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Customer Review

17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Arras - Peter Barton/Jeremy Banning/IWM, 23 Sept. 2010
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This review is from: Arras: The spring 1917 offensive in panoramas including Vimy Ridge and Bullecourt (Hardcover)
When this book was published, I already had Peter Barton's other panorama-based WWI battlefield works, all produced in collaboration with the IWM ('Battlefields of the First World War', 'the Somme' and 'Passchendaele'). All have greatly impressed me, not only because of the quality of writing and research but through the rich and helpful illustration (superb maps, diagrams, photographs etc., as well as the panoramas themselves). Also worthy of mention are what seems to me to be an ideal landscape format; the solid, weighty feel of each book; and the sheer quality of the publication. Electronic books have their place but this series proves, at least to me, that a 'real' book has a pleasure and satisfaction all its own. I had not expected that coverage of the infamously 'forgotten' battle of Arras would follow the first three, despite its horrendous butcher's bill - worse even than those of the Somme or Third Ypres (Passchendaele). So I was especially delighted when 'Arras' hit the shelves (or, in my case, Amazon's post room). On the strength of the first three books, I ordered it sight unseen - partly because of a particular family interest in the battle and partly because of entirely separate research for a written war memorial. My pleasure, and my confidence in the quality of Peter Barton's work, have been entirely justified. The opportunity to take this book (along with, in my case, Paul Reed's 'Walking Arras') to the area of the battle made a visit vastly more productive. Thus, the ability to refer to Barton's greater detail in the car or hotel room, in support of the pocket-sized battlefield guide, made a better understanding of the complexities of a massively important battle far more accessible - along with some slight appreciation of the courage and sacrifice that it generated. I recommend an excellent piece of work - and the rest of the set to which it belongs. They will remain close to hand by my desk.
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Initial post: 7 Feb 2012 16:24:26 GMT
A really good review, exactly how the book should be seen/used. I also like Barton's intellect - unlike these REVISIONISTS know all/know nothing historians who claim to have "discovered" knew truths and forgotten victories - his skill is to let the reader appreciate the battle as a complex event rooted in a piece of land. I have walked the ground, the maps and photographs and his analysis explain what was there at that time, not invented 90 years on by those posing as [academic] experts.
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