Passchendaele: The Lost Victory of World War I
The Allied offensive at Passchendaele during 1917 comprised several battles, with gains and losses shared about equally; at last, in the face of overwhelming difficulties, the Allies gained the Passcendaele ridge in late October. Next April, the territory was abandoned.
Passchendaele seems like a perfect microcosm that typified the whole war – oblivious or uncaring leadership, horrific conditions, enormous casualties for little, if any, gain. There is nothing good about WWI, except the heroism of the individual soldiers (and animals) who suffered, terribly, through it. So if you want to understand this inexplicable war, this excellently written and researched book will give you a pretty good feeling for it. It is a fascinating read, although the subject is infuriating, and the stories of individual heroism and quotations from first-person accounts are not to be missed. There are many maps and photos that draw you in as well; by the end of the book, you find yourself racing through the breathtaking, drama- and tension-filled narrative, wondering how it will turn out. The narrative is well-balanced, addressing both sides neutrally and with as much equality as possible. This is an important addition to the corpus for those interested in The Great War.