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The First World War (Hardback)

Military WWI > By Year > 1914 WWI > By Year > 1915 WWI > By Year > 1916 WWI > By Year > 1917 WWI > By Year > 1918

By Cyril Falls
Imprint: Pen & Sword Military
Pages: 421
ISBN: 9781473825499
Published: 3rd November 2014



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The years 1914 to 1918 saw Europe engaged in a conflict involving a greater area and a greater number of men than history had ever before recorded. In this book, Captain Cyril Falls, known in British academic and governmental circles as an expert in military history, discusses the military side of World War I in the light of its battles, tactics and weapons; its problems of supply and transport; its armies and their commanders. The engagements in the many theaters of war in Europe, Asia and Africa are described in vivid detail, but particular attention is focused on the Western Front, where the principal and decisive battles were fought. Although it was on land that the conclusive victories were achieved, the place of sea power and of the new type of warfare waged in the air is not ignored. The role played by civilian politics is covered as well, particularly in situations where it had direct bearing on the fighting--such as in Sarajevo in 1914 where a spark touched off the Central European powder keg and signaled the beginning of the war; the political considerations which caused the US as well as Romania, Bulgaria, and Italy to enter the war late; and the revolution which caused Russia to leave it early. In telling how World War I was fought and why it developed as it did, Captain Falls decisively refutes the notion that World War I was an interlude of senseless and irresponsible slaughter during which military art stood still. He reminds us that it was a war remarkable for the idealistic spirit in which it was fought. Though the unprecedented, world-wide scale of battle, and the deadlock on the Western Front, taxed the skill of military leadership sorely, the war produced its great leaders: Haig, Allenby, Maude, Jellicoe, Beatty, Joffre, Foch, Petain, Pershing, Liggett, Sims, Falkenhayn, Hindenburg, Hipper, Conrad von Hotzendorf, and Mustapha Kemal. Their achievements as well as the indomitable spirit of the men they commanded are remembered here.

Overall, this remains in my view a fantastic book, and essential to have on the book shelf. It is an outstanding overall account of all campaigns and aspects of the war, and is without question one for any enthusiast of the First World War, or indeed history to have on their bookshelf. As the author makes clear, ‘this war became known as the first of the total war.

Jon Sandison

Although originally published over 50-years ago, this masterly synopsis has lost none of its 'bite' and Pen & Sword must surely be congratulated for making the title available once more.

Military Modelling Magazine

With so many new histories of the First World War being written by celebrities or academics who have never seen military service, it's nice to see the reissue of one written by an academic who not only served as an officer in the war, but wrote part of the Official History, too.
A worthy addition to the bookshelves about the First World War.

Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine
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