The Great War Explained – Book Review

A fantastic introduction to the First World War explaining clearly and concisely the causes, military strategy and what happened throughout the war.  It is quite surprising how unprepared, and poorly trained, most of the units going to fight in the first year or so.

The Pals battalions were raised by individuals and companies, with little thought as to how the soldiers were going to live and fight. Initially, most people thought it would be over in a matter of months.  The French even went into battle wearing equipment and uniforms that had not changed in 40 years.  No one anticipated the logistics required to cope with over 2m soldiers living in the open for four years.

It is hard for people today to appreciate the sheer scale of the battles and the thousands of deaths that occurred often in just one day. 
Throughout the book are useful boxes containing summaries of events, and odd pieces of information for example the most decorated soldier of the British Expeditionary Force was not a fighter but a stretcher bearer. 

A very useful book, ideal for anyone wanting to make sense of a confusing war, and obtain an overall picture of what happened.

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