on 27 February 2008
Pen & Sword's ever-growing Battleground series are generally a good mix of history and battlefield guide. The quality of the series varies (most are good, some are excellent). Le Cateau is outstanding - probably the best produced. To call it a mere battlefield guide would be to do it a great disservice. This is first and foremost an excellently-illustrated account of a battle often (unfairly) overshadowed by the action at Mons a few days before. Indeed, there are scores of images - for the most part they've reproduced excellently.
What lifts the book above the rest of the series is the narrative, however. Nigel Cave provides some first-rate first person accounts from British participants; Jack Sheldon does the same from the German viewpoint - a viewpoint long missing from Le Cateau. The result is as good, comprehensive and even-handed account of Le Cateau as you'll find. Add to that the 50 or so pages devoted to touring the battlefield and its cemeteries and you have an indispensable addition to our literature on the battles of 1914.