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andigger

What WW1 books are you reading?

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Guest Biplane pilot
Pilot..... I am interested to know your opinion of Dreadnought and what your friends think of Castles. I spoke with someone yesterday who couldn't say enough good things about both books, especially Castles. I find naval history hard to follow, sorry I am more of a land lubber, but some have suggested I would enjoy both books.

Glad to oblige. I'm skimming "Dreadnought" at present, taking in the meaty stuff and skimming the politics & palace intrigues. Massie's obviously a dilligent researcher and a good writer with excellent judgement in selecting episodes to illustrate his points. (Minor quibble: he, like so many writers, relies excessively on indefinite articles, especially "this" and "they" where multiple subjects are concerned. As much poor editing as writing. I've written several books plus hundreds of articles and admit to falling into the trap more than I should.)

"Castles" gets rave reviews from everyone I've queried. The sampling is an eclectic bunch, ranging from retired airline pilots to Vietnam "grunts" to academic types. It'll be interesting to see how Massie follows some themes established in "Dreadnought" including the RN's institutional conflict between "The Nelson Touch" and the grinding, seniority-based bureaucracy.

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AndyHollinger
Pilot.....  I am interested to know your opinion of Dreadnought and what your friends think of Castles.  I spoke with someone yesterday who couldn't say enough good things about both books, especially Castles.  I find naval history hard to follow, sorry I am more of a land lubber, but some have suggested I would enjoy both books.

Glad to oblige. I'm skimming "Dreadnought" at present, taking in the meaty stuff and skimming the politics & palace intrigues. Massie's obviously a dilligent researcher and a good writer with excellent judgement in selecting episodes to illustrate his points. (Minor quibble: he, like so many writers, relies excessively on indefinite articles, especially "this" and "they" where multiple subjects are concerned. As much poor editing as writing. I've written several books plus hundreds of articles and admit to falling into the trap more than I should.)

"Castles" gets rave reviews from everyone I've queried. The sampling is an eclectic bunch, ranging from retired airline pilots to Vietnam "grunts" to academic types. It'll be interesting to see how Massie follows some themes established in "Dreadnought" including the RN's institutional conflict between "The Nelson Touch" and the grinding, seniority-based bureaucracy.

Here is my question, though. I am reading Castles and find it pretty interesting ... and his treatment (so far) of WC is pretty good ... but ...

Nicholas and Alexandra was bad history from a romantic perspective which totally ignored the reality of being Czar - (yes the Czar was a good father and probably kind and good to puppies, but he was a miserable failure at ruling a country and was the sponsor of untold misery ... etc. etc.) Other than feeding the Anastaisia myth and being used as the backdrop of a horribly romantic and antihistorical hollywood drama ... it wasn't real history ...

So, that said ... is this the same or is it real History ...

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paul guthrie

Robert K Massie was at the University of Kentucky at one point, I think he's a hell of a popular historian.

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ianw

I am reading an extraordinary book "The Spook and the Commandant" by Gp Capt.C.W Hill. - Hill, an R.F.C pilot is captured by the Turks and uses his amateur conjuring skills to convince the Turkish commandant of his prisoner of war camp that he is a medium who can help find buried treasure. Contrives an escape via this elaborate con. Absolutely bonkers "ripping yarn" sort of tale.

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Dragon
Unfortuantely I only have my memory from the class and notes to look back on, but I was wondering if there were any Pals out there who knew of a professional critique of the book that might elaborate.

Andy

Andy, have you seen the chapter section on Goodbye TAT in The Great War in Modern Memory, by Paul Fussell - which is a brilliant book in itself?

Gwyn

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Guest Biplane pilot

Andy wrote:

Here is my question, though. I am reading Castles and find it pretty interesting ... and his treatment (so far) of WC is pretty good ... but ...

Nicholas and Alexandra was bad history from a romantic perspective which totally ignored the reality of being Czar - (yes the Czar was a good father and probably kind and good to puppies, but he was a miserable failure at ruling a country and was the sponsor of untold misery ... etc. etc.) Other than feeding the Anastaisia myth and being used as the backdrop of a horribly romantic and antihistorical hollywood drama ... it wasn't real history ...

So, that said ... is this the same or is it real History ...

*************

"Dreadnought" is, IMO, Real History, with a considerable amount of personal insight. Among his large "cast," Massie focuses more on Jacky Fisher than anyone else, and probably quite rightly given Fisher's enormous effect on the RN and the era. Beyond that, JF led an extraordinarily colorful career which lends itself to many juicy passages. The mix of eccentrics who influenced JF personally & professionally make for enjoyable reading.

However, by its nature "Dreadnought" is technological, and thus far (about half thru) Massie does a fine job of melding the nuts & bolts with the institutional and human perspectives.

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Guest WALCKER

The 2 books i read on WW1 are as follows:

"All Quiet on the Western Front".

"Johnny Got His Gun"

I recomend both of them but i thought Johnny Got His Gun was alittle different but it was still good. All Quiet on the Western Front was one of the better books i have read.

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Thomas

At the moment I'm reading 'War' by Ludwig Renn. I've got to page 44 and it seems quite good so far, I hope it'll carry on in the same way.

From,

Thomas McCall.

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Somme1916

Tank Warfare; the Story of the Tanks in the Great War. By F. Mitchell.

It's title is a little off as it's really only about the UK tanks in the great war. Good read with some very interesting accounts of tanks in action.

Jon

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Robert Dunlop

British Military Intelligence in the Palestine Campaign 1914-1918, by Yigal Sheffy.

A fascinating account of the intelligence war against the Ottoman Empire.

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andigger

Perhaps this should be a new thread, but I'll add it here to see if I can revive this general topic.

I am getting ready to reread David Herrmann's The Arming of Europe. Last time I read it was 1996 when it first came out. Alot of the major themes have stuck with me, and I am interested to see how the book strikes me after so many years.

Has anyone else out there also read the book? Andy

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Garde Grenadier

Hello,

I just managed to get a seemingly very rare book:

Ernst Jünger: Das Antlitz des Weltkrieges (1930)

-no, not at high cost from ebay, I hasten to add, but from an antiquarian (they still do exist!)-

lots of excellent photographs from all fronts and interesting tales how things were at the Western, Eastern and Tyrolian front.

Best wishes

Daniel

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Ste

I'm reading The Hell they Called High Wood, by Terry Norman. I'm about half way through it and am thoroughly impressed. Lots of operational detail at corps, division and brigade level, yet laced with personal accounts of the intense fighting around High Wood. It is really helping me understand the relationship between the wood and surrounds, like Longuval, Delville Wood and the Switch Lines, and I think I will appreciate the tactical problems much more when I visit next.

Ste

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Nick

I am just finishing Anthony Bruce's book "The Last Crusade" about the Palestine campaign, which has been an OK read. After that I will read either the "Imperial Camel Corps" by Geoffrey Inchbald, "Armageddeon 1918" by Cyril Falls or the "National Army Museum Book on the Turkish Front".

The trouble is I don't know which one to opt for first.

Decisions, Decisions.....

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andigger

I am finishing up Rod Paschall's book The Defeat of Imperial Germany. The ending chapters really give a great account of the American actions in the closing weeks of the war. I think he balances a great critique of Pershing's approach regarding battle tactics and then follows that with a description of the US Army fighting a war of movement as they fight north of the Meuse River.

I think this book compliments John Terraine's To Win a War well. Andy

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Jim Clay

SteveE on 22 Feb said;

Just started on Ross Anderson's "The Forgotten Front - The East African Campaign 1914-1918".

Reminded me of a fascinating tale from the other side, "Duel for Kilimanjaro" by Leonard Mosley - the story of undefeated German General Paul von Lettow-Vorbeck who, to quote the blurb, "took upon himself the 'impossible' task of defending hte heart of a continent against an invasion army of 200,000 British troops".

First published 1963 by Wiedenfeld & Nicolson, I read this some years ago in the Mayflower Dell 1966 p/back, and must read it again. Based on recollection, this is an excellent read and well worth looking out for in the second-hand arena.

Regards

Jim

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Guest gen_wizard

Hi Pals,

I'm reading '1915' by Lyn MacDonald which i'm about halfway through but i throughly recommend it. It has some awesome pics and some first hand accounts. It gives the political history, what was going on at home and gives accounts of all the major battles from both sides.

My next book is going to be Kitchener's Army, an orginal book dated 1916 which has been filled in by someone that had relatives serving and dying on the Western Front. It's mainly a book about the trainning of the Reserve Army before they went off to the to which ever front they were distined for. I'll post a report on it when i've finished it. This book also has pics of individuals and groups of different Battalions which i'm willing to post if required.

Regards

Mike

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Edward_N_Kelly
SteveE on 22 Feb said;

Just started on Ross Anderson's "The Forgotten Front - The East African Campaign 1914-1918".

Reminded me of a fascinating tale from the other side, "Duel for Kilimanjaro" by Leonard Mosley - the story of undefeated German General Paul von Lettow-Vorbeck who, to quote the blurb, "took upon himself the 'impossible' task of defending hte heart of a continent against an invasion army of 200,000 British troops".

First published 1963 by Wiedenfeld & Nicolson, I read this some years ago in the Mayflower Dell 1966 p/back, and must read it again. Based on recollection, this is an excellent read and well worth looking out for in the second-hand arena.

Regards

Jim

Picked it up from a second hand dealer about 2 months ago - and have just finished reading it.

Very journalistic (very little detailing of where the information came from eg footnotes) not an extensive bibligography but most of it is German. He had one priceless advantage in his writing - he interviewed von Lettow-Vorbeck !

(East Africa is where Minertzhagen cames to prominance for the first time. He, of German extract, may have killed the German officer Capt "von Prince" who was actually a British subject by birth ! If "von Prince" had survived the war what his fate might have been in the light of William Joyce in the "second innings" would be something to speculate about.....)

Edward

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stu

I'm presently reading(and very nearly finished)Malcolm Browns book on the Somme.

I have to say I'm really enjoying it and I consider it better than Lyn Macdonalds Somme.

Stu.

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GRACELAND
Hello

Have just finished Voices of the Great War.

Don't normally like personal accounts but thoroughly enjoyed this one. Nice light reading. Ideal for the bus as I find opening large maps in the bus to be a bit awkward sometimes.

Dikke Bertha

:huh: Ive just started forgotton voices sounds very interesting when i finish i,ll

let you know how good ! Found it in a second hand book shop looking brand new

as if no one had looked at it hardback as well and half the price of new !! :rolleyes:

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roger
I'm presently reading(and very nearly finished)Malcolm Browns book on the Somme.

I have to say I'm really enjoying it and I consider it better than Lyn Macdonalds Somme.

Stu.

Thats a coincidence so am I. Got mine from the library Saturday and I would agree with Stu, highly recommended.

Roger.

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boris

Forgotten voices......its one of those books you can open at any page and end up reading to the end!

My wife bought me a couple of paper backs today that I am looking forward to reading. 'OVER THE TOP' and '1918' both by Martin Marix Evans, flicking through them earlier they seem ideal for a newbie like myself, full of info and personal accounts.....i'll let you know how i get on!

Neil.

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Desmond7

Finally finished 'Facing Armageddon' edited by Peter H. Liddle and Hugh Cecil.

Phew ... heavy going in places. But some of the best 5-6 page essays on WW1 I have EVER read.

References galore. A masterpiece. It's expensive. Library job.

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Kathie

What got me started on the First World War was Ernest Raymonds "Tell England" about forty years ago when I was twelve. Anyone else ever heard of it. I was the only person at Hgih School who had ever heard of Gllipoli.

Last year I enjoyed Margaret MacMillans book on the making of the Treat of Versailles - cant remember name.

At moment debating whether to buy prof Huw Strachan first book in series of WWI - expensive - what do people think?

Kathie

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Guest tartan87terror

I'm at page 179 of 474 pages (excluding appendices, index etc.) of The Neglected War[/b] by A. J. Barker (Faber & Faber, London,1967). I borrowed it by mistake (thoughtit was about Salonika). It makes terrific reading to someone who has never served (just missed the last intake of National Service).

Next will be Salonika and After[/b] by H. C. Owen.

And, then, anything re Salonika that anyone can suggest to me, please.

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