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Passchendaele: The Untold Story (Yale Nota Bene S)
 
 

Passchendaele: The Untold Story (Yale Nota Bene S) [Kindle Edition]

Robin Prior
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)

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Review

"An excellent, carefully researched, and dispassionate history of the Passchendaele campaign ... It must now become the standard scholarly work on the grim battle of Passchendaele, integrating as it does both politics and war." -- Tim Travers, Journal of Military History

"Lucid and persuasive." -- E.S. Turner, London Review of Books

"The authors excell in their thorough use of original sources to provide a masterly account ... clearly related and supported by admirable maps." -- Brian Bond, Times Literary Supplement

"The clearest and most balanced picture yet of a battle whose very name evokes the horror and supposed futility of World War I." -- John Grigg, The Spectator

"The most wide-ranging and perceptive account of Passchendaele yet written" -- Robert Cowley, Military History Quarterly

"This book will appeal to both the scholar and the general public and belongs in every World War I collection." -- Agnes F. Peterson, History

Product Description

No conflict of the Great War excites stronger emotions than the war in Flanders in the autumn of 1917, and no name better encapsulates the horror and apparent futility of the Western Front than Passchendaele. By its end there had been 275,000 Allied and 200,000 German casualties. Yet the territorial gains made by the Allies in four desperate months were won back by Germany in only three days the following March. The devastation at Passchendaele, the authors argue, was neither inevitable nor inescapable; perhaps it was not necessary at all. Using a substantial archive of official and private records, much of which has never been previously consulted, Trevor Wilson and Robin Prior provide the fullest account of the campaign ever published.

The book examines the political dimension at a level which has hitherto been absent from accounts of "Third Ypres." It establishes what did occur, the options for alternative action, and the fundamental responsibility for the carnage. Prior and Wilson consider the shifting ambitions and stratagems of the high command, examine the logistics of war, and assess what the available manpower, weaponry, technology, and intelligence could realistically have hoped to achieve. And, most powerfully of all, they explore the experience of the soldiers in the light—whether they knew it or not—of what would never be accomplished.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1090 KB
  • Print Length: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Yale University Press; 2 Sub edition (24 July 1996)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00B4NLWTK
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #231,121 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent and insightful overview 10 Oct 2010
Format:Paperback
I have read a lot about Passchendaele. My grandad was one of the many thousands who died there, and I grew up surrounded by the paintings of a young man who I never knew, and never had the chance to grow old. Because I'd read a lot elsewhere I wasn't expecting much from this book, but I found it insightful and compelling, as well as intimate. Its main achievement is coherence and insight regarding the political and strategic context that made Passchendaele both inevitable and ultimately catastrophically pointless. It challenges many of the established beliefs surrounding the strategic competence of British military leadership as facile historical misinterpretations. But this is not actually a dry historians' polemic, it is alive with the personalities and experiences of the men who planned, led, fought, lived and died there. And I was startled to find a reproduced letter from the very soldier who was the last to see my grandad alive in a shell hole, and wrote a pencilled note to his widow which we still have; and sorry to learn that within two weeks he too was dead.

"Passchendaele: The Untold Story" is among the very best books on this tragic subject. It is a "must read" for my generation and all those who were fortunate enough to be born long after the industrialised murder of WW1. It is written with huge love and respect for a generation who never had that chance. Reading it is the least we can do.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Passchendale 26 Aug 2011
By Mike
Format:Paperback
This is an excellent and objective account of the 3rd Ypres campaign. I'd definitely suggest reading this book if you are planning a visit to the Ypres area. Good accounts are given of the various battles that commenced on 31st July and ran through to the end of 1917. The full horror and apparent futility of the battles are well known to most people who've read about WW1 and this campaign in particular, but this book does well to make some sort of sense of the decisions made by the British Government and the Military commanders, the battlefield tactics they employed, and the reasons that failure was in most cases inevitable.
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23 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An informative but depressing read 27 Dec 2002
Format:Paperback
This is not the first book on this subject and likely not the last but it is entirely worth your obtaining now because it includes information that was probably not available for earlier treatments. The antipodeans which wrote this tome are well suited to the task due to the enormous and often unconsidered contribution their countrymen and others from the Empire made to the battles here.
I was left with a mixture of feelings as I turned the last page. The most overwhelming is the sense of inevitability about the whole tragic course of events. You are impressed by the bravery and the skill of the participants in the face of terrific odds. Yet if only this had been matched or even approached by those who planned these actions.
This was not as some might have said a futile waste of soldiers but rather almost the only way the war could be continued. Empire soldiers were 'foreigners' in Flanders fields and yet they gave their lives without question when ordered to advance. It shames so many of the French and other troops who could not find it in themselves to be spurred on by this sacrifice.
Timing is everything in war as in any other large-scale activity. Here inevitability takes a cruel turn at Ypres. Maybe it would have been better to have dug in until 1918. The Russians had struck their deal with the Germans and it would be months before the Americans could contribute effectively. Perhaps if the British had defended rather than attacked the losses would have been less horrifying (even though many thousands were lost every week in the trenches during periods between attacks). These men were, however, in good form with better training, tactics and equipment than ever before.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gets to grips with the big picture 16 Jan 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This well researched book dispells a number of myths that surround the Battle of Passchendaele so is an essential read for those with a deep interest in the Passchendaele story. It gives an unusual perspective to the battle from the persepective of the politics of the day.
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By Nglaws
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is enjoyable but uncomfortable reading for those interested in WW1. This books puts the battle in context, and assesses each stage militarily and politically. It is frustrating to see Haig and his most indecisive, and you can see how for so long history has judged him so poorly, but the issues are so complex and the warfare still so new in its style that it's hard to put a blame on a single entity as we always like to do. Let's not forget how effective the German army had become as defenders and as a counter attacking force. Once again the weather had its role to play, record levels of rain which turned the area into the quagmire that we view the whole battle of being today. Prior and Wilson once again show why they are first class historians of the period and subject. This is an excellent place to start and an easy read too, for those who want to know about the battle also known as 3rd Ypres...
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