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French Generals of the Great War (Hardback)

Leading the Way

Military WWI

Edited by Jonathan Krause, Edited by William Philpott
Imprint: Pen & Sword Military
Pages: 336
Illustrations: 20 black and white illustrations
ISBN: 9781781592526
Published: 6th April 2023



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Who were the senior generals who took France through the First World War, and why do we know so little about them? They commanded the largest force on the Western Front through both humiliating defeats and forgotten victories; they won international respect and adoration, but also led their army to infamous mutiny. Nevertheless, the French and their allies, under a French Supreme Allied Commander, would eventually achieve final victory over Imperial Germany. It is extraordinary that this remarkable group of men has been so neglected in histories on the war. Previous studies are outdated and haven't tapped the wealth of primary source material in France's military archives. It is this gap in the literature – and in the understanding – of the conflict that this thought-provoking and original volume is designed to address. It takes a collective biographical approach to the leading French soldiers who ran the war on the Western Front.

Review as featured in

Highlight: 'This book is important, but the fact that in parts it is not dispassionate or convincing disappoints. One wonders whether the contributors have read each other’s work as there are some factual contradictions between chapters. However, there is much to learn here and reading is rewarded, though more evidence is required to convince of French superiority as espoused in this volume. Recommended.'

The Western Front Association

"There is little information on the French Army during the Great War written in the English language and this book is a useful addition."

Bookshelf, The Great War Aviation Society

Review as featured in

Highlight: 'This comprehensive, in-depth analysis of their commanders is an insightful and welcome addition.'

History of War

As featured in

Cher Ami, GWSIG Newsletter – International Plastic Modellers Society (UK) – April 2023

About Jonathan Krause

Jonathan Krause completed his doctorate on the French army’s tactical development during 1915 in the Department of War Studies, King’s College London. It was subsequently published as Early Trench Tactics in the French Army: The Second Battle of Artois, May–June 1915 (2013). He has held teaching posts at the RAF College, Cranwell, King’s College London and Oxford and Wolverhampton universities. He is currently writing a comparative study of anticolonial rebellions during the First World War arising from an AHRC funded early career research fellowship, ‘Rebellion and Mobilization in French and German Colonies, 1914–1918’.

About William Philpott

William Philpott is Professor of the History of Warfare in the Department of War Studies, King’s College London. In a thirty-year career he has published extensively on the First World War, with a focus on strategy, operations and Anglo-French relations. His book, Bloody Victory: The Sacrifice on the Somme and the Making of the Twentieth Century (2009) won the Society for Army Historical Research’s Templer Prize and the World War 1 Historical Association’s Norman B. Tomlinson Jr book prize. Attrition: Fighting the First World War (2014) was a Wall Street Journal book of the year. He is President of the British Commission for Military History.

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