Churchill and the Dardanelles by Christopher M. Bell
Published by Oxford University Press on January 12, 2017
Genres: History, Europe, Great Britain, General, Military, Modern, 20th Century, Biography & Autobiography, Historical, World War I, World War II
A reassessment of Churchill’s role in the conception, planning and execution of the Dardanelles fiasco, as well as an examination of the subsequent inquiry and the long-standing controversy over the operation. Bell previously wrote Churchill and Sea Power, and is an expert on the great man’s relationship with the Royal Navy. His account draws on a mass of archival material, and provides a more nuanced view of the people and politics that contributed to the decision-making process.
(Notes by Steve McLaughlin)
The Last Battle: Victory, Defeat, and the End of World War I by Peter Hart
Published by Oxford University Press on March 1, 2018
Genres: Strategic Studies
The author is oral historian at the Imperial War Museum in London and has access to large archives of original testimonies…. describing and enlivening the final battles of 1918.
The author does admit that his “emphasis as a British historian is on the British Army with an appreciative reflection on the massive contributions of victory made by the French, American and Belgian forces.”
Politics and personalities involved in the cease-fire agreements were complex and often cantankerous…. [and left] “an unpleasant taste in the mouth when one considers that men were being maimed and dying in huge numbers with every day that passed.”
Ironically, it didn’t take long before the business of “battlefield tourism” began to flourish…. [while veterans now] “had to fight to retain their self-respect in a society that did not seem to care one iota for their welfare.”
This is a rich and comprehensive book, one I can certainly recommend.
Abridged from review by David F. Beer in RoadstotheGreatWar-ww1.blogspot.com/
Dennis Showalter: “…well-paced analytical text with first-hand accounts by participants.”
New York Journal of Books: “…an exceptional collection of personal narratives….”
The Path to War: How the First World War Created Modern America by Michael S. Neiberg
Published by Oxford University Press on October 3, 2016
Genres: Strategic Studies
Winner of the 2016 Tomlinson Prize Award
Neiberg takes a bottom-up approach toward understanding why America finally associated itself with the Entente in the fight against Germany. His major thesis is that Americans were way ahead of the government, and especially President Woodrow Wilson, in understanding that we had to be part of the war “to save civilization” and suppress Germany’s aggressive ambitions.
Memoirs, newspaper columns, magazine articles, private and public letters, and the speeches of Preparedness advocates show us the organic change taking place from 1914 to 1917 in our so-called isolationist population, and how the pressure from ordinary people, and his own advisers, dragged Wilson to a place he did not want to go. The chapter titled “Awaiting the Overt Act” is especially suspenseful, even if you know what’s coming next.
Neiberg’s refreshing viewpoint emphasizing the idealism, thoughtfulness, and good sense of the American public is certainly persuasive. Once again, his natural writing style makes this book an enjoyable as well as informative endeavor that I can recommend without hesitation.
Abridged from review by Jolie Velazquez in RoadstotheGreatWar-ww1.blogspot.com/
[Army Times described it “…eminently readable, impressively researched, and remarkably thorough…”—Ed.]