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The Killing Ground: the British Army, the Western Front and the Emergence of Modern Warfare, 1900-1918 (Pen & Sword Military Classics): The British ... Front and Emergency of Modern War 1900-1918 Hardcover – 19 Jul 2003

4.3 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 342 pages
  • Publisher: Pen & Sword Books Ltd; New edition edition (19 July 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0850529646
  • ISBN-13: 978-0850529647
  • Product Dimensions: 19.9 x 13.1 x 2.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 817,001 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

About the Author

Tim Travers is Professor of History at the University of Calgary. He has written widely on British military history and his books include How the War Was Won: Command and Technology in the British Army on the Western Front 1917-1918. His most recent book is Gallipoli 1915.

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Great book and about time too, restores a bit of reason to the "Lions led by Donkeys" historical perspective of the British Army in WW1.
This book is the first I have read that presents a fair assessment of the British Army from top to bottom in WW1 and does so with due consideration to the time and the place instead of presenting the war with the huge advantage of hindsight.
The book style is more academic than popular but it is very readable shedding light on subjects and perspectives not covered by previous generations of military historians. The main focus of the book is the social and military developments from 1890s onwards and the consequences leading to the Battle of the Somme and beyond. There is also a very enlightening section on the writing of the official history and the conflicting personalities involved which have argueably coloured historians view of the war ever since.
If you are remotely interested in WW1 you must read this book.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a hidden gem in WW1 historiography, Travers covers some less known areas such as the 'Official history' and the politics that surrounded it. How such important events can be taken down with complete lack of impartiality is unbelievable. Other others covered consist of the tactics and technologies used by the various commanders and their impact on the battlefield, the difficult area of morale is also covered with intelligence and prudent analysis. Well worth the money if you want a copy and you won't be disappointed.
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Format: Hardcover
After recklessly and unhistorically attributing the ‘mud and blood’ image of the First World War to Blunden, Graves, Manning and Sassoon (p. xvii), Travers demonstrates that, whatever his shortcomings as a literary historian, as a military historian he is first-rate. The idiocies of the 1914-18 British army are documented with relentless precision: the cult of the offensive (p. xx), the schoolboy rhetoric (p. 50), the reliance on brute force (p. 51), the suspicion and persecution (through fatigues) of enlisted men (pp. 52-3, 144-45), the ‘character’-based solution to firepower (p. 89), the refusal of senior officers to listen to unpleasant reports (p. 109), the demoralising effect of trench-raids (p. 140), and the higher command’s ignorance of front-line conditions (p. 184). Deeply researched and written with judicial calmness, this book is a minor classic.
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Format: Hardcover
This is a well researched and well written essay on the British Generals role during the Great War of 1914-1918. One of the main points raised was off course the planning, execution and conduct of the Battles of the Somme 1916 which is remembered 90 years ago this week. Tim Travers explores the mythology and the realities of the terrible struggles endured by the British Army during those summer months. Why the battles went on as long as they did, and remember that the Somme consisted of a few battles, and not one great battle as commonly believed. Why the Generals struggled to gain ground and secure a victory. What was the relationship between General Haig and General Rawlinson GOC of the 4th Army? This is explored in much greater detail than previous. And what effect, if any did the Somme have on the Great War as a whole? I do not believe after years of my own research, that the Somme was a total failure for example. The Germans suffered considerable losses due to Haig's persistant in maintaining the offensive which weakened the German Army and contributed to its final defeat in 1918. Moreover, Haig was bold enough to introduce the 'New Technology' during the autumn of 1916, the 'Tanks' which although were not entirely successful, proved that they could, if used correctly, break down the trench system and the stalemate which had persisted since the autumn of 1914. This essay is a bold attempt to encourage the reader to understand the awful problems the British Generals had in defeating the German Army in the Field from 1916 onwards. For too long now, the British High Command had been severly criticised for the wasteful losses in manpower for little ground gained. A greater understanding is now needed by readers of military history, and this book does attempt a great deal towards that.
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