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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Re: Recommended reading on the First World War

Post by jamesmith1 » 27 Mar 2019 12:42

Nice Information I am going to read this Book the first world war i like most to read books so i will prefer to read this
James travelogy

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Re: Recommended reading on the First World War

Post by Attrition » 27 Mar 2019 21:15

Delaney, Douglas E. Durflinger S. M. Capturing Hill 70*: Canada's Forgotten Battle of the First World War (2016) UBC Press 978-0-7748-3359-2

A book of essays and a nice resurrection of a battle (action) known to aficionados but to few others.

* Ignore the catchpenny title from the colon to the publication date.

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Re: Recommended reading on the First World War

Post by vickyaheer » 13 Apr 2019 09:22

This information will help me a lot in my upcoming exams! Thank you for sharing.

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Re: Recommended reading on the First World War

Post by Attrition » 16 May 2020 16:55

From the Somme to Victory: The British Army's Experience on the Western Front 1916-1918 (2014) by Peter Simkins

Arrived yesterday; there's a very good survey of the literature in chapter 1 (I liked his swipe at Prior and Wilson) and I'm reading chapter 3 about the management during the Battle of the Somme; very interesting.

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Re: Recommended reading on the First World War

Post by Attrition » 24 Aug 2020 14:33

Lossberg's War: The World War I Memoirs of a German Chief of Staff (Foreign Military Studies) Hardcover, 2017
by Fritz von Lossberg (Author), Holger H. Herwig (Author), David T. Zabecki (Editor).

Outrageous price (£52) but worth it for the aficionado; I've only really read the Somme and 3rd Ypres [chapters] (surprisingly short but with a copy of his defensive policy directive of 27 June 1917, pp.289-299). The German command's perspective of the Battle of the Somme (albeit filtered through Lossberg's point of view) tends to support the post-revisionist view that the battle damaged the German army more than its opponents. Falkenhayn gets a lot of blame for the difficulties wished on the 2nd Army by his 1916 strategy. Lossberg doesn't seem too interested in the grand strategic resource dilemma facing Germany, once a third million-man army took the field against them. There's plenty of operational information from which OOB can be gleaned and the behind the scenes organisation of manpower, equipment and ammunition. The translation is in [North] American, which grates a bit on this Limey (Have terms like gun and howitzer gone out of fashion? "Previously reconnoitred"? When else can you reconnoitre?) but without the labours of Herwig and Zabecki, we Anglophone monoglots wouldn't have this valuable resource. Thanks, them blokes.

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Re: Recommended reading on the First World War

Post by The Ibis » 24 Aug 2020 20:31

Attrition wrote:
24 Aug 2020 14:33
Lossberg's War: The World War I Memoirs of a German Chief of Staff (Foreign Military Studies) Hardcover, 2017
by Fritz von Lossberg (Author), Holger H. Herwig (Author), David T. Zabecki (Editor).

Outrageous price (£52) but worth it for the aficionado; I've only really read the Somme and 3rd Ypres [chapters] (surprisingly short but with a copy of his defensive policy directive of 27 June 1917, pp.289-299). The German command's perspective of the Battle of the Somme (albeit filtered through Lossberg's point of view) tends to support the post-revisionist view that the battle damaged the German army more than its opponents. Falkenhayn gets a lot of blame for the difficulties wished on the 2nd Army by his 1916 strategy. Lossberg doesn't seem too interested in the grand strategic resource dilemma facing Germany, once a third million-man army took the field against them. There's plenty of operational information from which OOB can be gleaned and the behind the scenes organisation of manpower, equipment and ammunition. The translation is in [North] American, which grates a bit on this Limey (Have terms like gun and howitzer gone out of fashion? "Previously reconnoitred"? When else can you reconnoitre?) but without the labours of Herwig and Zabecki, we Anglophone monoglots wouldn't have this valuable resource. Thanks, them blokes.
What do they call guns and howitzers?
"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 » 26 Aug 2020 18:11

"Flat trajectory guns" (i.e. guns) p. 293, "high-trajectory howitzers" (i.e. howitzers) p. 296. Send for the pleonasm police.

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Re: Recommended reading on the First World War

Post by The Ibis » 27 Aug 2020 21:01

Attrition wrote:
26 Aug 2020 18:11
"Flat trajectory guns" (i.e. guns) p. 293, "high-trajectory howitzers" (i.e. howitzers) p. 296. Send for the pleonasm police.
I had to look that up. Nice.
"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 » 27 Aug 2020 23:07

Eythenkew! ;O)

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Re: Recommended reading on the First World War

Post by Attrition » 15 Nov 2020 01:29

The Myth and Reality of German Warfare: Operational Thinking from Moltke the Elder to Heusinger by Gerhard P Gross, David T Zabecki (Editor), Foreword by Robert M Citino

With the caveat above that the book must continuously be translated from American into English (theoretician - eh? try theorist, which he does in the next chapter) this is a thoroughly researched volume as far as the chapters I've read (pre-Great War and Great War) go and an interesting comparison with After Clausewitz: German Military Thinkers Before the Great War (2001) by Antulio J. Echevarria III. I was quite pleased that he rescued Schlieffen and Moltke the Younger from the facile conclusions of earlier writers by using the primary sources recovered in the last couple of decades and a rather less polemical approach. I'll let you know if he keeps it up. A minor point is that he seems to take seriously the idea that the German Empire suffered from excessive compartmentalisation in the executive side, which I think is no more than the conventional divide and rule found in all bureaucracies.

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Re: Recommended reading on the First World War

Post by Attrition » 15 Dec 2020 18:34

The Schlieffen Plan: International Perspectives on the German Strategy for World War I Foreign Military Studies (2014)
by Hans Ehlert (Editor), Michael Epkenhans (Editor), Gerhard P. Gross (Editor), David Zabecki (Editor).

This arrived yesterday with some splendid maps. The usual caveat about reading a US translation of a German text applies but this is proving very interesting. Terry Zuber is getting a bit of a scholarly drubbing, all the way up the front and all the way down the back. The quality of the binding, paper and printing is excellent and so is the content so far.

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Re: Recommended reading on the First World War

Post by Attrition » 30 Dec 2020 21:06

I've read a fair few essays and there's a giant dog not barking, because Terry Zuber wouldn't allow his piece to be printed in it. Understandable because his view of the Schlieffen (not) Plan is comprehensively demolished.

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Re: Recommended reading on the First World War

Post by Sheldrake » 30 Dec 2020 22:05

Attrition wrote:
15 Dec 2020 18:34
The Schlieffen Plan: International Perspectives on the German Strategy for World War I Foreign Military Studies (2014)
by Hans Ehlert (Editor), Michael Epkenhans (Editor), Gerhard P. Gross (Editor), David Zabecki (Editor).

This arrived yesterday with some splendid maps. The usual caveat about reading a US translation of a German text applies but this is proving very interesting. Terry Zuber is getting a bit of a scholarly drubbing, all the way up the front and all the way down the back. The quality of the binding, paper and printing is excellent and so is the content so far.
Oi, leave my pal Dave Zabecki alone...

If you want to read German language books in British English language, find some British WW1 historians who speak German.

Jack Sheldon is about the only active Brit writing drawing on German sources. All of his books are worth reading.

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Fighting the Somme: German Challenges, Dilemmas and Solutions Hardcover – Illustrated, 1 Feb. 2017by Jack Sheldon (Author), Nigel Cave (Editor)
This is an analytical look at command on the Somme

He has written accounts of the western front drawing on German regimental histories written in the 1920s and 30s. These go a little way to balance the multitude of accounts based on allied sources.

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German Army at Passchendaele by Jack Sheldon

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The German Army in the Spring Offensives 1917: Arras, Aisne & Champagne

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The German Army on the Somme, 1914–1916

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The German Army on the Western Front 1915

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The German Army on Vimy Ridge, 1914–1917

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The German Army at Ypres 1914

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Re: Recommended reading on the First World War

Post by Attrition » 31 Dec 2020 13:02

Been there, done that, worn the T shirt. I may claim some influence on Jack Sheldon writing the "Fighting the Somme" because he used to have an open e-mail and I wrote that his book on the Somme was the book he wanted to write, not the one I wanted to read, which would be something which dwelt much more on the command and supply of the German side. The later book has a lot on the command of the German battle, which also does something to put the French back, like Philpott did.

I plod through German, French and Italian sources using an online translator and an English- dictionary; it's awfully slow though. I've had to by a new pack of pencils and a ruler to copy edit the book, I'm crossing out so many words; worth it though, when I read it again. Do you mind asking your mate not to use "however", "likewise", "additionally", "moreover" and terms like "a series of [plural]" when the plural says it in one word? I could go on and I probably will. ;O)

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Re: Recommended reading on the First World War

Post by Attrition » 06 Jan 2021 10:31

I've finished the essays which are of uneven quality but all worth reading. No wonder that Terry Zuber declined to have his contribution included. As a catalyst for research and the collection of the results in one book Zuber's done us all a favour. The maps are excellent and demonstrate that the German war planning under Schlieffen and Moltke was more subtle and flexible than once thought at the operational level, although defining this term appears to be a moveable feast. It would be nice if writers returned to the principle that some attention to prose is desirable; remember chaps, lay off the adjectives and adverbs. ;O)

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