With Our Backs to the Wall: Victory and Defeat in 1918 Paperback – 31 May 2012
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It is impossible ... to exaggerate how impressive this book is (David Crane The Spectator)
Brilliant and comprehensive ... a major contribution (A. W. Purdue The Times Higher Education Supplement)
This is, as one would expect from a historian of Stevenson's great learning and analytical power, a masterly study (The Sunday Telegraph)
An immensely useful study, emphasising the crucial importance of morale, political stability and trust (Max Egremont Literary Review)
Stevenson brings to his study a formidable authority and mastery of the sources, and judgments that seem admirably measured and nuanced (Max Hastings Sunday Times)
A fascinating military narrative ... masterly (William Anthony Hay Wall Street Journal)
A magnificent and exhaustive account of the war's final year ... Stevenson has a deserved reputation as one of the world's leading authorities on the war (Tony Barber Financial Times)
A magisterial single volume synthesis of all the themes to deliver a punchy, incisive reboot of WW1 history that is never a dull read (Warships International Fleet Review)
An outstanding contribution (Frank Ellis Quarterly Review)
A monumental study deserving of a wide readership by scholars and generalists alike (Library Journal)
Stevenson's grand scope, his international perspective, and his reliable judgements, combined with crystal-clear writing, have produced an exemplary book, a formidable contribution to our understanding of the Great War and the twentieth century (English Historical Review)
The strength of the book lies in his ability to weave together astute analysis of the antagonists' abilities and weaknesses ... Told with verve and analytical vigour, Stevenson's book is a compelling and authoritative study of one of the most significant turning points in 20th-century military history (Robert Gerwath The Irish Times)
Stevenson's detailed, lucid description of the development and maturation of that ability reflects encyclopedic mastery of published and archival sources while synergizing military, economic, political, and social-cultural factors. It is a professor's page-turner. It is also a door-opener to any reader seeking to understand the Great War's last stage (Publishers Weekly)
About the Author
David Stevenson is a Professor of International History at the London School of Economics and Political Science, and author of the highly praised 1914-1918: The History of the First World War: 'Momentous... this history of the conflict surpasses all others', Independent; 'Superb', Ian Kershaw; 'David Stevenson is the real deal', Niall Ferguson; 'The best comprehensive one-volume history of the war yet written', New Yorker.
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Top customer reviews
Stevenson covers the actual military aspect rather quickly than most would like but really this is because Germany was only defeated militarilly when all of the other facets that enable nations to survive such a calamity are met and overcome, and sometimes then it is still not clear such as it was in 1918.
For me this is why 1918 is far more interesting than 1945, because of this historical ambiguity and the relative swiftness of the ending after 4 years of stalemate.
Stevenson explains piece by piece how the war affected the social, political, economic, logistical, tactical & technological developments of each warring nation, and right across to the Balkans and also Turkey whose involvement you are able to see in the complete picture of events as they unfold. Some of the details on shipping etc are quite dry to read but its not long before you are brought back to the mayhem of the front line to put it all in context.
This is a must for students and those interested in the subject that want to know detail, its so much more than military history, it should be seen as a bookend on the 1914-1918 conflict to sit there with Tuchman's 'Guns of August' at the other end. Although totally different in their format, they are the best on the years that they cover for different reasons.
The author tells you the history of this last year of war that could have bring the victory to the Central Empires and instead, it brought to them a total defeat..
This book take care to talk to you about all the aspects of this war , including the war at sea and its effects on the home fronts.
A wonderful book.
I also learnt some interesting and surprising facts along the way eg Austria-Hungary wasn't really involved militarily in any significant way after mid-1917, except on the relatively quiet Italian front - such that their military expenditure fell significantly from 1916 to 1918. They were brought down by their food distribution network rather than military defeat per se.
This is a scholarly book for people who have an interest in the subject - perhaps a little dry if this is a starting point but well worth the effort.
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