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Trench Warfare 1914-18: The Live and Let Live System (Pan Grand Strategy Series) Paperback – 6 Feb 2004


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Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Pan; first thus edition (6 Feb 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0330480685
  • ISBN-13: 978-0330480680
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 1.9 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 242,823 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

Tony Ashworth was raised in the Ithon Valley and educated in Radnorshire, Sussex and the Universities of Leicester and London. He has served with the Royal Air Force and lectures in the University of Wales, Cardiff. He now lives in the Vale of Glamorgan

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Mr. John Conrad Mullen on 22 Aug 2011
Format: Paperback
Ashworth's book looks at the times in trench warfare when there was not a battle on as such. These periods made up the largest part of the life of most soldiers. As the war went on, the efforts of the military hierarchy to oblige soldiers to be permanently aggressive against the enemy in the trenches opposite became more and more systematic, and the efforts of soldiers to avoid war, or sometimes refuse war, became more sophisticated.

Ashworth gives many examples but a few will do. Night raiding was a tactic which soldiers often avoided, because it upset the "live and let live" agreement which tacitly reigned in many trenches outside the "elite" regiments. Until the end of 1915 the initiative for night raiding was left to local leadership - after 1916 it was centralized. Batallions had to do "their quota" of night raids. In some cases the superior officers even demanded that they bring back samples of German barbed wire to prove the raid had been carried out. The cleverer soldiers hid a roll of German barbed wire so that samples could be readily available.

A second example is mining - digging tunnels under the enemy in order to blow them sky high. Again this was a danger to the live and let live atmosphere, and once more the military hierarchy centralized decisions on mining in 1916, since local leadership could not be trusted to be "aggressive enough".

Ashworth gives many more examples and the statistics to back them up.
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24 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Andrew Illingworth on 4 July 2002
Format: Paperback
The sub-title of this book is "The live and let live system", which led me to believe that it would provide an interesting insight into the nature of trench warfare and soldiers' existence in "quiet" periods of the war. Unfortunately that is not the case.
Mr Ashworth has written what he intends to be a scholarly study of ways in which soldiers on opposite sides of No Man's Land made life a little more peaceful for themselves by refraining from active warfare. There is very little in the way of first- or second-hand description of trench life, and instead the book concentrates on a dry, quasi-academic analysis of the live and let live phenomenon.
The style, however, is more schoolmaster than scholar and after a few chapters it becomes quite grating. The book is also far longer than is necessary (not that it is particularly long anyway - 226 pages) and I am quite sure that what he has to say could have been covered in half the space. More of a long essay than a book. To achieve this supposedly more respectable length, the author seems to have taken the old trainer's adage to heart - "Tell them what you're going to tell them, tell them, tell them what you've told them". Just to be on the safe side, he has then added "tell them again, and again".
Stripped down to essentials, the book does make one or two interesting observations.
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Its well researched and quotes well its sources.
Lots of touching anecdotes.
It presents a wide view and provides an understanding of the different stages of the war and the effects on those involved.
Excellent reading. It was recommended in a book on another subject (the prisoner's dilemma). I was not disappointed as I found examples of the dilemma referred to. But also a rich, human description of the trench warfare of 1914-18.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Gwynnion Kildare on 13 Sep 2011
Format: Paperback
I can confirm the judgment of the other reviewer, who said the book drones on and on and repeats and bores. I had to read the book as part of my research into the causes of the 1914 Xmas truces and I was struck again and again by the writer's dreary style. So much so that I found myself ruing the day I ever asked my mentor for help with bibliography on the subject.

However, where the other reviewer would say that the useful insights offered by the book aren't worth the length and style of the book, I would utterly disagree. In parts, it even becomes a riveting read, if only by merit of the information to be found in it.

If the subject of truces and live and let live interests you, this is the book to read. Simple as that.

Does its style require patiance? Yep. Definitely.

Is it worth it? Well... yes. Yes it is.
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