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36 Reviews
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent contribution to anyones Great War Library
This book is a must for anyone interested in studying the First World War. The introductory chapter outlining the developments leading up to the war amongst the main protagonists is one of the finest I have ever come across. Robin Neillands explains the events leading up to the conflict and the actions of nations and individuals concerned with a clarity that is both...
Published on 28 May 2009 by Mr. Stephen Brunt

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3.0 out of 5 stars Too dry for me much of the time - but well researched and detailed
This is a well researched and detailed account of the first terrible four months of the BEF's wartime experiences on the Western Front up until the end of 1914, by the end of which they had suffered nearly 60,000 killed, wounded or missing (though the French and Germans had each suffered some half a million). However, I can't say I enjoyed the account - for me, it was...
Published 1 month ago by John Hopper


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4.0 out of 5 stars Buy the book!, 28 Jan 2014
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A good book spoiled by poor translation to Kindle - peoples names and place names incorrectly translated to a point where you could not use the Kindle version for learning!
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3.0 out of 5 stars The Old Contemptibles, 26 Jan 2014
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Like everyone else I enjoyed this informative book which was in my humble opinion was extremely well written. I read it via the Kindle format and I have to concur with K.G. Berry's assessment in that it was left down badly by the shoddy proof reading. I have read a number of books via the Kindle format and all have minor faults but this one was poor to the extreme, incorrect spelling, letters or numbers missing and higher case letters mixed up within lower case words. I have awarded it 3 star but like Berry with the mistakes corrected it is easily a 5 star read.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A fine book, 24 Jan 2014
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A very good book. It is well written with excellent background information. I would recommend to anyone with an interest in Great War.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Old Contemptibles : The BEF 1914, 12 Jan 2014
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Robin Neillands' writing style is easy on the eye, succinct and pact.

This book is a very good overview of the critical first four months of the Great War on the Western Front and the British Expeditionary Force's part in it. the narrative is straightforward and enables the reader to have a clear picture of its role, culminating in the key First Battle of Ypres in late 1914.

As an introduction it does its job well and for those whose interest has been awakened by reading this book I would recommend reading Liaison 1914 by Spiers and John Terrain's Mons. There are a number of good books on First Ypres - Harrar-Fockley's is especially good.

Highly recommended book - Robin Neillands is sadly no longer with us but do also read his book on the Generals on the Western Front as it is thought provoking and challenges the 'Lions led by donkeys' school of Great War history.
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4.0 out of 5 stars worth the read, 9 Jan 2014
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This can get a bit heavy but stick with it and you find out exactly why we went to war, how lucky we were at some stages and just how useless the establishment was. The book goes into a depth i havent experienced before and it is very informative
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5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant read, 8 Dec 2013
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There were times this book was very hard going what with having a general french and fighting with the french could get a bit confusing if the brain was not totally switched on, what a great army of men the BEF was , wasted by the stupidity
and tardiness of the government and members of the military elite who were stuck in the past.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Informative and interesting, 4 Nov 2013
I thought this was a very detailed and informative account of the BEF and the role they played before and during the early years of the First World War. Clearly set out in chronological order, not just on a timescale but by key battles and pivotal moments in the history of this infamous and talented Army, I found it a very easy book to follow. Neillands writes in a very clear and precise manner and I would recommend this to anyone looking to further their knowledge on the BEF and/or the First World War in general.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent portray of a piece of British military history, 30 Nov 2014
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Excellent portray of a piece of British military history. I am embarrassed to say that after serving 35 years in the UK armed forces I know nothing about "The Old Contemptible's" until I read this book.Spot on reading
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Old Contemptibles, 29 Aug 2014
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For anyone who, , like me lost ancestors in the early years of the Great War this book provides many answers and, in a strange way, some comfort. It's an excellent book,well researched and easy to read.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Very clear and shows the difficulties all parties faced during ..., 11 Dec 2014
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Very clear and shows the difficulties all parties faced during this campaign. Get a map of the area at the time before reading and things will be a lot clearer.
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Old Contemptibles: The British Expeditionary Force, 1914
Old Contemptibles: The British Expeditionary Force, 1914 by Robin Neillands (Hardcover - 2 Aug 2004)
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