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They Called it Passchendaele: Story of the Third Battle of Ypres and of the Men Who Fought in it Paperback – 10 Nov 1983


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Product details

  • Paperback: 271 pages
  • Publisher: Papermac; New edition edition (10 Nov. 1983)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0333360672
  • ISBN-13: 978-0333360675
  • Product Dimensions: 21.3 x 13.5 x 2.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 289,712 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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My Grandfather fought at Passchendale and would not talk about what went on , he never even wanted to cross the channel again after returning home after the war. After reading this book I now understand , truely horrific , they said it was the war to end all wars I hope people never forget the sacrefices made by so many.
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Enjoyable and easy reading whilst being very informative
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By jofri on 19 Dec. 2014
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Good read
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Ralph Scaiff on 10 April 2013
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Really good
Six words added as required by computer
Six words added as required by computer
Six words added as required by computer
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Amazon.com: 1 review
Voices from the distant past. A must read! 13 May 2014
By Paul Sayles - Published on Amazon.com
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Passchendale was another of those battles long in the planning and execution with marginal results in comparison to the cost in manpower. MacDonald reaches back to the men and women who were there for thier memories of that time in thier lives and it is extremely powerful. I first read this book back when it was first published. Now that the UK and other countries are honoring the 1914-18 War, I thought it was a good time to reread it.

The scenes themselves are heartbreaking at times. A company quartermaster sergeant asks a brigadier for the location of his battalion so he can deliver their rations to them, only to be told that there is no more battalion - it had essentially been wiped out. This picture has stayed with me over the years since I've read it. To me this is one of the most powerful moments in the book and maybe the war because I'm sure it was repeated many times and in many places. The quartermaster sergeants with rations for hundreds of men and only a handful to consume them at the end of a battle, engagement, etc. through the course of the war. THis morning there were a 1000 men on the roles - now there is less than 20% effective. It sums up Passchendale accurately I think.

This a clear example of the adage "the best laid plains of mice and men . . ." as the battle starts out with high expectations and literally bogs down in the mud of France and Flanders. The recording of the list of partial successes (meaning failure in actual terms) carries on throughout the description of the battle.

The book also gives a critical look at the political situation in London and Paris when this battle was being planned. The relations were quite strained between the military and the political leaders and MacDonald goes into great detail as she analyzes this factor into the conduct of the war.

I highly recommend this book especially in light of the resurgence of interest in this period in time around the world. This book is a must read.
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