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4.5 out of 5 stars17
4.5 out of 5 stars
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VINE VOICEon 21 September 2009
Having made my first visit to Verdun last week I bought several books (okay, many) including "Walking Verdun" and "Fort Douaumont" by Christina Holstein (separate review for the latter). Both have considerable overlap, but Douaumont is for me more interesting. As the reviews here have noted she is an excellent companion for visiting and walking the battlefield.

I simply wish to make a comment to the publisher. While "Walking Verdun" is a little better, both books suffer from poor illustration; the maps, modern photographs and plans are dismal. A competent photographer with a wide-angle lens and high contrast film is required as is a graphic designer / illustrator. Certainly clearer - colour coded - plans for the forts (specifically Douaumont and Vaux) are essential. Embarrassingly, the Michelin Guide "Verdun - and the Battle for its Possession" published in 1919 has superior maps and better definition pictures. Some 90 years on with a basic PC / programme 'Pen and Sword' need to improve. It is not difficult to produce 3D contour maps which would go some way helping visualise the ground, which as others have said is difficult given the dense tree cover!

We, and no doubt Ms Holstein, should expect more. Illustrations, in particular maps, plans and diagrams are fascinating concisely transmitting the facts and feel of the battle. One example is Peter Barton's books on the Somme, Passchendaele and Beneath Flanders Fields which are superb. I see no reason - even if it adds a little to the price - why this book should not be significantly better.
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on 1 July 2010
I have travelled and explored the Somme area and wanted to expand into Verdun so purchased this book to whet the appetite, it did just that and more, so before I left England I had an idea of what to expect. In the Verdun area itself, the book really came into it's own, bringing the history, battlefields, and fortifications to life. The walks are easy to follow so the book is a "must have" whilst in the area, I did not manage to walk all the pathways described but can't wait to go back again to do as many more as possible with this essential guidebook. I found it to be some of the best money I've ever spent and recommend it to anyone visiting Verdun, whether expert of enthusiastic amateur.

Thank you Christina.
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on 7 February 2013
I bought this as I plan a field trip to Verdun. The layout looks good with useful narrative for the walks. I'd have been even more positive if a modern map could have been faintly superimposed on the schematics. The problems with the eternal quest for perfection!
I'd imagine it will be perfect for when I do visit.
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on 29 June 2014
Took this on my first visit to Verdun in May/June this year. I found it very useful getting around. Well written and easy to understand. A must for the Verdun battlefields.
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on 22 February 2016
A very good book but it is a guide rather than a history, therefore it does not cover every aspect of the battle. That said it is a useful addition to any collection.
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on 29 December 2013
Highly recommend for students of the battlefield. It's the exact tool needed to find the areas nobody else can find, or even knows about.
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on 9 August 2009
I wanted a guidebook to the Verdun battlefield area which would ensure that I was able to arrive there with clear priorities as to how to spend the limited time available to me and this book proved ideal. The various walks are accurately described and easy to follow and pre-reading enables a thorough understanding of the battle tactics and events. Visitors to the battlefield should be forewarned, however, that the forestation throughout the area since 1918 makes sightlines and ground appreciation almost impossible. All in all this book was an excellent purchase.
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on 13 August 2009
This latest book by Christina Holstein, one of the greatest living experts on the battlefield of Verdun, is a magnificent addition to the literature and an indispensable aid to all visitors to this bloody corner of France. The author's mastery of historical detail and intimate knowledge of the ground shines out on every page of a book which is ingeniously constructed so as to provide in one compact format a condensed history of the main threads of the 1916 battle, together with an authoratative description of the physical traces still visible and accessible on this scarred landscape.

Altogether, ten chronologically arranged walks of varying lengths are described, each of which, whether conducting the visitor round the famous forts and the ghostly ruined villages, onto the dominating heights, or into the depths of the densely forested sectors, help to provide perspective on the battle and orientation in an area which is notoriously difficult for the visitor to comprehend and appreciate. To do so will require a week-long visit, but the journey of discovery will be well worthwhile.

This book is the next best thing to having Christina by your side as you explore this dramatic and evocative landscape, so do not head for Verdun without a copy and the essential IGN 1:25,000 map 'Champ de Bataille de Verdun.'
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on 17 October 2009
Having been an ameteur world war one historian for over 20 years and after visitng most of the British line of the western front, I decided to vist the French sector a couple of years ago and was amazed at what there is to see. Verdun is one of those great atmospheric battlefields whose lunar lanscape has been softened with forest, but there is much to see. On that visit I missed out on walks and guides to the area. I am visiting again next week (Oct 2009) and bought the book to assist me. Knowing a little about the battlefield and its geography after my first visit, Christina Holsteins book would appear to be invaluable. Of particular interest to me is the area around Mort Homme and Hill 304. Christina delivers a guide to walk around Mort Homme which I don`t think I could have found without this guide. Other walks detailed in the book seem accessible and easy to follow, and I hope to walk some of her suggestions on my visit.
There is little in English about the French army of the Great war. They seem the forgotten army of the conflict. This book is to me, an important guide that will assist people like me who want to learn more and visit the places where men died in their thousands for misguided prinicpals in a world that bore no resembelance to the one we live in today.
On a personal note, I have coresponded with the author for some help in finding the area where the 92 French Infantry Regiment attacked at Mort Homme in March 1916.Not only is the lady incredibly knowledgable, but approachable and extremely helpful.That is a massive recommendation in itself.
This no magnificent work on the scale of Hornes "Price of Glory", but anyone wanting to visit this sacred battlefield or just learn a little about what happended there, buy this book and go and walk where heroes fell.
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on 26 July 2012
Just returned from 2 weeks walking the Verdun battlefields and using this super book as our guide. Yes you do need a good map with you too but these walks are excellent and Ms Holstein's notes and commentary are really knowledgable. We explored the whole area and saw so much that could not have been seen unless one had this book ( or perhaps a guide) with you.
Thoroughly recommended.
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