Recommended reading on the First World War

Discussions on all aspects of the First World War not covered in the other sections. Hosted by Terry Duncan.
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Attrition
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Re: Recommended reading on the First World War

Post by Attrition » 05 Apr 2017 22:29

Attrition wrote:The Battle of the Somme Matthias Strohn (ed.) 2016

A collection of essays that promises to elucidate recent academic thinking. I began with chapter 4 by James Corum on the air war over the Somme and that phrase sums the essay. Corum can't write and I commiserate with anyone who has had to read his work for a course, I'd rather suck shite through a wire brush. Getting something positive from the chapter is going to be hard work but I'll find a way.
I've read most of the book and either I'm better informed than the writers or they're pulling their punches. It's worth reading but I would recommend borrowing it from a library first.

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Re: Recommended reading on the First World War

Post by Plain Old Dave » 09 Jul 2017 22:02

W.S. Sims' "The Victory At Sea." No holds barred look at the efforts to neutralize the submarine threat following the US' entry into the First World War.

John Mosier's "The Myth Of The Great War." One of very few post-1920 histories of WW1 that doesn't whitewash the US' key role in Allied victory.

Allen Axlerod's "Miracle At Belleau Wood." A very good overview of the land battle that turned the tide of the First World War.

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Re: Recommended reading on the First World War

Post by Felix C » 10 Jul 2017 23:10

jetlag78 wrote:Intelligence War in Latin America, 1914-1922, by Jamie Bisher, McFarland Publishing, 2016.

I regret that this book is priced for academic and institutional sales, but I believe that it is the only English-language book which thoroughly covers WWI in Latin America, which was largely a war between intelligence services...
- Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Intelligence-W ... mie+bisher
- Author's website: http://ww1latinamerica.weebly.com/
I read this book and it is absolutely fascinating.

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Re: Recommended reading on the First World War

Post by Attrition » 15 Jul 2017 13:35

The Other Side Of The Wire Volume 3: With The XIV Reserve Corps: The Period Of Transition 2 July 1916-August 1917 Hardcover – 15 Aug 2017

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Re: Recommended reading on the First World War

Post by Attrition » 16 Aug 2017 15:11

Hampton, M. E. 1st Anzac Corps and the Battle of Pozières Ridge, 1916

https://digital.library.adelaide.edu.au ... 2whole.pdf (2014) School of History and Politics, University of Adelaide oclc: 964934243

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Re: Recommended reading on the First World War

Post by The Captain » 13 Feb 2018 22:06

Folly and Malice: The Habsburgs, the Balkans and the Start of World War One. By John Zametica (Shepheard-Walwyn, 2017)

If you want a book that finally tells you ‘what the hell was going on’ in Austria-Hungary that led to a first world war, then with this one you find out, at last, everything you really need to know but didn’t know to ask. What the Austrians really wanted, the Hungarians, Croats, various Serbians, Russians, Germans, Great Britain... Archduke Franz Ferdinand, Gavrilo Princip, the Black Hand, Kaiser Wilhelm...they’re all here, finally in their true colours. Folly and Malice: The Habsburg Empire, the Balkans and the Start of World War One is probably the definitive book on the East European origins of the first world war. Demolishing the claims of major academics like Chris Clark, and overthrowing much of the history taught to schoolchildren for a hundred years, it comes recommended by leading historian Professor Sir Hew Strachan as ‘a brilliant piece of writing on one of the most important aspects of the First World War…’, by the Historical Association as ‘a revelation... its challenge to existing thinking makes it a very significant contribution to the continuing debate about the causes of the Great War’ - and by renowned academic Professor Vernon Bogdanor as "a seminal work which forces readers to reflect further on issues they had thought settled...a powerfully argued work, whose conclusions will be carefully studied by historians for many years." It’s a big read, but you won’t find a better or more insightful one. The first half is fascinating, scene-setting background stuff. Then it moves on to 1914 like no book before. The chapter on the assassination can’t be bettered for drama or detail and reads like an emerging film. There’s a JFK-style whiff of possible conspiracy by which the Archduke is allowed to walk into a hornet’s nest in Sarajevo. And the July Crisis which led to the war is illuminated at the expense of a legion of historians of this and other generations. Get this book and keep your brain on. There’s not been another one like it.

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Re: Recommended reading on the First World War

Post by The Ibis » 14 Feb 2018 01:21

The Captain wrote:Folly and Malice: The Habsburgs, the Balkans and the Start of World War One. By John Zametica (Shepheard-Walwyn, 2017)

If you want a book that finally tells you ‘what the hell was going on’ in Austria-Hungary that led to a first world war, then with this one you find out, at last, everything you really need to know but didn’t know to ask. What the Austrians really wanted, the Hungarians, Croats, various Serbians, Russians, Germans, Great Britain... Archduke Franz Ferdinand, Gavrilo Princip, the Black Hand, Kaiser Wilhelm...they’re all here, finally in their true colours. Folly and Malice: The Habsburg Empire, the Balkans and the Start of World War One is probably the definitive book on the East European origins of the first world war. Demolishing the claims of major academics like Chris Clark, and overthrowing much of the history taught to schoolchildren for a hundred years, it comes recommended by leading historian Professor Sir Hew Strachan as ‘a brilliant piece of writing on one of the most important aspects of the First World War…’, by the Historical Association as ‘a revelation... its challenge to existing thinking makes it a very significant contribution to the continuing debate about the causes of the Great War’ - and by renowned academic Professor Vernon Bogdanor as "a seminal work which forces readers to reflect further on issues they had thought settled...a powerfully argued work, whose conclusions will be carefully studied by historians for many years." It’s a big read, but you won’t find a better or more insightful one. The first half is fascinating, scene-setting background stuff. Then it moves on to 1914 like no book before. The chapter on the assassination can’t be bettered for drama or detail and reads like an emerging film. There’s a JFK-style whiff of possible conspiracy by which the Archduke is allowed to walk into a hornet’s nest in Sarajevo. And the July Crisis which led to the war is illuminated at the expense of a legion of historians of this and other generations. Get this book and keep your brain on. There’s not been another one like it.
Thanks. I have the book on order and was hoping people might provide reviews of it.
"The secret of managing is to keep the guys who hate you away from the guys who are undecided." - Casey Stengel

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Re: Recommended reading on the First World War

Post by The Ibis » 27 Feb 2018 23:11

Currently reading a new PhD thesis by John Spencer entitled "Soldier-Diplomat: A Reassesment of Sir Henry Wilson’s Influence on British Strategy in the Last 18 Months of the Great War." Here is a link: http://wlv.openrepository.com/wlv/handle/2436/621054

This is the abstract:
ABSTRACT

Sir Henry Wilson remains one of the most controversial British Army
generals of the Great War. A colourful character in life, he attracted
admirers and detractors in equal measure; in death, his reputation was
ruined by a biography based on his personal diaries. The Wilson of the
historiography is, at best, a politician rather than a soldier, at worst an
ambitious Francophile intriguer. This thesis looks beyond this accepted
characterisation, reassessing his role in the formation of British and Allied
strategy in the final months of the war. Wilson attained influence, and
subsequently power, when Lloyd George consulted him after failing to
persuade Britain’s leading generals to change their strategic focus. The
thesis re-examines Wilson’s policy critique, which led to the creation of the
Supreme War Council, and negated plans for a major Allied offensive on
the Western Front in 1918. This thesis aims to shine new light on Wilson’s
work on the Council, with an analysis of its policy recommendations. The
research will also explore the manpower crisis, the key issue for the
entente in this period, and Wilson’s contribution to the establishment of
Allied unity of command. The diplomatic skills Wilson deployed to defuse
serious strains between the entente powers will be examined, with
particular reference to his time as Chief of the Imperial General Staff. His
contribution to the debate on Britain’s post-war imperial grand strategy will
also be evaluated. The thesis will refute the long-established onedimensional
view of Wilson and suggest that he played a more influential
role in British strategic development than has hitherto been acknowledged.
"The secret of managing is to keep the guys who hate you away from the guys who are undecided." - Casey Stengel

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Re: Recommended reading on the First World War

Post by Attrition » 28 Feb 2018 00:00

Didn't know about that thesis repository, do you know any others?

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Re: Recommended reading on the First World War

Post by The Ibis » 28 Feb 2018 15:57

Attrition wrote:Didn't know about that thesis repository, do you know any others?
Just the usual suspects like British Ethos and EBSCO. There is also a list at Networked Digital Library of Theses and Dissertations. Google Scholar is useful, too. The United States really needs something like Ethos. If I come across a link to a dissertation/thesis from an American university, its as likely than not that I have to go to the individual school to try and track it down.
"The secret of managing is to keep the guys who hate you away from the guys who are undecided." - Casey Stengel

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Re: Recommended reading on the First World War

Post by Attrition » 28 Feb 2018 17:50

Heard of them except for EBSCO and the Networked.... which I will explore. Regards

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Re: Recommended reading on the First World War

Post by Attrition » 07 Apr 2018 18:59

[i]Haig's Enemy: Crown Prince Rupprecht and Germany's War on the Western Front[/i], Boff J. (2018) OUP 978-0-19-967046-8

[Don't know why the italics aren't working]

Just arrived so I read chapters 16 and 17, pp. 168-189 on the 3rd Ypres campaign. The narrative cleaves too close to secondary sources and is marred by uncritical repetition of what Zuber called "common knowledge" in [i]Ten Days in August: The Siege of Liege[/i] 1914 (2014). Boff makes the usual mistake of criticising Gough and the Fifth Army for failures in August but uses a false criterion, the red line on 31 July rather than the green line as the objective and also fails to acknowledge that XIV Corps exceeded its objectives, same as the French by edging towards the red line, as they were supposed to if the conditions were right. Boff uses a simplistic definition of attrition, by comparing losses rather than analysing explicitly the ability of the contenders to replace them but does give a pretty good exposition of the difficulties inflicted on the 4th Army when the British came close to the operational tempo their plans were based on. Boff's account is vastly superior on the difficulties imposed on the Germans during their defeats of September and early October but doesn't see that the 4th Army was in a similar boat to the Fifth Army in August. The weather determined the fortunes of both armies to a far greater degree than is commonly understood (in my opinion). As a synthesis of secondary sources, with welcome detail from German ones, the book is to be recommended but is not the last word by far.

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Re: Recommended reading on the First World War

Post by Attrition » 14 Apr 2018 20:44

I've read more of ''Rupprecht'' and think that it's a reasonable synthesis of mainstream opinion but rather lacking in reference (except in passing) to the scholarship of the last couple of decades. He's really rather good on the unbearable asininity of institutions and those who inhabit them, which is to be expected, since we get a lot from Rupprecht's original unpolished diary. I can't tell if he's colonised his subject somewhat or is reluctant to stick his neck out too far, contra the mud, blood and poetry school of the Great War. He should lay off the hindsight a bit too; a missed opportunity or as much as can be expected from a commercial publication?

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Re: Recommended reading on the First World War

Post by nammie44 » 14 Aug 2018 23:06

I recommend THE UNITED STATES IN THE GREAT WAR by Willis J. Abbot published in 1919 by Doubleday, Page & Company. Many photos and interesting reading. Great color cover painting of a U.S. doughboy holding an American flag as they prepare to attack.

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