On Peter Hart’s ‘The Great War’

3 Apr

Paul Reed has a review of Peter Hart’s latest work, The Great War (2013) — looks like another great success:

The historiography of the Great War has changed dramatically in recent times. Serious students have long since abandoned the Lions Led By Donkeys approach to the war and academics like the late Paddy Griffith and Professor Gary Sheffield have championed the formal approach to our understanding of how the conflict was really fought. But in many respects this new thinking has hardly left the lecture room. Working as a battlefield guide with thousands of members of the public one does not have to be a mind reader to know where the majority of those who start the tour stand when it comes to the command and conduct of battles like the Somme: slaughter, butchers, tin-pot generals are all common phrases. After a few days of looking at the ground, hearing the problems of command with little control, seeing how the conflict was ever evolving and how much training went into the later battles, most returned changed, and not a little challenged on many levels. That is what the First World War has long needed in print – the whole war in a broad brush stroke but with no attempt to dilute. And perhaps Peter Hart’s book is it.

[Emphasis mine]

Check it out — this seems to be the sort of volume one is always glad to see come forth, and I hope to get a copy of it soon myself.


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