9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
not magnificent and strange,
This review is from: Magnificent But Not War (Pen & Sword Military Classics) (Paperback)
John Dixon's book about second Ypres is not a good book.
1) Dixon uses nearly only British sources. This means that highly relevant questions remain unanswered. To take one example: surely French sources must give better answers to the question why French troops on the left flank did not attack when promised, the reason many attacks of the British were completely futile. Again, German sources should contain more information why the Germans did not push through after the first, very successful gas attacks. This book merely contains guesstimates on German reasoning.
2) I realise how difficult it is to achieve this in book form, but the connection between text and maps is essential if a reader is to understand developments. I found this not very successful. In future it will be possible to develop "books" in which every time you click on the text, you get a map on which the location of happenings is indicated, including the locations of other troops involved.
2) The 2nd point is more a cultural than a qualitative point. Reviewer is a Dutch middle class retired professional, with no military background. Why so much details of British officer casualties, and relatively few of other ranks, and none of German nor French. The book contains 17 portraits of officers killed, and four of other ranks, while only 2% of the casualities were officers. Richard Holmes' "the western front" is an example how this balance can be achieved (at least in the eyes of this alien).