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What WW1 books are you reading?


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#1251 centurion

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Posted 30 April 2012 - 06:28 PM

I was lucky enough to read the complete Memoirs of George Sherston which gives Sassoon's biography from a youngster and shows background etc. The reader gets a fuller picture of Sassoon. One must bear in mind that Sassoon was a poet and that like Graves, may have occasionally indulged in a bit of poetic licence. Again, a classic and I would say a must read. With Capt. Dunn, Sassoon, Graves and Frank Richards, the Welsh Fusiliers were the best served regiment from a documentary point of view. Each book, deservedly seen as a classic.


In both instances I'd change "occasionally indulged in a bit of poetic licence"to sometimes quaffed great draughts of it. but neither of them pretended that these books were sober historical records but novels based on their experience and none the worse for that.





My current anorakic reading is "The naval blockade 1914 -18" translated from the French (published in the 1920s). Cuts through a lot of myths



#1252 hazel clark

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Posted 01 May 2012 - 02:12 AM

I have decided to re-read Prior and Wilson on Passchendaele when I have finished Wolff. You are right about his viewpoint but it seems to me that he is quoting some of the same stuff as P. & R. and I would like to compare their conclusions with both books fresh in my mind.

As far as Sasoon is concerned, I suspect that I will enjoy his works. He was, as you say, a poet and I like poetry, but as well as that, books by people like Sassoon and Graves are also a chronicle of their times.

Hazel C.

I was lucky enough to read the complete Memoirs of George Sherston which gives Sassoon's biography from a youngster and shows background etc. The reader gets a fuller picture of Sassoon. One must bear in mind that Sassoon was a poet and that like Graves, may have occasionally indulged in a bit of poetic licence. Again, a classic and I would say a must read. With Capt. Dunn, Sassoon, Graves and Frank Richards, the Welsh Fusiliers were the best served regiment from a documentary point of view. Each book, deservedly seen as a classic.



#1253 Steven Broomfield

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Posted 01 May 2012 - 06:54 AM

I was lucky enough to read the complete Memoirs of George Sherston which gives Sassoon's biography from a youngster and shows background etc. The reader gets a fuller picture of Sassoon.

If you've not, you should read his autobiographical memoirs: The Weald of Youth, The Old Century and Seven More Years and Siegfried's Journey are wonderful books; probably the nearest to poetry one can get without writing in couplets.

Wonderful: elegaic.

#1254 WorldWarOne234

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Posted 01 May 2012 - 07:21 PM

Can someone give me some good recommendations as far as John Terraine books? I am interested in the U-boat Wars 1914-1918 as well as WWI. Are there other authors who have insight to the WWI as well as the best U-Boat books acquire.

#1255 WorldWarOne234

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Posted 02 May 2012 - 05:19 PM

I would like to know the best books to read about World War I and the U-Boat Wars. I have read some histories of the First World War but would like to spend my money on the best books to read and for my collection. I know John Terraine is considered to be one of the best and would love to get some suggestions as to what were his best. I also would like to know who some of the best Historical writers were of the First World War as well as the U-Boat Wars. When I had asked someone about the best writers they suggested I write to the Forum and someone there has a lot of expertise. I would just like to put my money into the best and well written histories of World War I

#1256 MartinBennitt

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Posted 02 May 2012 - 09:10 PM

I would like to know the best books to read about World War I and the U-Boat Wars. I have read some histories of the First World War but would like to spend my money on the best books to read and for my collection. I know John Terraine is considered to be one of the best and would love to get some suggestions as to what were his best. I also would like to know who some of the best Historical writers were of the First World War as well as the U-Boat Wars. When I had asked someone about the best writers they suggested I write to the Forum and someone there has a lot of expertise. I would just like to put my money into the best and well written histories of World War I


This is the third such request you have posted on this thread, which as its name indicates is about World War I-related books you have read and your opinion of them. Please stay on topic

cheers Martin B

#1257 WorldWarOne234

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Posted 03 May 2012 - 02:17 PM

This is the third such request you have posted on this thread, which as its name indicates is about World War I-related books you have read and your opinion of them. Please stay on topic

cheers Martin B



#1258 WorldWarOne234

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Posted 03 May 2012 - 02:20 PM

Well, Martin, as my question asks I am asking a particular question and asking for the information to make sure I have read what people consider to be "The Best" in writing as far as WWI information is concerned as well as the U-Boat Wars. I am just trying to make sure I build my library with the best out there and my subject. I am sorry to have upset you.

#1259 MartinBennitt

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Posted 03 May 2012 - 02:41 PM

Notg overly upset, I just think you're not posting on the right thread for what you're looking for. Try Ships and Navies for queries about U-boats for instance. There are also threads discussing the best general histories of the war. The GWF search engine is by no means the best in the world (an understatement) but give it a go.

Good luck and cheers Martin B

#1260 Roger H

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Posted 07 May 2012 - 10:18 AM

Currently reading "The war diary of the Master of Belhaven, 1914-1918. Extracts from the preface:

"The writer of these notes, Lieut-Col the Hon. Ralph Gerard Alexander Hamilton, Master of Belhaven, was the only son of the 10th Lord Belhaven and Stenton. He served throughout the war in France and Flanders and was on leave when the German Offensive started on the 21st but hurriedly returned and was killed during the defence of the Avre, near Amiens, whilst commanding the 106th Brigade of the RFA on the 31st March 1918. The diary was constantly written up, day and night, as opportunity offered, and often under great difficulties,and was periodically sent home for typing and preservation".

Currently I am only in October 1915 but it is a fascinating and easy read and would be of interest to RFA enthusiasts. He has some strong views and clearly (as yet) not a fan of Belgium and the Belgians! For example

"Watou, Belgium, 5th October 1915: We crossed the Belgian frontier at 3pm and reached this place. I am depressed beyond words at being back in this vile country: I hate the Belgians and Belgium..................."

"Watou, Belgium, 6th October 1915: The usual depressing Belgian weather: mud and dirt everywhere. The people of the farm are, of course, pro-German. I have no doubt they would betray us if they got half a chance. I have warned everone that they must now consider themselves as in a hostile country..........."

It is interesting that he views the natives as "hostile". I wonder whether this was common at this stage? It will also be interesting to see whether he views change (if he expresses any) as the war progresses.

Roger

#1261 Thewebleyman

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Posted 07 May 2012 - 10:40 AM

These are all very well known books but I found them very good, interesting, and easy reading :

Memoirs of an Infantry Officer , Siegfried Sassoon
Wind in the Wires , Duncan Grinnel-Milne
Sagittarius Rising , Cecil Lewis
The Price of Glory ,Alistair Horne - Read this before or during a tour of Verdun .

#1262 Michelle Young

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Posted 07 May 2012 - 11:38 AM

Just finishing Have You Forgotten Yet? by C P Blacker, a good read but quite hard going. Got the neww book on war surgery next. After that it is whatever I can lift off Dads bookshelves as all my books are at our house and need cleaning following the fire.

Michelle

#1263 blackmaria

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Posted 08 May 2012 - 09:28 PM

With regards to the Belgian civilians being viewed as "hostile"(post # 1260).H.S Clapham in his memoir "Mud and Khaki was none too complementary about the Belgians he encountered in 1915 either.He says"The local Flemings are not nice people.If they could only choose,i am sure they would prefer the Huns to ourselves".When one of his mates is told by a local women "English soldiers are no good,German good",he wonders what would have happened to her if she had said the same thing but the other way round, to a German soldier.

#1264 Tommy1418

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Posted 08 May 2012 - 10:23 PM

I'm not so much 'reading', as 'studying the photographs in Max Arthur's, 'THE FACES OF WORLD WAR I' (THE GREAT WAR IN WORDS & PICTURES).

Its images portray life in Edwardian England pre WW1, events in Sarajevo, the slaughter & suffering in the trenches through to the Armistice & the soldiers' return. It also portrays images of just how much the German soldiers' way of life in the trenches 'mirrored' that of the Allied troops.........Well they say, ' a picture paints a thousand words....' :whistle: H/B priced 12.99 ISBN 978 1 844037 124

#1265 hazel clark

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Posted 09 May 2012 - 10:44 PM

"Ghosts Have Warm Hands" by will Bird. (Decided to read this in between Wolff's "In flanders Fields " and re-reading Prior and Wilson's book on the same subject.) Am just a few chapters into it and enjoying it. Am finding his easy no nonsense style refreshing. Haven't really enjoyed the other books of this type that I have read, but this one seems a bit different, ghosts notwithstanding!! There was another thread about the furbishment of a dugout by a German officer which caused a bit of debate, and Bird makes the following comment. "Some of the battalion were in excellent dugouts with carpets on the floor, real beds, clocks, stoves and mirrors, furnishings looted from abandoned French homes." I had seen such comments elsewhere but could not remember the references.

Hazel C.

#1266 Niall Ferguson

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Posted 17 May 2012 - 02:13 PM

Just reading "War Surgery 1914-18" edited by Thomas Scotland and Steven Heys (essentially written by the medical department of Aberdeen University School of Medicine which, as a Dundee trained medic makes me a bit jealous) However, that said, it fills a large gap in medical histories of the Great War dealing in a semi-technical way with medical advances in the treatment of battle casualties during the war. As a doctor I found it particularly interesting an informative (I didn't know that the Royal College of Surgeons objected to there being a separate orthopaedic surgery specialty or that, before the introduction of the Thomas splint the mortality from fractured femur was 80-90% etc etc,) but I am sure it will also be accesible to the non-medical reader - can't recommend it highly enough, just sorry they got there before me!!
Niall Ferguson (not Prof of History at Harvard!!)

#1267 Marilyne

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Posted 17 May 2012 - 04:28 PM

Just finished "Mud and Khaki:the memories of an incomplete soldier" by H.S Clapham,who served in the H.A.C.I found it very interesting as it deals with his time in the Ypres salient during most of 1915 which is a very neglected year of the war i feel.Reading his story it makes you wonder how those men got through it,they certainly were made of strong stuff in them days.


I have been looking for this book in my mind for some time now but not one of my usual librairies (by number of four, by the way...) have it, so I've just decided to buy it!!
Thanks to this review and all others I've been reading on it.

MM.

#1268 hazel clark

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Posted 22 May 2012 - 11:03 PM

Reading a book called "To War With God" by Peter Fiennes. The sub title is "The Army Chaplain Who Lost His Faith" I am about three quarters of the way through it and can't claim to be enjoying it. It is written partly from Fiennes' Grandfather's diary, partly from letters from various people and also recollections and interpretations of the author. There just doesn't seem to be any "meat" in it, and unless one were particularly interested in the role of Anglican Army Chaplains it would not be of much interest. (Unless things change dramatically in the last 25%)

I got it out of the library because for some reason it was described as the story of a Chaplain from Edinburgh so I thought there might be something about Scottish regiments. There is no mention of Scottish association at all - he is English and with an English regiment.

Hazel C

#1269 Simon Mills

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Posted 24 May 2012 - 12:21 PM

I'm currently making good progress on The War Diary of the Master of Belhaven: 1914 - 1918.

I've still got a long way to go (I'm currently only up to 7th September 1915) but so far it has been an intriguing read, not only for the level of detail (which at times is surprising) but also for the fact that you get such a feel for the character of the man who was writing it.

It's curious to think that the author (Lt. Col. Ralph Hamilton) would at one time have been my grandfather's C.O. (106 Brigade RFA), and having since discovered his evident dislike for officers (my grandfather was a humble driver and gunner) that Hamilton would probably not exactly have been his favourite person. Even so his diary has turned out to be a brilliant way of putting flesh on the bare bones of the official 106 Brigade War Diary or of granddad Alf's rather chequered service record, so that all of the officers previously mentioned are no longer just faceless names.

Another good thing about this book is that you can open it up at any page and just start reading, so if there is anyone following this thread with a particular interest in the Royal Field Artillery then you may want to give it a look..

The only thing I have missed so far has been an index. Covering a four-year period it would have been very useful if only to clarify which particular battery was doing what, where and when, but even without an index it is still a brilliant reference.

S.

#1270 Roger H

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Posted 24 May 2012 - 03:16 PM

Simon

I agree with what you say. See my post 1260

Roger

Edit: What's happened to the font size??

#1271 TRAJAN

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Posted 24 May 2012 - 05:44 PM

Just started on "Under Fire in the Dardanelles". Disappointed that the text does not make clear what is in actual diary and what are the editor's interpolations / explanations. E.g., p.12, re: Lord Farquhar - would Cardogan really have written in his diaries that Farquhar (shades of "Shrek I"!) "was Lord Steward to the King's Household...".

I have just got into the Gallipoli bit and that seems more authentic - i.e., less editorial input..

Trajan

#1272 Simon Mills

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Posted 24 May 2012 - 07:08 PM

Simon
I agree with what you say. See my post 1260
Roger


Roger,

I guess that great minds think alike? :thumbsup:

I'm now up to 1st October 1915 and still going strong...

S.

#1273 b3rn

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Posted 25 May 2012 - 06:22 AM

Have hit a rich vein of reading thanks to this thread and this forum (not forgetting the library). The two Sassoon volumes (Fox-hunting Man and Infantryman, waiting on the third), Dr Dunn's book, Frank Richards - and now Graves on order; in the interim 'With a machine gun to Cambrai'. What is the etymology of bun-punching?

#1274 brucehubbard

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Posted 25 May 2012 - 08:48 AM

I am currently immersed in Gallipoli by Robert Rhodes James.
I was originally rather put off when discovering that it was written in 1965, and then also by the fact that the author was a Tory MP (from painful memories of the writings of another such....Donkeys by Alan Clark). However, nearing the end of the book, I have found it authoritative, well-written, full of detail, if a bit heavy going. In the paperback form I have it, the type is small and there is a great deal of it. I am, though, learning a great deal about Gallipoli (prior to visiting next month with our own Pete Hart...yes, I know, a self-inflicted wound!)
It is easier to read than Bean, Carlyon I found rather ANZAC-centred, and Pete's own book starts out from one point of view. James' I have found to be rather more measured. He is not beyond apportioning blame where it is demonstrably due, but he is also understanding of human frailties.
All in all, I am enjoying it, and learning a great deal......which is what I set out to do.

Bruce

#1275 PMHart

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Posted 25 May 2012 - 09:10 AM

The best book on Gallipoli is the offcial history, although it was written by one of Hamilton's staff officers so is more 'biased' than is usual. But I still love it!

The blessed Robert Rhodes James was Churchill's bag carrier and the book is an extended apologia for the great man! I have many (many!) human frailties, but I cannot accept Rhodes james book as anything other than a shallow rewrite of the official history with a few personal experiences thown in and a series of faulty judgements based on no evidence whatsoever. He set back the study of Gallipoli by ten years!

Whilst it is polite in Gallipoli circles to extravigantly praise the book almost every judgment within it has been exposed by historians over the last twenty years as arrant nonsense. He is also - as you would expect given his background - a vicious mean-spirited so-and-so! See his constant bitching about the excellent Alan Moorehead who wrote what is generally described as a 'rattling good read' and of whom Rhodes James was just plain jealous. When we are out there you will see just how much utter nonsense Rhodes James talks!! Can't wait!

Pete