1914: Fight the Good Fight: Britain, the Army and the Coming of the First World War Hardcover – 29 Aug 2013
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"Mallinson uncovers a litany of rivalry and miscalculation. With the Great War's centenary commemorations on the horizon, he has produced a must-read for anyone who wants to know how Britain practically stumbled into one of the bloodiest conflicts in history." (SUNDAY EXPRESS)
"Formidable and page-turning . . . Mallinson's clinical examination of the 'what ifs' is as compelling as his account of the death of a small but professional army, scarficed to the incuriosity of our politicians and disinclination of military leaders to countenance any challange to what they believed were best laid plans." (Michael Tillotson THE TIMES)
"Compelling and rigorously researched...paints a vivid picture. . . this is not dry military history. He tells the story through many eyes of those on the frontline, from general to Tommy. It's recounted through regimental histories and underpinned with his deep understanding of tactics . . . offers unique insights on the planning, 'politicking' and fighting." (DAILY EXPRESS)
"In the deluge of books to mark the centenary of the start of the Great War, it is refreshing to find one written by a former soldier who is also an accomplished military historian . . . a vivid picture . . . with his soldier's grasp of tactics and strategy, Mallinson describes with clarity and authority the opening weeks of the war." (Simon Heffer DAILY MAIL)
"Mallinson writes with an exciting pen and a cool head and he understands war." (Prof. Michael Clarke, Director General of the Royal United Services Institute The Times)
In the run up to the centenary of the First World War comes a fascinating and revelatory new history of the origins of the war, of those first few crucial weeks of fighting, and of how Britain and its army fared.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
He originally had trained for the Anglican Priesthood.
He is the author of the Hervey novels in which the heroes are British Army Officers. Of the 11 published I particularly recommend 'A Call To Arms' (2002). All however are a good read.
He has also written non-fiction books, for example a history of 4 British cavalry regiments, and 'The Making of the British Army' in which he examines some 500 years of the British Army up tp 2002. He also writes occasional articles on defence matters for the 'Times'.
His army experience shows in this new book about the First World War. He is particularly good on the opening weeks of the war when the BEF were engaged in a war that they had not been trained for-it was a close run thing. Mallinson pulls no punches when he details the suffering and at times the futility of it all.
Thankfully, he does not join those who claim we should have kept out of the war. Asquith as Prime Minister made it clear that we owed a debt of honour to little Belgium, and that we could not let France face the Germans alone.
Unsurprisingly, there is little that is new in this book. However, it is written with clarity and an excellent style. As such it is an excellent addition to the academic and magisterial works of Strachan, Bond, Stevenson,Clarke and Sheffield. What Mallinson lacks in academic terms he more than makes up with his deep personal knowledge of soldiering.Read more ›
Mallinson has over three decades experience as a soldier and a staff officer and this brings an authority and insight to his writing. He has clearly done extensive and meticulous research but his professional experience means he understands the psychology of soldiers of every rank.
He uses first-person accounts from his research to great effect. During the fierce fighting on 24 August 1914 (known as ‘Shrapnel Monday’ because of the amount of shots fired), he quotes Captain Francis Grenfell of the Lancers: “We galloped about like rabbits in front of a line of guns, men and horses falling in all directions.” Another recalls the relief of being soaked in a downpour after carrying fifty pounds of equipment in the relentless heat: “Good as a bath, and twice as refreshing.”
Mallinson’s writing style is fresh and vivid throughout. His own account of politicians assembling and arguing in the stifling offices of the secretary of state is as gripping as any novel, as are his accounts of battle. There is excellent use of battle plans in the book, and the supporting photographs and old cartoons are superb. Highly recommended as both an authoritative and accessible history of the period.
Note: I received a free review copy of this book via the Historical Novel Society. This review (or an edited version) has appeared in the Historical Novels Review. My review is my independent opinion.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
an excellent regimental review of the outbreak of WW1 and the failure of British defence and foreign policy, and a good study in late decision making.Published 21 months ago by Tony Davidson
Excellent book makes you glad that we will not ever have to go though that againPublished 22 months ago by Ray Hall
Background information to the beginning of the Great War. A very interesting read.Published 22 months ago by Bigshopper48