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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A worthwhile read
Some people have given this book a mediocre write-up, but in a literary landscape which tends to concentrate on the British & Commonwealth contribution to the Great War, it's good to find something in English that studies the French army's perspective. The author has a matter-of-fact style and I found this book very readable and informative.

Not as good as...
Published on 15 Jan. 2010 by D. Spencer

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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A flawed but useful survey of the French army in the First World War
Most English-language memoirs and histories of the First World War typically focus on and reflect the experiences of the British "Tommies" on the Western Front. Such an approach often marginalizes the far more critical experience of the French army, which as Anthony Clayton argues diminishes their contribution to Allied victory in the conflict. Clayton's book is an...
Published on 4 July 2009 by MarkK


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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A worthwhile read, 15 Jan. 2010
By 
D. Spencer "Big Dave" (UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Paths of Glory: The French Army, 1914-18: The French Army, 1914-1918 (CASSELL MILITARY PAPERBACKS) (Paperback)
Some people have given this book a mediocre write-up, but in a literary landscape which tends to concentrate on the British & Commonwealth contribution to the Great War, it's good to find something in English that studies the French army's perspective. The author has a matter-of-fact style and I found this book very readable and informative.

Not as good as Horne's "The Price of Glory", but not many are, to be fair. Well worth buying, though. AND the references list has some very interesting books in it, which are well worth tracking down.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining, 30 Aug. 2011
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This review is from: Paths of Glory: The French Army, 1914-18: The French Army, 1914-1918 (CASSELL MILITARY PAPERBACKS) (Paperback)
I liked this book which, for the most part, seemed to flow well. It was dripping with facts and figures which may well put some off and some of which didn't seem to add much at all to the overall narrative. It does very well to condense the massive story of the French army into something which is managable, which was presumably not an easy thing for the author to do.

I did find that the section on the different commanders should have been at the front of the book, mainly to set these people in the reader's mind before getting into the thick of the action.

My other criticism centres on the use of French phrases with no English translation (Mr Horne's book on Verdun has the same irksome little habbit). I can't speak French, so don't put key sentences in the book without providing some sort of explanation.

A good effort however, and one that I really did enjoy reading.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Which army really won the war?, 2 July 2007
This review is from: Paths of Glory: The French Army, 1914-18: The French Army, 1914-1918 (CASSELL MILITARY PAPERBACKS) (Paperback)
As the other reviewer makes clear, this highlights the objective fact that, for most of the War, France bore the brunt of the fighting. The author also describes the singular hell of Verdun, a battle which remains relatively unknown to most Brits, who see 1916 as The Somme and not much else. Above all the book describes the state of the French army, warts and all, from the over-optimistic offensives of 1914 which cost the lives of experienced soldiers, through the mutinies of 1917, to the recovery under pressure of 1918. Above all it makes clear the extent to which, when the chips were down, the French did not give up, which makes a contrast to a number of British opinions (even now) of French military prowess. This book is a must if you wish to complement a knowledge of the British experience of the Western Front with a French aspect.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A flawed but useful survey of the French army in the First World War, 4 July 2009
By 
MarkK (Phoenix, AZ, USA) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Paths of Glory: The French Army, 1914-18: The French Army, 1914-1918 (CASSELL MILITARY PAPERBACKS) (Paperback)
Most English-language memoirs and histories of the First World War typically focus on and reflect the experiences of the British "Tommies" on the Western Front. Such an approach often marginalizes the far more critical experience of the French army, which as Anthony Clayton argues diminishes their contribution to Allied victory in the conflict. Clayton's book is an attempt to rectify this. In a succession of chapters he intersperses a operational narrative of the French army on the Western Front with descriptions of its commanders and their strategies, the soldiers and their equipment, and the challenges they faced in the four years of trench warfare.

All of this serves as an informative summary of the French military experience in the First World War, one that is enjoyably written and generally accessible for the interested reader. Yet the book is not without its flaws. Foremost is its predominant focus on the French military experience in northeastern France. While understandable, Clayton takes this too far by reducing his examination of the army's involvement on other fronts to a single chapter and generally ignoring the broader context of French politics and society. Civilians are typically addressed only in terms of their direct interactions with the troops, while the heavily politicized world in which the French high command operated is treated often as background noise. Such a narrow approach deprives his analysis of critical elements necessary for understanding the forces at work in the French army during this period.

Also problematic is Clayton's handling of non-European troops fighting in the French ranks. While acknowledging the presence of thousands of North African, Senegalese, and Indochinese soldiers, the author never gives them the attention he grants to conscripts from France itself, often offering little more than stereotyping claims of questionable veracity. These beg for a reference to Clayton's source, yet there are no footnotes or endnotes, only a bibliography of the sources used. Such an omission minimizes the utility of the book, one that in the end leaves it to serve as a useful survey of the French army in the First World War and little more.
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