Eyes All Over the Sky: Aerial Reconnaissance in the First World War

Eyes All Over the Sky: Aerial Reconnaissance in the First World WarEyes All Over the Sky: Aerial Reconnaissance in the First World War by James Streckfuss
ISBN: 1612003672
Published by Casemate on July 29, 2016
Genres: Aviation
Pages: 240

This is not only a good book, it’s an important book. Streckfuss argues convincingly that the least-studied segment of WW1 aviation, aerial reconnaissance, was also the most important. The landplanes, seaplanes, and captive balloons devoted to observation turned artillery into a dominant force on the battlefield by extending its range and accuracy to an extent unimaginable in past wars.

Aerial photography conducted by planes and balloons became the most important intelligence source by far for battlefield commanders at all levels. For the first time in history, commanders did not have to wonder what was over the next hill—weather permitting, they had photographs and photo-based maps, some of which were only hours old.

Despite its critical role, aerial reconnaissance aircraft ended up taking a back seat to the fighters and bombers then and since. The mystique of the fighter pilot is well known, but the offensive “air power” of bombers between the wars eclipsed everything.

This well-researched history belongs on the shelf of anyone with a serious interest in the air war or the ground war of 1914-1918.

Reviewed by Steve Suddaby, past president of WW1HA

Billy Bishop VC Lone Wolf Hunter: The RAF Ace Re-Examined

Billy Bishop VC Lone Wolf Hunter: The RAF Ace Re-ExaminedBilly Bishop VC Lone Wolf Hunter: The RAF Ace Re-Examined by Peter Kilduff
ISBN: 190980813X
Published by Grub Street on October 19, 2014
Genres: Aviation
Pages: 192

Peter Kilduff is recognized as an authority on WW1 aviation and the Red Baron (Manfred von Richthofen) in particular. As an expert on German records, Kilduff describes what the German records say and don’t say regarding each of Bishop’s 72 aerial victories.

The German aviation records are incomplete due to WW2 aerial bombing, others were lost or didn’t make it into WW1 records, and some are too vague for verifying particular aerial combats.

It quickly becomes clear, however, that no conclusions about the veracity of a victory claim by Bishop or anyone else is possible simply because of a lack of German records regarding that event. This is not a hagiography, however. Kilduff points out that Bishop “inflated” the drama of his combats in his private letters home and “embellished” his stories in later years.

Billy Bishop VC contains all of the qualities that have made Peter Kilduff’s biographies such outstanding works. This is an indispensable work for anyone seeking to understand Billy Bishop’s story.

Steve Suddaby, past president WW1HA

Bill Lambert: World War I Flying Ace

Bill Lambert: World War I Flying AceBill Lambert: World War I Flying Ace by Samuel J. Wilson
ISBN: 1476664676
Published by McFarland & Company on August 12, 2016
Genres: Aviation
Pages: 266

American born Lambert apparently went to Canada in late 1915 and tried to enlist, but instead became a chemist making explosives in a factory. Before the U.S. declared war, Lambert sought to join the British Royal Flying Corps that was recruiting in Toronto. He was accepted in June 1917 and received only four rather than the standard six to eight weeks of basic training. Wilson speculates that it was shortened due to the heavy losses suffered by the RFC during “Bloody April” of 1917. Surprisingly, he was sent home to Ohio for a brief visit before being sent overseas.

Lambert flew old Avros and the single-seat Sopwith Pup (“one of the nicest machines that any pilot could want”). He disliked the Sopwith Camel, and enjoyed the SPAD although “it would fall like a brick.” Lambert scored his 22 aerial kills flying the S.E.5a in No. 24 Squadron starting in March 1918. A nervous breakdown in August ended his WW1 career.

Wilson’s book is well written, entertaining, and covers Lambert’s post-WW1 experiences without ignoring his caustic personality.
Reviewed by Dana Lombardy, publisher of WWOI

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

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.

In Uncle Sam’s Service: Women Workers With the American Expeditionary Force, 1917-1919

In Uncle Sam’s Service: Women Workers With the American Expeditionary Force, 1917-1919In Uncle Sam's Service: Women Workers With the American Expeditionary Force, 1917-1919 by Susan Zeiger
ISBN: 0801431662
Published by Cornell University Press on January 1st 2000
Genres: United States, Women, Women's Studies
Pages: 209

Len's Summary: Some 16 thousand women served overseas with the AEF. Some joined for patriotic reasons, others for economic motives, to search for adventure or challenge gender boundaries. A useful addition; to the study of womens' roles in The Great War.

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).

A Question of Loyalty: General Billy Michell and The Court Martial that Gripped the Nation

A Question of Loyalty: General Billy Michell and The Court Martial that Gripped the NationA Question of Loyalty: General Billy Michell and The Court Martial that Gripped the Nation by Douglas C. Waller
ISBN: 0060505478
Published by Harper on September 7th 2004
Genres: Law, United States
Pages: 448

Len's Summary: The story of the seven-week 1925 trial of WWI Army General William Mitchell, American aviation pioneer. Available from the History Book Club. This story was made into an excellent and largely historically accurate 1955 Republic motion picture starring Gary Cooper, and directed by Otto Preminger based on the book by Burke Davis. In their December 2004 issue the editors of American Heritage picked this movie as one of the 10 greatest historical films. For an excellent recent biography see Billy Mitchell by James J. Cooke published by Lynne Rienner in 2002.

Financing the First World War

Financing the First World WarFinancing the First World War by Hew Strachan
ISBN: 0199257272
Published by Oxford University Press on December 1st 2004
Genres: Economic History
Pages: 278

Len's Summary: Key sections from Strachan's history To War revised and reprinted as individual essays on the gold standard, financial mobilization, budgets of the belligerents, taxation, domestic and foreign borrowing. First in a series of individual paperbacks be excerpted from Strachan's award-winning trilogy on The Great War still in progress. The author is a member of the panel which selects the winner of WFA's Annual Norman B. Tomlinson, Jr. Book Award.

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.

The Cambridge Companion to the Literature of the First World War

The Cambridge Companion to the Literature of the First World WarThe Cambridge Companion to the Literature of the First World War by Vincent Sherry
ISBN: 0521528976
Published by Cambridge University Press on February 1st 2005
Genres: Literary, Literary Criticism
Pages: 348

Len's Summary: A critical overview of the major gendres, the impact of the war on the literature of the UK, America, France and the USA and legacy of the war in 20th century literature.

Inventing Anzac: The Digger And National Mythology

Inventing Anzac: The Digger And National MythologyInventing Anzac: The Digger And National Mythology by Graham Seal
ISBN: 0702234478
Published by University of Queensland Pr (Australia) on January 1st 2004
Genres: Australia & New Zealand, Social Science
Pages: 232

Len's Summary: Traces the development of the proud central myth of Australian nationhood back to its origins on the battlefields Gallipoli peninsula and the trenches of the Western Front.

Mannlicher Military Rifles: Straight Pull and Turn Bolt Designs

Mannlicher Military Rifles: Straight Pull and Turn Bolt DesignsMannlicher Military Rifles: Straight Pull and Turn Bolt Designs by Paul S. Scarlata
ISBN: 1931464146
on January 1st 2004
Genres: Weapons
Pages: 167

Len's Summary: The standard Austro-Hungarian infantry arm of WWI whose straight-pull action was adapted by other armies, including the Canadian.

Matters of Conflict: Material Culture, Memory and the First World War

Matters of Conflict: Material Culture, Memory and the First World WarMatters of Conflict: Material Culture, Memory and the First World War by Nicholas J. Saunders
ISBN: 0415280532
Published by Routledge on August 26th 2004
Genres: Archaeology
Pages: 224

Len's Summary: Fifteen contributors examine the vast material legacy and constantly evolving significance of WWI from trench art to post cards, unexploded ordnance to prosthetic limbs. Saunders wrote a 2002 book on Trench Art for Pen & Sword in the 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.

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.

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.

All the Kaiser’s Men: The Imperial Army on the Western Front 1914-1918

All the Kaiser’s Men: The Imperial Army on the Western Front 1914-1918All the Kaiser's Men: The Imperial Army on the Western Front 1914-1918 by Ian Passingham
ISBN: 0752459503
Published by The History Press on June 1st 2011
Genres: Germany, Strategy
Pages: 304

Len's Summary: An analysis of German strategy, tactics, and leadership as well as that leadership's limited ability to adapt to changing circumstances. Reviewed in the January 2005 edition of Stand To!

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.

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.

The Living Unknown Soldier: A Story of Grief and the Great War

The Living Unknown Soldier: A Story of Grief and the Great WarThe Living Unknown Soldier: A Story of Grief and the Great War by Jean-Yves Le Naour, Penny Allen
ISBN: 0805075224
Published by Metropolitan Books on September 1st 2004
Genres: Biography & Autobiography, France
Pages: 240

Len's Summary: The true story of a French soldier who survives the war with permanent loss of memory and who is never identified. Recommended by WFA Director-emeritus Norman B. Tomlinson., Jr. Reminiscent of Japrisco's novel A Very Long Engagement.

Fight or Pay: Soldiers’ Families in the Great War

Fight or Pay: Soldiers’ Families in the Great WarFight or Pay: Soldiers' Families in the Great War by Desmond Morton
ISBN: 0774811080
Published by UBC Press on October 1st 2004
Genres: Canada, Military

Len's Summary: Dr. Morton, one of Canada's leading military historians, spoke to this subject at our WFA August 2004 seminar at SUNY Plattsburgh.

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.

Portugal 1914-1926: From the First World War to Military Dictatorship

Portugal 1914-1926: From the First World War to Military DictatorshipPortugal 1914-1926: From the First World War to Military Dictatorship by Filipe Ribeiro De Meneses
Published by TBS The Book Service on December 1st 2004
Genres: Portugal
Pages: 200

Len's Summary: An analysis of the impact of the war on Portugal which -- despite being gripped with political and economic chaos -- entered the conflict on the side of the Entente and fought on several fronts.

Uncovered Fields: Perspectives in First World War Studies

Uncovered Fields: Perspectives in First World War StudiesUncovered Fields: Perspectives in First World War Studies by Pierre Purseigle, Jenny Macleod, J. MacLeod
ISBN: 9004132643
Published by Brill Academic Publishers on November 28th 2003
Genres: Essays
Pages: 308

Len's Summary: Fifteen essays by scholars from seven countries presented at a 2001 conference in Lyons, France.

The Gates of Memory: Australian People’s Experiences of Memories of Loss and the Great War

The Gates of Memory: Australian People’s Experiences of Memories of Loss and the Great WarThe Gates of Memory: Australian People's Experiences of Memories of Loss and the Great War by Tanja Luckins
ISBN: 1920731741
Published by Fremantle Arts Centre Press on February 1st 2004
Genres: Australia & New Zealand
Pages: 304