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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Balance at Last!
Great book and about time too, restores a bit of reason to the "Lions led by Donkeys" historical perspective of the British Army in WW1.
This book is the first I have read that presents a fair assessment of the British Army from top to bottom in WW1 and does so with due consideration to the time and the place instead of presenting the war with the huge advantage of...
Published on 25 Nov 2004 by JONAH8208

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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Enlightening
This book contains a lot of detail that I have found lacking in many books about the performance of both the BEF and its Senior officers throughout the conflict.
I would class it as a 'must read' but with one reservation - the book comes across as having a central theme and that is that Haig and his staff were not up to the job and this book is setting out to prove...
Published on 19 April 2008 by P. J. Dawes


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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Balance at Last!, 25 Nov 2004
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JONAH8208 "jonah8208" (St Martins, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Killing Ground: the British Army, the Western Front and the Emergence of Modern Warfare, 1900-1918 (Pen & Sword Military Classics): The British ... Front and Emergency of Modern War 1900-1918 (Paperback)
Great book and about time too, restores a bit of reason to the "Lions led by Donkeys" historical perspective of the British Army in WW1.
This book is the first I have read that presents a fair assessment of the British Army from top to bottom in WW1 and does so with due consideration to the time and the place instead of presenting the war with the huge advantage of hindsight.
The book style is more academic than popular but it is very readable shedding light on subjects and perspectives not covered by previous generations of military historians. The main focus of the book is the social and military developments from 1890s onwards and the consequences leading to the Battle of the Somme and beyond. There is also a very enlightening section on the writing of the official history and the conflicting personalities involved which have argueably coloured historians view of the war ever since.
If you are remotely interested in WW1 you must read this book.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Well Written Essay on the Real Truth about the British Generals, 6 July 2006
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E. A. Redfearn "eredfearn2" (Middlesbrough) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Killing Ground: the British Army, the Western Front and the Emergence of Modern Warfare, 1900-1918 (Pen & Sword Military Classics): The British ... Front and Emergency of Modern War 1900-1918 (Paperback)
This is a well researched and well written essay on the British Generals role during the Great War of 1914-1918. One of the main points raised was off course the planning, execution and conduct of the Battles of the Somme 1916 which is remembered 90 years ago this week. Tim Travers explores the mythology and the realities of the terrible struggles endured by the British Army during those summer months. Why the battles went on as long as they did, and remember that the Somme consisted of a few battles, and not one great battle as commonly believed. Why the Generals struggled to gain ground and secure a victory. What was the relationship between General Haig and General Rawlinson GOC of the 4th Army? This is explored in much greater detail than previous. And what effect, if any did the Somme have on the Great War as a whole? I do not believe after years of my own research, that the Somme was a total failure for example. The Germans suffered considerable losses due to Haig's persistant in maintaining the offensive which weakened the German Army and contributed to its final defeat in 1918. Moreover, Haig was bold enough to introduce the 'New Technology' during the autumn of 1916, the 'Tanks' which although were not entirely successful, proved that they could, if used correctly, break down the trench system and the stalemate which had persisted since the autumn of 1914. This essay is a bold attempt to encourage the reader to understand the awful problems the British Generals had in defeating the German Army in the Field from 1916 onwards. For too long now, the British High Command had been severly criticised for the wasteful losses in manpower for little ground gained. A greater understanding is now needed by readers of military history, and this book does attempt a great deal towards that.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant insight and research..., 19 May 2014
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This is a hidden gem in WW1 historiography, Travers covers some less known areas such as the 'Official history' and the politics that surrounded it. How such important events can be taken down with complete lack of impartiality is unbelievable. Other others covered consist of the tactics and technologies used by the various commanders and their impact on the battlefield, the difficult area of morale is also covered with intelligence and prudent analysis. Well worth the money if you want a copy and you won't be disappointed.
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Enlightening, 19 April 2008
By 
P. J. Dawes (Bracknell, Berkshire United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Killing Ground: the British Army, the Western Front and the Emergence of Modern Warfare, 1900-1918 (Pen & Sword Military Classics): The British ... Front and Emergency of Modern War 1900-1918 (Paperback)
This book contains a lot of detail that I have found lacking in many books about the performance of both the BEF and its Senior officers throughout the conflict.
I would class it as a 'must read' but with one reservation - the book comes across as having a central theme and that is that Haig and his staff were not up to the job and this book is setting out to prove it.
While personally I do not judge any of the fighting on the western front to have been 'well fought and well planned' and do not apply this to just the BEF - the two most successful offensives in the West were both German (Initial invasion in 1914 and then the Michael offensives in 1918) neither achieved their objectives either and ultimately cost Germany the war.
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