Victory on the Western Front: The Development of the British Army 1914-1918

Victory on the Western Front: The Development of the British Army 1914-1918Victory on the Western Front: The Development of the British Army 1914-1918 by Michael Senior
ISBN: 178340065X
Published by Pen & Sword Military on October 30, 2016
Genres: Strategic Studies
Pages: 240

Michael Senior identifies and analyzes why the development of the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) was “extraordinary” and shows how they led to the British Army becoming an infinitely more efficient force by 1918 than it was in 1914.

Although written in an impressively lucid style, this is not a quick read…. [and] there’s a danger, I think, of a reader unfamiliar with the truly global nature of WWI coming away from the book with the impression that this war was primarily Britain’s war.

Most of the book is devoted to technical improvements within the Royal Flying Corps, munitions, trenches, tanks, and artillery. Ultimately, Victory on the Western Front is a convincing antidote against the popular “Lions led by Donkeys” attitude toward the Great War that has sometimes been in vogue. It’s a well-written and well-organized book. All in all, an excellent read for those whose WWI interests include the workings of the British Expeditionary Force from 1914 to 1918.

Abridged from review by David F. Beer in RoadstotheGreatWar-ww1.blogspot.com/

Spy of the Century Alfred Redl & the Betrayal of Austro-Hungary

Spy of the Century Alfred Redl & the Betrayal of Austro-HungarySpy of the Century: Alfred Redl and the Betrayal of Austria-Hungary by John Sadler, Silvie Fisch
ISBN: 1473848709
Published by Pen & Sword Military on March 5, 2017
Genres: Espionage, Sabotage
Pages: 240

A New York Times review provided an irresistible description of this book’s topic: “The Redl Affair had everything: sex, espionage, betrayal, a fall from greatness and a sensational climax in which Redl went to his death like a figure of high tragedy.”

Alfred Redl was an Austro-Hungarian army officer and former head of the Empire’s counterintelligence. In 1913, he was discovered selling military secrets to the Russians and perhaps others. After being confronted, he was allowed to commit suicide and shot himself. Notably, Redl had passed to the Russians the Empire’s mobilization plans, eventually raising the important question of whether his betrayal had been a cause of Austria-Hungary’s poor performance once the war started in 1914.

In the preface, the authors argue convincingly that this is the first “factual” biography of Alfred Redl in English and state clearly that there is much about his case that will never be known for certain. Sadler and Fisch do an excellent job of describing Redl’s life and his situation as a perpetual outsider—a non-aristocrat homosexual of modest means, modest family background, and high intelligence. Combined with the stultifying culture of the twilight years of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and its army, they make a convincing case for their explanation of Redl’s motivations for betrayal.

Sadler and Fisch could have done a better job in guiding readers through the difficult thicket of disinformation, cover-ups, yellow journalism, and politically motivated allegations that followed in the wake of the Redl affair. Despite this confusion, the book is a valuable addition to the histories of the Empire, of WW1, and of espionage itself.

Reviewed by Steve Suddaby, past president of the World War One Historical Association and a retired CIA analyst

Cheshire Bantams: 15th, 16th and 17th Battalions of the Cheshire Regiment

Cheshire Bantams: 15th, 16th and 17th Battalions of the Cheshire RegimentCheshire Bantams: 15th, 16th and 17th Battalions of the Cheshire Regiment by Stephen McGreal
ISBN: 1844155242
Published by Pen & Sword Military on October 1st 2007
Genres: Great Britain, Military, World War I
Pages: 256

Len's Summary: The story of battalions formed from diminutive (five-foot tall) volunteers.

Pals on the Somme, 1916

Pals on the Somme, 1916Pals on the Somme, 1916 by Roni Wilkinson
ISBN: 1844157652
Published by Pen & Sword Books on June 1st 2008
Genres: History, Military, World War I
Pages: 224

Len's Summary: History of creation the British Pals Battalions made up of men from the same town or craft. // Looks at the participation of the Pals battalions which fought on the Somme in 1916 and how the Pals phenomenon was born.

Stanley Spencer’s Great War Diary, 1915-1918

Stanley Spencer’s Great War Diary, 1915-1918Stanley Spencer's Great War Diary, 1915-1918 by Stanley Spencer, Arthur Littlewood
ISBN: 9781844157785
Published by Pen & Sword Military on 2008
Genres: Biography & Autobiography, General, History, Military, World War I
Pages: 176

Len's Summary: The editor provides a commentary for these recently-discovered letters from a VC winner. // Diaries of a British veteran. // Written by a veteran of the Royal Fusiliers and West Yorkshire regiments who served from 1915 on the Somme, at Moutaubon and Vimy.

Retreat and Rearguard 1914: The BEF’s Actions from Mons to the Marne

Retreat and Rearguard 1914: The BEF’s Actions from Mons to the Marneby Jerry Murland
ISBN: 9781848843912
Published by Pen & Sword Books on February 2012
Genres: History, Military, World War I
Pages: 205

Len's Summary: The BEF’s fighting retreat in 1914. See Also John Terraine, Mons: The Retreat to Victory (1960).

Horsemen in No Man’s Land: British Cavalry and Trench Warfare, 1914-1918

Horsemen in No Man’s Land: British Cavalry and Trench Warfare, 1914-1918Horsemen in No Man’s Land: British Cavalry and Trench Warfare, 1914-1918 by David Kenyon
ISBN: 9781848843646
Published by Pen & Sword Military on December 2011
Genres: History, Military, World War I, Technology & Engineering, Military Science
Pages: 293

Len's Summary: Challenges conventional wisdom on the value of cavalry on the Western Front.

Suvla: August Offensive – Gallipoli

Suvla: August Offensive – GallipoliSuvla: August Offensive - Gallipoli by Stephen Chambers
ISBN: 9781848845435
Published by Pen and Sword on February 2012
Genres: History, Europe, Great Britain, Military, World War I, Middle East, Turkey & Ottoman Empire
Pages: 250

Len's Summary: Battle analysis and tour guide wrapped into one volume. -- Story of a mismanaged initially unopposed landing that led only to stalemate.

Salute of Guns

Salute of GunsSalute of Guns by Donald Boyd
ISBN: 1848848501
Published by Pen & Sword Military on October 1st 2012
Genres: History, Military, Weapons, World War I, Personal Memoirs
Pages: 235

Len's Summary: Memoir of a British artillerist who, commissioned in the Territorial Force, served on the front lines from 1915 to 1918.

A Doctor on the Western Front: The Diaries of Henry Owens 1914-1918

A Doctor on the Western Front: The Diaries of Henry Owens 1914-1918A Doctor on the Western Front: The Diaries of Henry Owens 1914-1918 by Henry Owens, John Hutton
ISBN: 9781781593066
Published by Pen & Sword Military on July 1st 2013
Genres: Biography & Autobiography, Personal Memoirs, History, Military, World War I, Literary Collections, Diaries & Journals
Pages: 201

Len's Summary: The diaries of a Norfolk medical doctor who volunteered for the Royal Medical Corps in 1914. -- War diary of a British physician who spent four years behind the front treating the wounded of three armies.

Slaughter on the Somme, 1916: Complete War Dairies of the British Army’s Worst Day

Slaughter on the Somme, 1916: Complete War Dairies of the British Army’s Worst DaySlaughter on the Somme, 1916: Complete War Dairies of the British Army’s Worst Day by Martin Mace, John Grehan
ISBN: 9781848847705
Published by Pen & Sword Military on July 2013
Genres: History, Military, World War I
Pages: 514

Len's Summary: Never-ending fascination with the mud and blood of the Somme. -- The raw material of history.