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The Italian Army and the First World War (Armies of the Great War)
The Italian Army and the First World War (Armies of the Great War)
Price: 12.48

2.0 out of 5 stars disappointing, 23 July 2014
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Positive
Its good to see a book on the Italian army in world war one (although several have recently been published and a few campaign guides on Caporetto). Its very good on pre war policies and some interesting information about italys pre war colonial campaigns

Negative
Its a book that doesn't seem to know what it wants to be - its not a history of the organisation of the Italian army (not really touched on), its not a history of the army campaigns (several battle of the izonzo are passed over in a single sentence and it rarely mentions armies let alone corps except for caporetto), nor is it about the men of the Italian army. It is probably best viewed as a history of the politics of the Italian supreme command whose battles with the Italian government are what seems to interest the author.

suggestions
The best book on Itay's war to caporetto is the first chapters of the British Official History "Military Operations Italy 1915-1919" which also has some theatre level orders of battle,a recent reprint is now out of print but its worth looking for. "Rommel and Caporetto" by the wilks' is a brilliant book that covers the campaign in detail with some details of Rommels actions but the book is really about the wider campaign (including the retreat of the 1 and 4 armies that Gooch doesn't even mention). I personally found "Caporetto 1917: Victory or Defeat?" by Mario Morselli, "The White War: Life and Death on the Italian Front, 1915-1919" by Mark Thompson and "Isonzo: The Forgotten Sacrifice of the Great War" by John R. Schindler lacking a complete narrative and choosing indicative events. The men at arms book on the Italian WWI army was disappointing but good value as is "Caporetto and the Isonzo Campaign: The Italian Front 1915-1918" by
John Macdonald which is a reasonable overview with some wonderful illustrations. Sadly the focus of all the books is the italian army the Austro Hungarian side is sadly lacking (again the british official history is useful for the Austrian side).


A Mad Catastrophe: The Outbreak of World War I and the Collapse of the Habsburg Empire
A Mad Catastrophe: The Outbreak of World War I and the Collapse of the Habsburg Empire
Price: 11.99

11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars sometimes useful but just criticism of Austro Hungaria, 23 Jun 2014
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the positive

Its very hard to find books on Austo Hungaria so this is to be welcomed especially as it also covers the Serbian front. Unlike many reviews I found the maps helpful especially as the units were clearly indicated - frequently to corps level which made it easier to follow the manoeuvrings and put the formations in relation to each other.

The negative

However if you have read Mr Wawro previous book on the 1866 campaign you know what is coming. An endless stream of criticism of the everyone in Austo Hungaria with the occasional useful insight and thought drowned under relentless negativity. Even worse he is frequently wrong especially when dealing with Germany - he gets the appointment of every army German army commander after Hindenburgs appointment wrong and he says that the German 8th army had been reinforced with corps from France (sic) at Tannenberg- virtually every history of WWI points out they left the west to soon to fight on the Marne and to late to fight at Tannenberg.

Suggestions

If you are looking for a new book on the eastern front 'collision of empires' by prit buttar is a far more balanced book coving all the eastern front (ie a lot is devoted to Germany) over roughly the same period (1st year) but frequently says more about the Habsburg than Wawro. Norman Stones the eastern front is dated but still the best book I have read on the Eastern front. Austria-Hungary and the Origins of the First World War by Samuel Williamson is a brilliant book on how the Empire saw the events leading up to the war and how much responsibility for the War goes to their misjudgements but more importantly why the made these errors


Parliament: The Biography (Volume I - Ancestral Voices)
Parliament: The Biography (Volume I - Ancestral Voices)
by Chris Bryant
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 17.00

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars It started well...., 2 Jun 2014
I saw good reviews for this and it started well, the early years of parliament seem well written and reasonably balanced but by the 17th century the authors list of rouges grows to anyone who disagrees with 'progress' as he defines it.

Two bits particularly annoyed me. I'm not a fan of Edmund Burke but to describe "Reflections...." as "asserting the priority of established rights such as that to private property over what he considered the entirely speculative rights to food or medicine espoused by the revolution" deliberately missing the point of "'What is the use of discussing a man's abstract right to food or to medicine? The question is upon the method of procuring and administering them. In this deliberation I shall always advise to call in the aid of the farmer and the physician, rather than the professor" that Burke was making about abstract theories lead to disaster. I suspect the author may admire more Abbe Sieyes a fellow priest turned politician and master of impractical constitution who apparently considered his greatest achievement was to survive the havoc he played a large part in creating. He even manages to make me sympathetic to Lord Cardigan who wasn't tried for killing a man in duel but for attempted murder and its hardly one law for the rich when the Earl is tried and acquitted when his equally guilty (still living) opponent isn't even indicted


China's Wars: Rousing the Dragon 1894-1949 (General Military)
China's Wars: Rousing the Dragon 1894-1949 (General Military)
Price: 3.95

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars great book, 21 Feb 2014
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A great book but it has to cover to much to quickly. Although the china theatre in WWII is now getting more coverage - and seen from the Chinese side not its allies - this is by far the most detailed book I've seen on the land campaigns, the Chinese civil war lacks much military history and the late imperial Chinese wars more so. Its hard to escape the feeling there are 3 or 4 books struggling to get out. From the evidence of this book a fuller treatment of anyone of these areas would be well worth reading


A Bold and Ambitious Enterprise: The British Army in the Low Countries, 1813-1814
A Bold and Ambitious Enterprise: The British Army in the Low Countries, 1813-1814
Price: 6.79

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars obscure but important subject, 21 Feb 2014
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Probably the only book you will find on the subject. The author covers in impressive detail the origins (covering British forces in the Baltic in 1813) and through to the build up to Waterloo and everything in-between. A minor quible I'd have liked more on what the french and allies were doing but its an impressive book that anyone interested in the british army in the Napoleonic wars should read


Counterinsurgency: Exposing the Myths of the New Way of War
Counterinsurgency: Exposing the Myths of the New Way of War
by Douglas Porch
Edition: Paperback
Price: 17.99

4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars a ploemic not a study, 1 Sep 2013
I have read the authors previous books with interest. This however is dreadful - the writer is angry (almost hysterically so) and proceeds to undermine the point of his arguments by blaming napoleons marshals and 19th century colonial soldiers for failing to have a strategy for the 21st century as well as for being shockingly politically incorrect.

He sets up a straw man and rips him to shreds. He accuses everybody of failing to realise their policies won't work but this is easy as he never suggests what could have worked - because he seems to believe nothing will. To do this he has to ignore successful counter insurgencies (and plead that the few he mentions didn't work) - especially those where states successfully put down insurgencies within their own borders


Return of a King: The Battle for Afghanistan
Return of a King: The Battle for Afghanistan
by William Dalrymple
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 17.00

15 of 46 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars DIRE, 6 Mar 2013
The author may know asian history but his russian history is just bad Alexander I become the Alexander II (on page 5 where you'd have thought somebody would have noticed), Grand Duke Constantine (admitedly sometimes called Constantine Pavlovitch) is presumably Grand Duke Pavlovitch (ie Grand Duke son of Paul)although he I don't think Constontine ever formally was viceroy of the Congress kingdom.

The real failure is the that he doesn't want to write about the 1800s but the the current situation. I lost count of the times British actions were described as illegal and all the other powers only react to Britsh procations (except when they are outsmarting the british). If you removed all the digressions to complain about British imperialism and Western involvement in Afghanistan there might be a decent 200 page book on the war from the Afghan view point (although half of that would be quoteing afghan poetry in double spacing)
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 12, 2014 11:52 AM BST


Battles East: A History of the Eastern Front of the First World War
Battles East: A History of the Eastern Front of the First World War
Price: 10.24

1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars technical problem, 28 July 2012
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I gave up on this as whenever i searched for third army it gave 13 pages of results but I couldn't get past page 5 without getting a warning that it could not be opened and if you bought it from amazon to download it again. The rest of the book seemed okay but with some errors (woyrsch commanding 9th army, archduke frederick commandng 1st army) which undermined my confidence in it


Twilight of the Gods: The Decline and Fall of the German General Staff in World War II
Twilight of the Gods: The Decline and Fall of the German General Staff in World War II
Price: 12.35

4 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Interesting but poorly fact checked, 19 July 2012
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Its an interesting book but there are so many facts wrong it underminds what should be a good book.

Ranks are wrong throught the book (in his comments on army group centre he get all the army commanders ranks wrong bar Guderian as Col-Gen even omiting that Kluge was a Field Marshal then repeating all the errors in an appendix), he gives the wrong Luftflotte losing the original Western campaign plan (1 [based in East Prussia] rather than 2) and many more

Most of these slips are not very relevent and its hard to see how they can have sliped through as the author clearly has read a lot around the subject but seems to have kept very flawed notes or just relied on memory


Atlas of the American Civil War: Army Organization
Atlas of the American Civil War: Army Organization
Price: 6.48

2.0 out of 5 stars disapointing, 16 July 2012
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An interesting idea but poor execution especially for kindle.

I have some doubts about the accuracy of this book (Joseph E Johnston doesn't appear until he takes over the confederate Potomac command) but the main problem is the maps in kindle. Both on kindle and on computer the maps are so small as to be unreadable. The double columns shown on a computer are even harder to read than on a kindle screen.

The best book I have seen on Civil War organisation is Steven Newtons lost for the cause but that excludes the high command (war department, Inspectors etc) but is a good snap shot of the confederate army as it was for a brief moment in 1864.

Lost for the Cause: The Confederate Army in 1864


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