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

The Rape of Belgium: The Untold Story of World War I

The Rape of Belgium: The Untold Story of World War IThe Rape of Belgium: The Untold Story of World War I by Larry Zuckerman
ISBN: 0814797040
Published by New York University Press on February 1st 2004
Genres: Belgium, France, Germany, Military
Pages: 339

Len's Summary: A candidate for the 2004 WFA Annual Book Award in which the author finds the seeds of WWII Nazi occupation policies in Belgium of 1914-1918. Covers the same ground as the award-winning A History of Denial (Yale University Press), but is less scholarly in approach and is more readable narrative. Lacks maps.

German War Planning, 1891-1914: Sources and Interpretations

German War Planning, 1891-1914: Sources and InterpretationsGerman War Planning, 1891-1914: Sources and Interpretations by Terence Zuber
ISBN: 1843831082
Published by Boydell Press on November 30th 2004
Genres: Germany, Military, Strategy
Pages: 324

Len's Summary: Consists mainly of translations of German planning documents upon which Zuber's book Inventing the Schlieffen Plan: German War Planning 1871-1914 (Oxford, 2003) and related articles are based. The author, a retired American army officer, asserts the controversial and much contested thesis that the Schlieffen Plan never really existed.

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).

The First World War

The First World WarThe First World War by Hew Strachan
ISBN: 0143035185
Published by Penguin Books on April 5th 2005
Genres: General, Military
Pages: 384

Len's Summary: A distillation of Strachan's (pronounced Strawn) of massive three-volume history of the War, which is still in progress. Remarkable for the contemporary color photos (not tints) found in the center section of the US edition. Dr. Strachan is a member of the WFA's annual Norman B. Tomlinson, Jr. book award panel.

Cataclysm: The First World War as Political Tragedy

Cataclysm: The First World War as Political TragedyCataclysm: The First World War as Political Tragedy by David Stevenson
ISBN: 0465081851
Published by Basic Books on May 11th 2005
Genres: General, Military
Pages: 624

Len's Summary: A survey history which breaks no new ground, but rather is a recapitulation of the last 20 years of scholarship. Published in the UK under the title 1914-1918: The History of the First World War, Allen Land, 729 pages, index, illustrations, ISBN 0 713 99208 5, £25 boards from Amazon.co.uk.

Philadelphia to Flanders: The Story of Nurse Helen Fairchild’s Life in 1917 During World War One

Philadelphia to Flanders: The Story of Nurse Helen Fairchild’s Life in 1917 During World War OnePhiladelphia to Flanders: The Story of Nurse Helen Fairchild's Life in 1917 During World War One by Nelle Fairchild H. Rote
ISBN: 978 0 9769492 6 8
Published by Create-A-Book on 2004
Genres: Military, United States, Women
Pages: 282

Len's Summary: The story of an American nurse with the AEF in France written by her niece. Based largely on Helen Fairchild's letters home written before her tragic death from a liver infection in January 1918. Available from Nelle Fairchild at elle12@ptd.net.

The American Foreign Legion: Black Soldiers of the 93d in World War I

The American Foreign Legion: Black Soldiers of the 93d in World War IThe American Foreign Legion: Black Soldiers of the 93d in World War I by Frank E. Roberts
ISBN: 1591147344
Published by US Naval Institute Press on June 15th 2004
Genres: African American Studies, Military, United States
Pages: 259

Len's Summary: The Harlem Hell Fighters of the 369th Regiment (15th New York National Guard) were part of this division, whose individual infantry regiments fought under French command.

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.

Meuse-Argonne Diary: A Division Commander in World War I

Meuse-Argonne Diary: A Division Commander in World War IMeuse-Argonne Diary: A Division Commander in World War I by William M. Wright, Robert H. Ferrell
ISBN: 0826215270
Published by University of Missouri on June 9th 2004
Genres: Diaries & Journals, Military, United States
Pages: 192

Len's Summary: The story of a successful division, the 89th, drawn from the diary of its leader Major General William Wright, who was later promoted to Corps commander.

Collapse at Meuse-Argonne: The Failure of the Missouri-Kansas Division

Collapse at Meuse-Argonne: The Failure of the Missouri-Kansas DivisionCollapse at Meuse-Argonne: The Failure of the Missouri-Kansas Division by Robert H. Ferrell
ISBN: 0826215327
Published by University of Missouri on June 25th 2004
Genres: Military, United States
Pages: 176

Len's Summary: Presents a cautionary tale of a typical inexperienced and under trained AEF division, the 35th Missouri-Kansas National Guard. // Analysis of the 35th Division collapse in the Meuse-Argonne that spotlights the steep learning curve faced by AEF commanders and soldiers in 1917 and 1918. Ferrell faults Major General Robert E. Traub, the divisional commander, for insensitivity to the tactical situation in fighting in the Argonne around Felville and Varennes, territory familiar to participants in recent WFA-USA tours. Divisional artillery commander Brigadier General Lucien D. Berry also comes in for criticism for failure to comprehend his guns role in infantry support. It was divisional engineer Colonel Thomas C. Clark who saved the day and prevented retreat from turning into rout. Other brigade, regimental, battalion commanders performed adequately; some preformed brilliantly before the Division was withdrawn from the line on September 30, 1918.

Trench Knives and Mustard Gas: With the 42nd Rainbow Division in France

Trench Knives and Mustard Gas: With the 42nd Rainbow Division in FranceTrench Knives and Mustard Gas: With the 42nd Rainbow Division in France by Hugh S. Thompson, Robert H. Ferrell
ISBN: 1585442909
Published by Texas A&M University Press on May 14th 2004
Genres: Military, United States
Pages: 224

Len's Summary: Presents the war as seen through the eyes of a highly-decorated and badly-wounded subaltern in the famed Rainbow Division of General Douglas MacArthur.

The Anzac Experience: New Zealand, Australia, and Empire in the First World War

The Anzac Experience: New Zealand, Australia, and Empire in the First World WarThe Anzac Experience: New Zealand, Australia, and Empire in the First World War by Christopher Pugsley
ISBN: 0790009412
Published by Reed Publishing on 2004
Genres: Australia & New Zealand, Military
Pages: 356

Len's Summary: A fine new book on Anzac participation in The Great War.

Tannenberg: Erich Ludendorff and the Defense of the Eastern German Border in 1914

Tannenberg: Erich Ludendorff and the Defense of the Eastern German Border in 1914Tannenberg: Erich Ludendorff and the Defense of the Eastern German Border in 1914 by Perry Pierik
ISBN: 9059111060
Published by Aspekt on October 1st 2003
Genres: Germany, Military
Pages: 102

Len's Summary: A new look at Germany's most famous victory in WWI. The best analysis of this battle was written by Dennis Showalter.

Gallipoli: Making History

Gallipoli: Making HistoryGallipoli: Making History by Jenny Macleod
ISBN: 0415647908
Published by Routledge on June 29th 2012
Genres: Australia & New Zealand, Military
Pages: 210

Len's Summary: Papers from a symposium held in 2001 at the Centre for Australian Studies, Kings College, London. Contributors include the editor, Martin Gilbert, Niall Barr and Stuart Ward.

Aubers Ridge (Battleground Europe)

Aubers Ridge (Battleground Europe)Aubers Ridge (Battleground Europe) by Edward Hancock, Nigel Cave
ISBN: 1844150933
Published by Pen & Sword Books on September 1st 2005
Genres: Military
Pages: 192

Len's Summary: New addition to the Battlefield Europe series edited by Nigel Cave. Analyses the action of May 9, 1915 when battalions of the First and Seventh Divisions and the Indian Army Corps attacked in support of an ultimately unsuccessful French drive against Vimy Ridge .

The Battle of the Otranto Straits: Controlling the Gateway to the Adriatic in World War I

The Battle of the Otranto Straits: Controlling the Gateway to the Adriatic in World War IThe Battle of the Otranto Straits: Controlling the Gateway to the Adriatic in World War I by Paul G. Halpern
ISBN: 0253343798
Published by Indiana University Press on May 24th 2004
Genres: Military, Naval
Pages: 208

Len's Summary: By the author of A Naval History of WWI and The Naval War in the Mediterranean, 1914-1918. The story of the largest Mediterranean naval encounter of WWI involving surface and submarine vessels, mines and aircraft from five nations.

Tunnelling to Freedom and Other Escape Narratives from World War I

Tunnelling to Freedom and Other Escape Narratives from World War ITunnelling to Freedom and Other Escape Narratives from World War I by Hugh Durnford
ISBN: 0486434346
Published by Dover Publications on March 19th 2004
Genres: Military
Pages: 320

Len's Summary: A reprint of Escapers All: Being the Personal Narratives of Fifteen Escapers from Wartime Prison Camps, 1914-1918, John Lane, London, 1932, available from www.doverpublications.com.

The Bonus Army: An American Epic

The Bonus Army: An American EpicThe Bonus Army: An American Epic by Paul Dickson, Thomas B. Allen
ISBN: 0802777384
Published by Walker Books on March 21st 2006
Genres: Military, United States
Pages: 370

Len's Summary: A History Book Club selection. The story of the 1932 march on Washington by WWI veterans seeking bonuses promised, but not appropriated by Congress. Fearing a Communist-led insurrection, President Hoover order their eviction and Army Chief of Staff MacArthur overreacted with tragic and violent results seen in theatre newsreels throughout America.

The Old Army: A Portrait of the American Army in Peacetime, 1784-1898

The Old Army: A Portrait of the American Army in Peacetime, 1784-1898The Old Army: A Portrait of the American Army in Peacetime, 1784-1898 by Edward M. Coffman
ISBN: 0195045556
Published by Oxford University Press on December 8th 1988
Genres: Military, Pre-War, United States
Pages: 560

Len's Summary: This volume begins with the Spanish-American War and Philippine Insurrection and covers the major reforms instituted by War Secretary Elihu Root that created the modern general staff system and helped prepare the Army for World War One. Of particular interest to Western Front Association members is Coffman's analysis of the colonial Army's experience in the Philippines and later on the Western Front, as well as the postwar army.

Imperial Germany and the Great War, 1914-1918

Imperial Germany and the Great War, 1914-1918Imperial Germany and the Great War, 1914-1918 by Roger Chickering
ISBN: 0521547806
Published by Cambridge University Press on May 6th 2004
Genres: Germany, Military
Pages: 248

Len's Summary: Revised edition of an excellent analytical treatment by an established WWI historian who teaches at Georgetown University.

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.

The Advance from Mons 1914: The Experiences of a German Infantry Officer

The Advance from Mons 1914: The Experiences of a German Infantry OfficerThe Advance from Mons 1914: The Experiences of a German Infantry Officer by Walter Bloem
ISBN: 1907677046
Published by Helion & Company on October 1st 2011
Genres: Germany, Military, Personal Memoirs
Pages: 128

Len's Summary: The memoir of a German reserve officer, a company commander, tracing his service from mobilization to the Marne and retreat to the Aisne. Recommended by WFA member Tom Jones.

The Forgotten Front: The East African Campaign 1914-1918

The Forgotten Front: The East African Campaign 1914-1918The Forgotten Front: The East African Campaign 1914-1918 by Ross Anderson
ISBN: 0750958367
Published by The History Press on November 1st 2014
Genres: Africa, Colonialism & Post-Colonialism, Military
Pages: 368

Len's Summary: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0750958367/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=0750958367&linkCode=as2&tag=worlwaroneh0a-20&linkId=RUACECCR5SGBKIJY

The Great War in History: Debates and Controversies, 1914 to the Present

The Great War in History: Debates and Controversies, 1914 to the PresentThe Great War in History: Debates and Controversies, 1914 to the Present by Jay Murray Winter, Antoine Prost
ISBN: 0521616336
Published by Cambridge University Press on September 1st 2005
Genres: General, Military
Pages: 250

Len's Summary: Historiography: scholarly analysis of the multitude of ways WWI has been interpreted by French, American and British historians, literary scholars, film directors and writers over three generations. Winter teaches at Yale and Prost at the University of Paris.

Petain: How the Hero of France Became a Convicted Traitor and Changed the Course of History

Petain: How the Hero of France Became a Convicted Traitor and Changed the Course of HistoryPetain: How the Hero of France Became a Convicted Traitor and Changed the Course of History by Charles Williams
ISBN: 1403970114
Published by Palgrave Macmillan on October 1st 2005
Genres: Biography & Autobiography, France, Military
Pages: 298

Len's Summary: A sympathetic view of the hero of Verdun and leader of Vichy France from 1940 to 1944. Il ne passeron pas.

Dew of Death: The Story of Lewisite, America’s World War I Weapon of Mass Destruction

Dew of Death: The Story of Lewisite, America’s World War I Weapon of Mass DestructionDew of Death: The Story of Lewisite, America's World War I Weapon of Mass Destruction by Joel A. Vilensky
ISBN: 0253346126
Published by Indiana University Press on September 1st 2005
Genres: Military, Social Science, United States, Weapons
Pages: 240

Len's Summary: The story of Lewisite, a variation of mustard gas based on an arsenic compound, a weapon developed, but never deployed during WWI.

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.

The Encyclopedia of World War I : A Political, Social, and Military History

The Encyclopedia of World War I : A Political, Social, and Military HistoryThe Encyclopedia of World War I : A Political, Social, and Military History by Spencer C. Tucker
ISBN: 1851094202
Published by ABC-CLIO on September 27th 2005
Genres: General, Military
Pages: 1661

Len's Summary: Dr. Tucker recently retired from VMI and is the editor of the The European Powers in World War I: An Encyclopedia (Garland, 1996) as well as an excellent one-volume history of the war.

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.

Jamaican volunteers in the First World War: Race, masculinity and the development of national consciousness

Jamaican volunteers in the First World War: Race, masculinity and the development of national consciousnessJamaican volunteers in the First World War: Race, masculinity and the development of national consciousness by Richard Smith
ISBN: 0719069866
Published by Manchester University Press on March 15th 2010
Genres: Military, Social Science
Pages: 192

Len's Summary: Scholarly examination of the experiences of West Indian soldiers in WWI and the war's impact on growth of nationalism and the pro-independence movement in Jamaica. Readers will recall that West Indian troops -- unlike French colonial troops -- were employed exclusively as laborers, not riflemen, on the Western Front.

Lost Battalions: The Great War and the Crisis of American Nationality

Lost Battalions: The Great War and the Crisis of American NationalityLost Battalions: The Great War and the Crisis of American Nationality by Richard Slotkin
ISBN: 0805081380
Published by Holt Paperbacks on October 3rd 2006
Genres: African American Studies, Military, Social Science, United States
Pages: 656

Len's Summary: A social history of two AEF units: the African-American 369th Infantry Regiment; and, the Lost Battalion of the 77th Division) made up largely of Jewish, Italian and Eastern European Americans from New York City.