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 Post subject: Catastrophe: Europe goes to War 1914
PostPosted: Thu Jan 23, 2014 7:34 pm 
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Location: Sussex and Cantal
If you are at all interested in this topic (and bearing in mind the anniversary I suspect that many are) I would recommend this book to you. I found it very informative and well written. My generation usually saw both grandfathers fight in this conflict, and we tended to be taught that it was a waste, and a purely imperialist struggle. We received the war poets' view. Max Hastings doesn't glorify (far from it) or seek to lessen the awfulness of it, but makes the point that Germany had to be defeated. He pins the blame for the conflict on the Germans. Perhaps this is something that needs to be said, and Hastings says it rather better than today's politicians in their recent arguments. There clearly was a German expansionist agenda, and the world would have been a very different place had a German victory occurred.

The book deals with the first 5 months of the war, but those months were sufficient to see the stalemate of the trenches become established. He is scathing about the quality of most military leaders during this time, and contrary to the myths really doesn't rate the British Expeditionary force (at least until Haigh took over). In fact, he is rather more impressed by the French army, and how it withstood the awful battering it took.

I would be interested to hear what others think.


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 Post subject: Re: Catastrophe: Europe goes to War 1914
PostPosted: Thu Jan 23, 2014 8:07 pm 
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Joined: Tue Feb 03, 2009 11:43 am
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Location: Correze (19)
Another good book is Richard Holmes "Tommy". An insight into how the war affected individuals, their reactions to it and their attitudes and behaviour. Again a real eye opener which will knock aside many previously held beliefs.


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 Post subject: Re: Catastrophe: Europe goes to War 1914
PostPosted: Fri Jan 24, 2014 5:40 pm 
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Joined: Sun Feb 01, 2009 10:37 am
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Location: Auvergne
Just read 'The fall of giants' by Ken Follett, a different perspective and a page turner to boot! WW2 is deal with in the sequel 'Winter of the World', both big reads that left me sad that I had finished them.


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 Post subject: Re: Catastrophe: Europe goes to War 1914
PostPosted: Fri Jan 24, 2014 8:11 pm 
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Joined: Tue Feb 03, 2009 11:43 am
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Location: Correze (19)
"Fall of Giants" is fictional but as said an excellent read (although not as good as Pillars of the Earth) but an even better fictional account covering 3 wars, Boer, Great War & 2nd World War is R F Delderfield's "Horseman Riding By" Trilogy. It also icovers the major social changes over that period particularly in agriculture. Delderfield is a superb writer and well worth reading.


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 Post subject: Re: Catastrophe: Europe goes to War 1914
PostPosted: Fri Jan 24, 2014 9:36 pm 
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Location: Auvergne
I think I need to reread the Delderfield as I was in labour last time and can't remember it very well!


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