on 20 January 2000
This is an invaluable guide for anyone looking to tour the battlefields of Flanders. A useful, if brief, intoduction to the history of the battles, bags of practical suggestions, a useful but complicated pull-out map. Great colour photography, with some well-planned itineries.
on 10 January 2004
This is without a doubt the best guidebook avaliable for visiting the sites of the Great War in Flanders.
Well written, easy to follow routes, every possible site of interest with excellent descriptions and anaecdotes. The enthusiasm of the authors for their subject is apparent on every page.
If you are planning a trip to Ypres or around, you are garanteed an excellent trip, using this superb book.
on 11 December 2009
I visited Ypres in Sept 09 and bought the excellent book after for I had noted it there at £24!! (in Museum/Tourist Office) - and came back to Amazon UK. It is a very thorough reference book, organising the chaos of WW1 into manageable information and one's realisation of size and horror of that location. It is very readable, easy to use in actually walking around sites, and seems very expert.
on 8 January 2005
Entering the busy, teeming Ypres (Ieper, as we have it) through the Menin Gate (de Menenpoort), any visitor will involuntarily believe the cosy old city has retained its erstwhile elegance unimpaired.
By 1917 the Ypres as Edmund Blunden saw it, had been reduced to smithereens. What remained was an eerie, godforsaken 'catacombed sepulchre', a spectre of a place the rare remnants of which appeared to him 'so evidently, but impossibly' medieval.
If anything, the place conjures up all the obvious reminiscences of Flanders' glorious Middle Ages, and first-time visitors will stare their eyes out here as they do in, say, Bruges or Ghent or Lille.
But there's one large but. As much as the surrounding region the present-day Ypres is a reconstruction. All through the Great War, Ypres was the bleeding heart of a Salient (a half-moon area protruding into enemy-occupied territory), and the 150,odd military cemeteries, most of them Commonwealth ones, serve to remind that only dying must have been easy here at the time.
Nearly a century has elapsed since those harrowing days and the tell-tale signs of the war slipping out of memory are stealing both upon the landscape and into people's minds. Is it any wonder that the earliest post-war guide books to the region spoke of pilgrims rather than visitors. And who are we, to blame the old 'War' museums, like the magnificent one inside the Cloth Hall, for having restyled themselves (quite logically) as Peace museums today?
The respectable Times once stated that 'The world has no other such battlefield'. Like us, try to remain aware of this as you tour the region. And like us, continue to approach our Salient with that amount of reticence and respect which we owe to the hundreds of thousands, whatever their origin, who perished here.
As you attend the wistful sonnerie of the Last Post at 8 p.m., camera at the ready and the Holts' invaluable guidebook tucked away in the rucksack for the night, we dare you to remain unmoved. Whether at the In Flanders Fields Museum, the Passchendaele 1917 Memorial Museum, Talbot House (Poperinge), the small cemeteries - don't forget to include the German ones at Langemark or Vladslo - and the new venues in Peace Park Westhoek, listen how the 'millions of the mouthless dead' reclaim their right to speak and warn against the pointlessness of war anywhere at any time.
Then, and while we extend to you our proverbial Flemish hospitality, you will understand why we continue to take it so much to heart.
on 19 October 2009
Many people enjoy tramping over the battlefields of the Somme etc. with little idea of where and when they want to go to specific places. This book (along with other titles from Major and Mrs Holt) provides a very useful guide to the area, suggested routes and places to see and above all a wealth of information re the background to the conflict and some of the personal stories behind the events.
on 29 September 2014
It has been written by an acknowledged "tour guide" expert - and sometimes it feels exactly like that - a "Tour Guides "Guide"", to be used if you have 4 days and a coach full of mixed tourists - some interested in the lives of the fallen, some humbled by the sheer magnitude of those who died & the lines of graves, some just there to please their husbands & wondering where the next cafe is.
For "detail on touring" it's excellent - it will tell you where many of the multitude of Graveyards are, and potted stories of various personalities whose lives were lost on the battlefields.
It will not tell you "exactly" where trench lines were, or which Regiment attacked from which point and in which direction & on what date, so it does not set out to be a Guide for you to be able to walk the battlefields, or necessarily where a particular Cemetery is if you are looking for a specific plot where a relative lies.
So, it's good at what it is, but you will still need more detailed histories of the regiments & battles & trench maps etc if you want to be part of the landscape - remembering that 100 years have past since then.
on 13 November 2013
The map that comes with this book is worth the price alone, and is essential in planning routes to see the battlefields and memorials around Ypres. You can either choose your own itinerary, or choose one of the 3 itineraries set out in the book - and then follow them on the map which contains craters, bunkers, memorials, museums and cemeteries of the Great War.
Note that isn't a book to get just before any visit. You need to get it well in advance in order to absorb the amount of information it offers.