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Gardeners of Salonika Hardcover – 1 Sep 1965

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Hardcover, 1 Sep 1965
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Product details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Distribution Services; 1st Edition edition (Sept. 1965)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0233957480
  • ISBN-13: 978-0233957487
  • Package Dimensions: 23.6 x 15.7 x 2.8 cm
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,029,975 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

About the Author

Alan Palmer was head of History at Highgate School, London for nineteen years before retiring early to concentrate on historical writing and research. He is the author of more than three dozen works: narrative histories; biographies; historical dictionaries ir reference books. His main interests are in the Napoleonic era, nineteenth century diplomacy, the First World War and Eastern Europe, although his Northern Shores is a history of the Baltic Sea and its peoples from earliest times to 2004. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in 1980. Of Alan Palmer, Sir John Keegan has written, ' Alan Palmer writes the sort of history that dons did before "accessible" became an academic insult. It is cool, rational, scholarly, literate.'Faber Finds is reissuing a number of his titles: Alexander I, The Gardeners of Salonika, The Chancelleries of Europe, The East End, The Decline and Fall of the Ottoman Empire, The Lands Between, Metternich, Twilight of the Habsburgs.

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Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars 1 review
4.0 out of 5 stars A fine history of the Allied bridgehead in Salonika 1915-18 28 Feb. 2014
By william mathews - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
It was quite a struggle first to get into Salonika and then to get out, but the Allies collectively did what probably none of them would have done individually. Palmer provides a very balanced account of this frustrating episode out of the First World War, getting not only the French and British decisions into it but also the Serbs, the Greeks, the Russians, Albanians and the Italians. In the end it was as much a political dilemma as it was a military one that got several hundred thousand Allied troops stuck between mountains in Macedonia and malaria in the swamps around the shore. Indeed, diseases were more debilitating than firepower in this theater of operations. Logistics were tenuous until effective solutions were found for German submarines, a lack of roads and rails, and the imponderables of Greek politics. By 1918, however, these matters were getting solved and an attack plan was put in place. King Constantine was forced into exile, a Greek army was recruited, roads were constructed, and ammunition stocks improved; finally, the faltering of the German offensive in France in the summer of 1918 opened the door for Allied approval for a bold offensive in Salonika in September 1918.

But a major element of the Allied breakthru in September 1918 came from the exhaustion of the Bulgarians. Palmer does not neglect the topic, but he does miss the pact of the disastrous drought that swept the Balkans in 1918, stunting the crops in the summer. True the Bulgarians had little to fight for after 1915, but the collapse of the Bulgarians around Salonika in September was linked to the Bulgarian troops' concern about the home front, about peasant family farms facing famine as winter approached. The regime of King Ferdinand was already shaking when the battle was joined in Salonika. The Allied strategy no doubt was well executed but the mutiny of the 3. Bulgarian Division and then the subsequent general collapse were linked to the home front.

This book would be greatly improved with maps that were better coordinated with the text: a map of the 1916 battleground would be helpful, but, unfortunately this is often a problem in military histories, the references in the text need to be linked to references on the maps for the reader to visualize the course of events, Otherwise, Palmer has delivered that most rare book for a British historian, pointing out the key role of the French in finding the way out of the swamps in 1918.
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