Soldiers’ Songs and Slang of the Great War

Soldiers’ Songs and Slang of the Great WarSoldiers’ Songs and Slang of the Great War by Martin Pegler
ISBN: 9781472804150
Published by Osprey Publishing on August 20th 2014
Genres: History, Military, General, World War I, Europe, Great Britain, Technology & Engineering, Military Science, Social History
Pages: 408

Featured Review

Soldiers’ Song and Slang of the Great War is an update and enlargement of a book first published in 1931. The current book includes phrases that were deemed inappropriate in earlier editions. The slang is both mystifying and well known. For example, a “goo wallah” is the sanitary man. Other items such as a “flapper’s delight” for a young officer are self-explanatory even now.

The songs lack any musical notations and only the lyrics are printed. Many use melodies set to well-known tunes—those by Gilbert and Sullivan seem to be popular as are folk melodies from the British countryside. The lyrics are commentaries on life at the front, the memories of home, and patriotic themes. By war’s end parodies are widespread. Songs from America and France are included, even “Adieu la Vie” (Chanson of Craonne) which was banned in France until 1974. The English translation is buried in the appendix, but is worth finding. The song is an indictment by the soldiers in the field of their treatment by the French army and government.

The Home Front in the Great War covers the British home front and the Hull area in detail. There is a chronological section at the beginning that provides an overview of events back in “Blighty,” followed by short essays on the efforts by groups from the Royals to the YMCA to support of the war effort. The report on the Boy Scouts is especially laudatory.

Both books use a good variety of images and are entertaining to read. Unfortunately, neither book has an index, making it almost impossible to use them for reference purposes.

Anne Merritt

Under the Devils’s Eye: Britain’s Forgotten Army in Salonika, 1915-1918

Under the Devils’s Eye: Britain’s Forgotten Army in Salonika, 1915-1918Under the Devils's Eye: Britain's Forgotten Army in Salonika, 1915-1918 by Alan Wakefield, Simon Moody
ISBN: 0750935375
Published by The History Press on September 29th 2004
Genres: Great Britain, Military
Pages: 256

Len's Summary: First general history of this obscure front since Alan Palmer's The Gardeners of Salonika (Simon and Schuster, 1965).

British Generalship on the Western Front 1914-1918: Defeat into Victory

British Generalship on the Western Front 1914-1918: Defeat into VictoryBritish Generalship on the Western Front 1914-1918: Defeat into Victory by Simon Robbins
ISBN: 0415407788
Published by Routledge on April 6th 2006
Genres: Great Britain, Military

Len's Summary: Examines how the BEF learned from early mistakes to fight effectively through to victory in 1918; the development of modern combined arms doctrine that broke the trench stalemate and has dominated all wars thereafter.

Healing the Nation: Soldiers and the Culture of Caregiving in Britain during the Great War

Healing the Nation: Soldiers and the Culture of Caregiving in Britain during the Great WarHealing the Nation: Soldiers and the Culture of Caregiving in Britain during the Great War by Jeffrey S. Reznick
ISBN: 0719069750
Published by Manchester University Press on December 15th 2011
Genres: Great Britain, Medical
Pages: 192

Len's Summary: Treatment, rehabilitation and recovery of wounded soldiers in the WWI Britain.

Britain’s Economic Blockade of Germany, 1914-1919

Britain’s Economic Blockade of Germany, 1914-1919Britain's Economic Blockade of Germany, 1914-1919 by Eric W. Osborne
ISBN: 0415646170
Published by Routledge on October 31st 2013
Genres: Germany, Great Britain, Naval
Pages: 215

Len's Summary: An examination of British policy on blockade, and its evolution and execution in light of shifting international law and advances in weaponry.

The Secrets of Rue St. Roch: Hope and Heroism Behind Enemy Lines in the First World War

The Secrets of Rue St. Roch: Hope and Heroism Behind Enemy Lines in the First World WarThe Secrets of Rue St. Roch: Hope and Heroism Behind Enemy Lines in the First World War by Janet Morgan
ISBN: 0141016833
Published by Penguin Books Ltd on August 4th 2005
Genres: Espionage, Great Britain

Len's Summary: An account of a British intelligence operation centered in Luxembourg and concentrating on German troop movements. Highly recommended by my European correspondents.

Tommy: The British Soldier on the Western Front

Tommy: The British Soldier on the Western FrontTommy: The British Soldier on the Western Front by Richard Holmes
ISBN: 0007137524
Published by Harper Perennial on March 7th 2005
Genres: Great Britain, Military
Pages: 752

Len's Summary: The story individually and collectively of the over five million men who prevailed on the Western Front.

Kitchener’s War: British Strategy from 1914-1916

Kitchener’s War: British Strategy from 1914-1916Kitchener's War: British Strategy from 1914-1916 by George H. Cassar
ISBN: 1574887092
Published by Potomac Books on October 1st 2005
Genres: Great Britain, Military, Strategy
Pages: 368

Len's Summary: How Lord Kitchener, a British icon, built the army that contested and won The Great War.

The Imperial War Museum Book of 1914

The Imperial War Museum Book of 1914The Imperial War Museum Book of 1914 by Malcolm Brown
ISBN: 1447270339
Published by Pan Macmillan on January 1st 2014
Genres: Great Britain, Military
Pages: 337

Len's Summary: Also published as The Year of Lost Illusions. Part of a series of Imperial War Museum books on the Great War, many of them written by distinguished British historian and IWM staff member Malcolm Brown. These are all available online from Amazon.co.uk. // Draws on dairies and other personal materials the archives of the Imperial War Museum to delve into the minds of British soldiers serving in The Great War. A pastiche with no particular theme.

Forgotten Lunatics of the Great War

Forgotten Lunatics of the Great WarForgotten Lunatics of the Great War by Peter Barham
ISBN: 0300125119
Published by Yale University Press on August 21st 2007
Genres: Great Britain, Medical, Psychology
Pages: 464

Len's Summary: Shell shock and its treatment; UK government reactions and public acceptance; written by a psychologist.

The Battles of the British Expeditionary Forces, 1914-1915: Historiography and Annotated Bibliography

The Battles of the British Expeditionary Forces, 1914-1915: Historiography and Annotated BibliographyThe Battles of the British Expeditionary Forces, 1914-1915: Historiography and Annotated Bibliography by Fred R. van Hartesveldt
ISBN: 0313306257
Published by Praeger on April 30th 2005
Genres: Great Britain, Military
Pages: 204

Len's Summary: Three brief introductory chapters summarize BEF actions in 1914 and 1915. The annotated bibliography has over 1,000 entries.

Rewriting the First World War: Lloyd George, Politics and Strategy, 1914-1918

Rewriting the First World War: Lloyd George, Politics and Strategy, 1914-1918Rewriting the First World War: Lloyd George, Politics and Strategy, 1914-1918 by Andrew Suttie
ISBN: 1403991197
Published by Palgrave Macmillan on January 21st 2006
Genres: Great Britain, Military, Social Science, Strategy
Pages: 288

Len's Summary: Assesses Lloyd George's attempt to shape the history of the war (and the record of his own participation) concentrating on the alleged incompetence and Western Front fixation of Britain's military leaders.

Call to Arms: The British Army 1914-18

Call to Arms: The British Army 1914-18Call to Arms: The British Army 1914-18 by Charles Messenger
ISBN: 0297846957
Published by George Weidenfeld & Nicholson on June 1st 2005
Genres: Great Britain, Military
Pages: 574

Len's Summary: The evolution of the British Army from a colonial constabulary to a field force of some two million men on the Western Front; the development of command, administration. technology, tactics, and medical services. // New research produces a sparkling study of how Kitchener built the victorious BEF. Favorably reviewed in The Journal of Military History, January 2006

Citizen Soldiers: The Liverpool Territorials in the First World War

Citizen Soldiers: The Liverpool Territorials in the First World WarCitizen Soldiers: The Liverpool Territorials in the First World War by Helen B. McCartney
ISBN: 0521848008
Published by Cambridge University Press on December 12th 2005
Genres: Great Britain, Social History
Pages: 275

Len's Summary: A social history of the British Tommy drawing on official records and soldiers' correspondence. From the series Studies in the Social and Cultural History of Modern Warfare edited by Jay Winter and Paul Kennedy.

The Little Field Marshall: Sir John French

The Little Field Marshall: Sir John FrenchThe Little Field Marshall: Sir John French by Richard Holmes
ISBN: 0224015753
Published by Cassell on 2005
Genres: Biography & Autobiography, Great Britain
Pages: 427

Len's Summary: The first commander of the BEF, a 19th century officer, fights a 20th century war. The author is a well-known historian and reserve Brigadier in the British Army.

Douglas Haig Diaries and Letters 1914–1918

Douglas Haig Diaries and Letters 1914–1918Douglas Haig Diaries and Letters 1914–1918 by Gary Sheffield, John M. Bourne, John Bourne
ISBN: 0753820757
Published by Orion Publishing on October 1st 2006
Genres: Diaries & Journals, Great Britain
Pages: 560

Len's Summary: Advertised as offering previously unpublished material some of it -- not surprisingly -- unflattering to Asquith and Lloyd George. Sheffield and Bourne are both authors of several earlier histories of The Great War.

Victory through Coalition: Britain and France during the First World War

Victory through Coalition: Britain and France during the First World WarVictory through Coalition: Britain and France during the First World War by Elizabeth Greenhalgh
ISBN: 0521096294
Published by Cambridge University Press on January 11th 2009
Genres: France, Great Britain, Military
Pages: 324

Len's Summary: A broad look at coalition warfare with wide use of private correspondence and diaries. // The development of a winning civil-military relationship central to victory in 1918.

Mimi and Toutou’s Big Adventure: The Bizarre Battle of Lake Tanganyika

Mimi and Toutou’s Big Adventure: The Bizarre Battle of Lake TanganyikaMimi and Toutou's Big Adventure: The Bizarre Battle of Lake Tanganyika by Giles Foden
ISBN: 1400075262
Published by Vintage on March 14th 2006
Genres: Africa, Germany, Great Britain
Pages: 272

Len's Summary: The Royal Navy attacks Germany in Central Africa, the events that inspired C. S. Forester's The African Queen.

Loos 1915: The Unwanted Battle

Loos 1915: The Unwanted BattleLoos 1915: The Unwanted Battle by Gordon Corrigan
ISBN: 1862272395
Published by Spellmount on November 2005
Genres: Germany, Great Britain, Military
Pages: 262

Len's Summary: Story of an unsuccessful British attack that finished off many of the few remaining "Old Contemptibles"and provided lessons for future BEF commander Douglas Haig. Corrigan is the author of Sepoys in the Trenches about the experience of the British Indian Army Corps on the Western Front in 1914-1915, also from Spellmont.

Blindfold and Alone: British Military Executions in the Great War

Blindfold and Alone: British Military Executions in the Great WarBlindfold and Alone: British Military Executions in the Great War by Cathryn Corns, John Hughes-Wilson
ISBN: 0304353973
Published by Cassell on December 31st 2001
Genres: Great Britain, Military

Len's Summary: Based in part on newly available official records.

British Artillery 1914-19: Heavy Artillery

British Artillery 1914-19: Heavy ArtilleryBritish Artillery 1914-19: Heavy Artillery by Dale Clarke
ISBN: 1841767883
Published by Osprey Publishing on August 10th 2005
Genres: Great Britain, Military, Weapons
Pages: 48

Len's Summary: Many of the guns used by American Coast Artillery units on the Western Front were ob British design and manufacture.

Most Unfavourable Ground: The Battle of Loos, 1915

Most Unfavourable Ground: The Battle of Loos, 1915Most Unfavourable Ground: The Battle of Loos, 1915 by Niall Cherry
ISBN: 1874622035
Published by Helion & Company on June 1st 2005
Genres: Germany, Great Britain, Military
Pages: 366

Len's Summary: A 90th anniversary reexamination of the unsuccessful culmination of the badly depleted BEF's 1915 Western Front campaign.

The Lion and the Poppy: British Veterans, Politics, and Society, 1921-1939

The Lion and the Poppy: British Veterans, Politics, and Society, 1921-1939The Lion and the Poppy: British Veterans, Politics, and Society, 1921-1939 by Niall Barr
ISBN: 0313324743
Published by Praeger Publishers on August 1st 2005
Genres: Great Britain, Political Science, Social Science
Pages: 228

Len's Summary: The British Legion, dominated by the officer class, had a narrow agenda focusing mainly on domestic bread-and-butter issues and limited membership in the interwar years.

Fire Power: The British Army Weapons & Theories of War 1904-1945

Fire Power: The British Army Weapons & Theories of War 1904-1945Fire Power: The British Army Weapons & Theories of War 1904-1945 by Shelford Bidwell, Dominick Graham
ISBN: 1844152162
Published by Pen & Sword Books on March 1st 2005
Genres: Weapons, Artillery, Military, Great Britain
Pages: 327

Len's Summary: Development of the artillery arm in two world wars.

Spies of the Kaiser: German Covert Operations in Great Britain during the First World War Era

Spies of the Kaiser: German Covert Operations in Great Britain during the First World War EraSpies of the Kaiser: German Covert Operations in Great Britain during the First World War Era by Thomas Boghardt
ISBN: 9781403932488
Published by Palgrave Macmillan on January 15th 2005
Genres: Espionage, Germany, Great Britain, International Relations
Pages: 248

Len's Summary: Written by a historian at the International Spy Museum in Washington, DC. He begins his survey with a look at the pre-war period of Anglo-German naval rivalry finding that German espionage before and during the conflict produced few tangible results and practically nothing on the British Expeditionary Force.

Royal Navy Handbook, 1914–1918

Royal Navy Handbook, 1914–1918Royal Navy Handbook, 1914–1918 by David Wragg
ISBN: 0750942037
Published by The History Press on August 1st 2006
Genres: Great Britain, Military, Naval
Pages: 320

Len's Summary: How the RN adapted to WWI. The author has written several books on naval warfare, including naval aviation.

Hell in the Holy Land: World War 1 in the Middle East

Hell in the Holy Land: World War 1 in the Middle EastHell in the Holy Land: World War 1 in the Middle East by David R. Woodward
ISBN: 9780813146744
Published by University Press of Kentucky on December 6th 2013
Genres: Great Britain, Middle East, Military
Pages: 280

Len's Summary: Being published in the UK by Tempus under the title Forgotten Soldiers of the First World War. Dr. Woodward teaches modern European and Russian History at Marshall University and has written several other monographs on WWI. He spoke at our WFA seminar at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base at Dayton in 1997, and is a member of the panel awarding the Annual WFA-Phi Alpha Theta Undergraduate Essay Prize.

Remembering War: The Great War between Memory and History in the 20th Century

Remembering War: The Great War between Memory and History in the 20th CenturyRemembering War: The Great War between Memory and History in the 20th Century by J. M. Winter
ISBN: 9780300110685
Published by Yale University Press on 2006
Genres: Military, Social History, Great Britain
Pages: 340

Len's Summary: Another in a series of social histories by prolific social historian Jay Winter about how war is remembered in Great Britain.

Boy Soldiers of the Great War

Boy Soldiers of the Great WarBoy Soldiers of the Great War by Richard Van Emden
ISBN: 9781408824726
Published by A&C Black on February 12th 2013
Genres: Military, Great Britain
Pages: 416

Len's Summary: The experiences of a handful of the hundreds of thousands of underage men and women who served in British forces during WWI written by a veteran historian and author of previous memorializing BEF veterans.

Easter 1916: The Irish Rebellion

Easter 1916: The Irish RebellionEaster 1916: The Irish Rebellion by Charles Townshend
ISBN: 1566639654
Published by Ivan R. Dee Publisher on August 26th 2011
Genres: Great Britain, Ireland
Pages: 442

Len's Summary: Draws on eyewitness accounts recently released by the Irish government. Billed by Atlantic as "a dispassionate and definitive reconstruction carefully shifting legend from fact."

Battle of Britain 1917: The First Heavy Bomber Raids on England

Battle of Britain 1917: The First Heavy Bomber Raids on EnglandBattle of Britain 1917 - The First Heavy Bomber Raids on England by Jonathan Sutherland
ISBN: 9781844153459
Published by Pen & Sword Books on June 19th 2006
Genres: Aviation, Great Britain
Pages: 224

Len's Summary: A useful summary without maps of Gotha and Giant bomber raids on the UK.

Directing Operations: British Corps Command on the Western Front, 1914-1918

Directing Operations: British Corps Command on the Western Front, 1914-1918Directing Operations: British Corps Command on the Western Front, 1914-1918 by Andy Simpson
ISBN: 1862272921
Published by Spellmount on October 1st 2006
Genres: Great Britain
Pages: 308

Len's Summary: Examines how the role of the British corps changed over the course of the war.

Home Fires Burning: The Great War Diaries of Georgina Lee

Home Fires Burning: The Great War Diaries of Georgina LeeHome Fires Burning: The Great War Diaries of Georgina Lee by Gavin Roynon
ISBN: 9780752450643
Published by The History Press on May 1st 2009
Genres: Great Britain, Personal Memoirs
Pages: 336

Len's Summary: A view of the war from the British home front.

The British Army 1914-1918

The British Army 1914-1918The British Army 1914-1918 by Andrew Rawson
ISBN: 9780750956147
Published by The History Press on July 7th 2014
Genres: Great Britain, Military, Technology & Engineering, Military Science
Pages: 384

Len's Summary: How the British Army grew from a small colonial constabulary in 1914 to a force of nearly four million men in 1918.

The British Army 1815–1914

The British Army 1815–1914The British Army 1815–1914 by Harold E. Raugh
ISBN: 9780754625643
Published by Ashgate on October 30th 2006
Genres: Great Britain, Military, Pre-War
Pages: 567

Len's Summary: A review of the campaigns, character and composition of the British Army, really a colonial constabulary, during the century from the end of the Napoleonic Wars to the outbreak of The Great War with emphasis on reforms, evolving technology and doctrine . Contributors include: Holger Herwig, Hew Strachan and Edward M. Spiers.

Churchill’s Crusade: The British Invasion of Russia, 1918-1920

Churchill’s Crusade: The British Invasion of Russia, 1918-1920Churchill's Crusade: The British Invasion of Russia, 1918-1920 by Clifford Kinvig
ISBN: 9781847250216
Published by A&C Black on November 23rd 2007
Genres: Great Britain, Military, Russia & the Former Soviet Union
Pages: 400

Len's Summary: An account of armed British intervention in Russia following the Bolshevik revolution and an analysis of why intervention failed. Available from the Scholars Bookshelf. See also American Sideshow: America's Undeclared War in Russia, 1918-1920, Robert L. Willet, Brassey's (now Potomac), 2002.