Customer Review

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Far more than I expected!, 14 Jan 2014
This review is from: Mapping the First World War: Battlefields of the Great Conflict from Above (Hardcover)
As is common with former servicemen, I retain an abiding interest in British military history. As such I have been frequently disappointed with books and DVDs which purport to cover the subject of WW1 Battlefields. I came to this particular work, however, because it provided a new slant (for me at least) and my overall impression is one of an excellent product.

Two of the most difficult aspects of `Battlefield Tours' are; (A) in seeing a famous battle (Somme, Ypres etc) in a global context and (B) in trying to identify those positions and places which were once the scene of fierce fighting in the light of all the attendant changes brought about by the passing of almost 100 years. All things considered, therefore, a book which shows those battlefield maps - from both perspectives, was long overdue. In addition, the work itself goes much further than one might expect from the title and the reader will soon discover a real treasury of information which covers almost every aspect of WW1 - both at home and abroad.

The `Contents' page commences with an Introduction and ends with an Index of Maps. These being just two of the 100 separate headings with the remainder appearing in chronological order. Far too many to list in a simple review, some examples of the subject matter are (in the order they appear); Religion and Population of Croatia and Slavonia in 1910, Turkey in Europe 1914, German war aims 1914, U-boat positions, the BEF at Mons, the BEF at Aisne, Gallipoli, Defences around London, Vimy Ridge, East Africa, Yugoslavia, Trench Lines, Messines, Ypres, Middle East, German order of battle, German supply and communications systems, Flanders, Successive fronts, Vittorio Veneto, XIV Corps, Royal Engineers 1916 and German Fleet at Scapa Flow 1919. In short, this is a visit to every theatre of war in addition to what went before and what followed in 1919 - as we read our way through the crucial events which did much to shape the remainder of the 20th Century. It was far more than I had expected!

Being a complete appraisal of the entire subject of WW1, some maps provide everything from a worldwide view of the various battles and, therefore, the dispositions of the entire armies of various nations, showing the countries and forces involved in a global context. Other maps which, although more local, are, for example, factual reproductions of actual battle plans with deployments of troops shown over vast areas. Working our way down the scale (literally) yet more show local detail and may need a magnifying glass. So what? My Silva Compass has a magnifying glass inbuilt and, as anyone who regularly uses one of these will affirm, that feature is always in constant use!

Finally, there appears to be plenty of detail for those who want to follow the battlefield on the ground and, to provide further assistance, there are also aerial photo-montages which depict the buildings and fields. Altogether, I would suggest this work is a tour de force for which the author and publishers should be congratulated.

As far as my own criticisms are concerned, I do not understand why the word `defence' (singular and plural) is misspelt throughout the work. No, I am not being `picky-picky,' I mention this simply to underline the only fault I found.

Do enjoy.

(Retired British army major)
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 29 Jan 2014 11:58:51 GMT
C. Nation says:
Defense with an 's' is the American spelling. I am amazed that, with your service background, you did not know this.

In reply to an earlier post on 29 Jan 2014 17:05:43 GMT
Last edited by the author on 31 Jan 2014 11:16:48 GMT
You presume to know the extent of my knowledge. It because the American spelling is used throughout this work that I made the comment!

Best wishes.

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Review Details



Ned Middleton

Location: British professional underwater photo-journalist & author

Top Reviewer Ranking: 22