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48 Reviews
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63 of 63 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars History today !
I first read this book with only an outline understanding of WW1 - my Grandfather fought, and was wounded, at Passchendaele.
This led to adult curiosity.
I never studied history at school, but this book brought home to me the importance of the subject - it's not about dates and places, it's about people, ordinary people like my Grandfather, who not only...
Published on 9 Aug 2004 by Neil Johnson

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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars BUY THE PAPERBACK NOT THE TERRIBLE KINDLE VERSION
I have read this book two or three times (first in paperback) and most recently on my Kindle (which I took on holiday with me to Northern France). This book is a worthy testament to the men who fought in this most terrible campaign. It is by turns shocking, terrifying, moving and even an inspirational read about a very important event in history involving the people who...
Published 17 months ago by Cavendish 889


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5.0 out of 5 stars excellent, 2 Sep 2014
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As are all Lyn MacDonalds books, detailed, full of letters and first hand accounts from the brave men and women and hard to put down
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5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant read., 1 Sep 2014
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A very well written book, plenty to think about (the futility of war). An absolute must read for WW1 research.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book!, 15 Dec 1999
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I bought this book mainly because I remembered my grandad telling me about the attack he took part in with his regiment( the 10th Worcs)and I was amazed to find an extract from an acting corporal in the book,but that`s what Lyn Macdonald`s book are great at telling you from the soldiers point,buy this book for a proper view of the first World war.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 1 Sep 2014
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yet another great ex[position of the times
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6 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What sacrifice, 12 Dec 2001
By A Customer
A book that does not hide away from describing all the human emotions that this dreadful yet glorious battle sustained. The sacrifice that these noble men made under 100 years ago beggars belief in our age of fickleness.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 20 Aug 2014
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This review is from: They Called it Passchendaele: Story of the Third Battle of Ypres and of the Men Who Fought in it (Hardcover)
Very moving
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5 of 12 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Features nothing in the way of an actual account of the battle, 9 Jan 2014
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Hugo Rodrigues (Sintra, Portugal) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
"They Called It Passchendaele" is a prime example of everything that's wrong with books about WW1 these days. The British cottage industries catering to the needs of battlefield tourists and amateur genealogists fill up most of the published output about this conflict (and thus we get battlefield guides, British unit histories and compilations of first-hand accounts), leaving little room for titles addressed at a wider reading public and/or with a broader, less Anglocentric perspective.

Chances are I'd have no problem with this book if it wasn't marketed as being, at least in part, a narrative history of the battle (see the book's subtitle), which it clearly isn't. It's a compilation of eyewitness accounts, which however interesting or poignant nearly always convey a fairly narrow perspective of events (limited to one's particular segment of trench so to speak), without much if any information about the forces involved, their weaponry and tactics, and featuring only a sketchy, disjointed account of the military operations during the battle whose only purpose is to give a context for the first hand accounts selected by the author.

Operational narrative (with varying levels of detail) is the default mode of presentation for military history written about nearly all conflicts, but WW1 is not just an exception to that rule but a war for which straightforward narrative with a focus on military operations is very difficult to find, apart from the cumbersome, often unreliable and sometimes outright mendacious official histories. "They Called It Passchendaele" is typical of most WW1 histories in that it in no way presents a thorough account of the battle it is supposed to cover. No lists of the forces involved, no maps showing their deployment and axis of advance, no information about the equipment used by the armies in conflict.

To make matters worse, the first third of the book is taken up not with the account of the Third Battle of Ypres (commonly known as Passchendaele) itself, but with the prior Battle of Messines, and with the leadup to the British and French initial offensive on 31 of July of 1917.

The handful of maps presented are basic sketches, which merely indicate the approximate area of the battlefield the authors of the first-hand accounts compiled in this book fought on.

The book is almost entirely Anglocentric in its coverage; a sizeable French contingent took part in the early stages of the battle, suffering several thousands of casualties, but you'll find little mention of it in this book. And it's much the same with the German forces.

Conclusion: if you're looking for a compilation of first-hand accounts from English speaking participants in this battle, this is the book for you. If you happen to be looking for any other information about the Third Battle of Ypres/Battle of Passchendaele, it's completely useless.
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0 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You must read them all......, 12 Dec 2000
By A Customer
I picked up this book after visiting Ypres, Passchendaele and the surrounding area. Since then I have read most of Lyn Macdonalds books on WWI.
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