a spectre of a place the rare remnants of which appeared to him 'so evidently, but impossibly' medieval.
If anything, the place conjures up all the obvious reminiscences of Flanders' glorious Middle Ages, and first-time visitors will stare their eyes out here as they do in, say, Bruges or Ghent or Lille.
But there's one large but. As much as the surrounding region the present-day Ypres is a reconstruction. All through the Great War, Ypres was the bleeding heart of a Salient (a half-moon area protruding into enemy-occupied territory), and the 150,odd military cemeteries, most of them Commonwealth ones, serve to remind that only dying must have been easy here at the time.
Nearly a century has elapsed since those harrowing days and the tell-tale signs of the war slipping out of memory are stealing both upon the landscape and into people's minds. Is it any wonder that the earliest post-war guide books to the region spoke of pilgrims rather than visitors. And who are we, to blame the old 'War' museums, like the magnificent one inside the Cloth Hall, for having restyled themselves (quite logically) as Peace museums today?
The respectable Times once stated that 'The world has no other such battlefield'. Like us, try to remain aware of this as you tour the region. And like us, continue to approach our Salient with that amount of reticence and respect which we owe to the hundreds of thousands, whatever their origin, who perished here.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By S. Bowyer on 19 Oct 2009
Format: Paperback
Many people enjoy tramping over the battlefields of the Somme etc. with little idea of where and when they want to go to specific places. This book (along with other titles from Major and Mrs Holt) provides a very useful guide to the area, suggested routes and places to see and above all a wealth of information re the background to the conflict and some of the personal stories behind the events.
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 3 April 2002
Format: Paperback
An absolute must for anyone visiting or wishing to learn more about the salient. The 'silent cities' seem completely out of place in such a tranquil environment. This book places all the events in context as well as providing 3 wonderfully thought out and worthwhile itineries. Wow!
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Format: Paperback
It has been written by an acknowledged "tour guide" expert - and sometimes it feels exactly like that - a "Tour Guides "Guide"", to be used if you have 4 days and a coach full of mixed tourists - some interested in the lives of the fallen, some humbled by the sheer magnitude of those who died & the lines of graves, some just there to please their husbands & wondering where the next cafe is.

For "detail on touring" it's excellent - it will tell you where many of the multitude of Graveyards are, and potted stories of various personalities whose lives were lost on the battlefields.

It will not tell you "exactly" where trench lines were, or which Regiment attacked from which point and in which direction & on what date, so it does not set out to be a Guide for you to be able to walk the battlefields, or necessarily where a particular Cemetery is if you are looking for a specific plot where a relative lies.

So, it's good at what it is, but you will still need more detailed histories of the regiments & battles & trench maps etc if you want to be part of the landscape - remembering that 100 years have past since then.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By The Captain on 25 Oct 2009
Format: Paperback
I can not disagree with the other reviewers. This is an important book for anyone interested in the battles of the Ypres salient and is consistent with the Authors' other excellent publications. For people preparing to visit the battlefields this book is an indispensable publication. I would encourage readers to read this in conjunction with the excellent trench maps: "Official History of the Great War- Military Operations 1914-1918 Maps" available from The Naval and Military Press in association with The Imperial War Museum in CD format. The detail in the trench maps will significantly increase ones understanding when following the guide. The relatively flat terrain of Ypres makes it difficult to fully appreciate the battle from a strategic standpoint when walking the ground.
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