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A Storm in Flanders: The Ypres Salient, 1914-1918: Tragedy and Triumph on the Western Front Paperback – 7 Apr 2003

4.7 out of 5 stars 15 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Grove Press / Atlantic Monthly Press; Reprint edition (7 April 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0802139981
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802139986
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 2 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,381,751 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"A dramatic, thoughtful, and extremely humanistic treatment of this heartbreaking chapter in early twentieth-century history."

"This is a storyteller's narrative of handy size....Groom is very good at describing the constant terrors of this species of warfare."

"At a time when patriotizm is strong among Americans, it would be good to read this entertaining and instructive narrative."

Book Description

A vivid page-turning narrative of the most horrific battle in history by a soldier-turned best-selling novelist --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Format: Hardcover
Winston Groom's latest historical work 'A Storm in Flanders', offers the reader an interesting and satisfying overview of the fighting around the Ypres Salient between 1914 and 1918. The book is 276 pages in length of which over 260 is text. This account cannot be considered comprehensive in its study of the Ypres Salient in the Great War, for that you will need to look elsewhere. However what Mr Groom does offer is a compelling look at the numerous battles fought around the Ypres Salient, including one of the most dreadful battles of World War One, Passchendaele, the Third Battle of Ypres.
The author has attempted to give you, the reader, an insight into the lives of the soldier huddled in his wet trench under constant artillery fire, where thousands of soldiers lost their lives in daily 'wastage', even during quiet periods. The story is told mainly from the British point of view, with numerous first-hand accounts offered throughout the book. The narrative is fast paced and you never get tired or bored with the story. I have read many books on the Great War and I never cease to wonder why these brave men endured what they did and for so long.
The author provides the reader with details about the introduction of new weapons of destruction unleashed for the first time during the Great War. Stories of how poisons gas was utilized by the Germans and then the Allies, followed by accounts of the victims and witnesses to the effects of gas are truly horrendous. Then follows the introduction massive underground mines and the flame-thrower to combat the trench systems and machine gun posts of the enemy.
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Format: Hardcover
I have a long-standing interest in history in general and military history in particular. After reading dozens if not hundreds of these books, I have found that the ones that stick with me are the ones that are beautifully written.
"A Storm in Flanders" is such a book, focusing on the British experience in the Ypres Salient during World War I. Groom wrote "Forrest Gump," as well as several history books. He knows how to put a sentence together and how to tell a gripping story. Once I picked this book up and started reading, I was hooked.
Much as Stephen Ambrose did in his elegant books about World War II, Groom moves seamlessly between the generals in their chateaus and the grunts in their trenches. He makes use of diaries and poetry to tell the human story of a struggle that is all too often reduced to an abstract description of maneuver and battle. And he is very fair in his assessments--he acknowledges the criticisms of General Haig and many of the other leaders of the war, but he is always careful to balance these views with other considerations. The result is a well-told tale, fair and sympathetic to everyone involved.
The story of the Ypres Salient is not pretty. Groom does not pull his punches and does his best to give the reader, sitting in a comfortable armchair, some sense of just how horrible the Great War was.
How anyone could live and fight in such conditions without going mad is simply beyond my comprehension, yet many British, French and German soldiers managed to do just that for four years running. Groom doesn't delve too deeply into the psychology of the soldiers, observing that "the search for 'why' and 'how' remains elusive and any effort to reason it out is to fashion a mirror of hell itself.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Winston Groom’s reasons for writing the book and studying the history are outlined at the beginning, and make this an all the more personal and touching depiction of events, battles, and aftermath.

A Storm in Flanders gives a clear overview of how events led up to the war itself, the battles, conditions and logistics throughout, and the aftermath. He gives a mix of factual information, including a very useful table of unit size and names , and personal accounts, citing letters from soldiers fighting, contributing to an overall perception of what happened. This isn’t just a historical overview; A Storm in Flanders confronts and highlights the human reality of the impact. Groom points out that this was not an American victory, but a shocking and awful loss of millions of men, regardless of nationality or rank.

I would recommend this to anyone who has an interest in improving their understanding of how WW1 came about, and want to do so from a clear, insightful and respectful narrator.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I cannot enthuse about this book enough. After recently visiting Flanders fields I was eager to read more. This book was not all facts and dates (although they are there) it tells of human stories too. I think everyone needs to read this book and make us realise and then remember what our soldiers went through 100 years ago.
It would make us feel grateful for the lives we live today instead of whinging at the slightest deviation from norm.
It also makes the modern charity Help The Heroes more important too. Give generously and think of all our soldiers , whatever era.
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