- Paperback: 352 pages
- Publisher: W&N; New Ed edition (8 Nov. 2001)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0304359750
- ISBN-13: 978-0304359752
- Product Dimensions: 21.6 x 6.7 x 3.8 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 149,480 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- See Complete Table of Contents
Passchendaele: The Sacrificial Ground (CASSELL MILITARY PAPERBACKS) Paperback – 8 Nov 2001
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A compelling account of the battle for Passchendaele from grand strategy at the highest levels right down to the experience of the ordinary infantrymen
About the Author
Nigel Steel and Peter Hart are both historians at the Imperial War Museum in London. They have collaborated on three previous titles, on Gallipoli, Jutland and the war in the air
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Top Customer Reviews
This is a book that although fairly academic, is remarkably easy to read, however it would be nice to hear more from the German point of view, and to maybe see more extracts from German combattants.
On the whole an excellent book, well written and a thoroughly good read. I would recommend this as a good introduction to 3rd Ypres.
The appalling conditions of mud, degredation and terror are conveyed in this book by those best able to comment - the men who fought in the Ypres Salient themselves. The authors access to the Imperial War Museum archive is clear and skilfully used.
I also liked the balance between the traditional (as it has become) view of the First World War - this appalling wasteful slaughter, Lions led by donkeys - and the more revisionist views espoused by writers like Gary Sheffield and Niall Ferguson.
Indeed Plumer was an excellent general as far the the first war general could be excellent. And his 'bite and hold' tactices were far more effective than Hubert Gough's over-ambitious early thrusts, but, as this book points out, 'bite and hold' was so slow that the Germans could go on plugging the gaps. Although Ludendorf was worried by the steady British advance, there was no danger of breakthrough (or break out) unless the German army collapsed, as the Germans themselves hoped the French would do at Verdun.
The descriptions of trench life are both poignant and entertaining. The extensive quotes from accounts, letters and diaries bring the men who fought back to life in our minds.
The only criticism - and this is because of the archive they were working with - is the lack of Germans. There are no accounts from ordinary German soldiers. I fel this would have enhanced what is a very good book.
Overall they do reasonable well in presenting the story of the fighting in the Ypres salient from 1917-1918. However I feel that they may not have done as well as some previous books. At times I found that the narrative appeared to drag or lose its continuity. The authors have attempted to be very fair in their assessment of the British High Command and the involvement or lack of involvement of the politician's back home. The book does not appear to have an axe to grind in regards to any one person's culpability in regards to the tremendous casualties suffered for so little tangible gain. The authors simply present the facts and allow you, the reader, to determine who may be at fault for the loss of so many innocent lives.
I found that the authors offered a very good overview of the circumstances leading to this battle, the tactics used and the decisions of the Commanding Generals.Read more ›