Having read the original version of this book I decided to update myself with the revised version. Fortunately, Passingham has not simply rehashed the old, but added depth to his initial publication. This is the most readable version of the battle, easier to follow than Turner's book on the same subject and more in depth. However, the depth of research (especially photographs) does not detract from the understanding of how the battle progressed. Passingham has also approached the subject matter with a focus on the meticulous build up - tunneling,supplies, use of terrain models, training, that ensured General Plumer (probably the best British General on the Western Front) was achieved the first notable success in this theatre of war, where attacking casualties were far lower than those of the defending Germans. Messines Ridge is a battle often overlooked in favour of the battle to follow shortly afterwards - Passchendaele. This book will enable the reader to understand how and why this battle was successfully fought - a blue print for ultimate victory and described as "A black day for the German Army"
Ian Passingham's account of the battel of Messens is with out doubt of of the best works covering this highly sucessfull battelyet published. Involving troops from both Britian and the Comonwealth Messens showed what was possible within the confines of WW1 infantry tactics and was a glimps of what may have been possible latter in 1917 given the continuation of the leadership shown at Messens. Vital reading for all interested in WW1,Pillars of Fire would also be of interest to those from Britian and the Comonwealth whos faimly menbers took part with the ANZAC Divisions.
Being comparatively new to the field of WWI study, I had little idea of what to expect from this book, save that it came well-recommended. It did not disappoint at all. It is a remarkably readable account of the many months that led up to, and the few hours that actually became the Battle of Messines. Not only is the narrative well-told and very engaging, but there is a large amount of detail and statistical evidence to support the story. If are going to visit the battle sites, this book will prepare you more than adequately to find and understand the geography of the area and then to understand how the battle was planned and executed. A most excellent read.
Book was recommended by battlefield guide.Since I was still on holiday I would get a sample.So imagine my disappointment when opening sample to find page upon page of lists-maps, contents, photographs etc. Not one word of the book. So the sample does not sell the book.