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Paul Kendall's Aisne 1914: key reading for understanding this battle
on 7 April 2014
The impressive research by Paul Kendall on the details of every important episode in this battle, on the fortunes of the British units engaged, and on the lives (and deaths) of a huge number of individual combatants, make this book valuable reading for anyone visiting the battlefield or wishing to learn about the part played by the British army in this important early engagement. The brief biographies he has assembled of the many soldiers at every level who played a distinctive part in the fighting are particularly instructive. The facts are presented with a laconic dispassion which adds to their poignancy, just as the fighting is described in an objective and unsensational manner which nonetheless leaves the reader in no doubt about the shock suffered by the small British army. Paul Kendall brings out clearly how the BEF, despite being a professional force, was unprepared and underequipped, especially in artillery, for the scale of casualties or the form of fighting, trench warfare, in which it became inexorably engaged. The book achieves the difficult task of combining a host of detailed events and individual accounts into a coherent picture of an important military engagement.
David Miers (grandson of a casualty)