A round-up of some current WW1 books from military publishers Pen & Sword.
Breaking The Fortress Line 1914 by Clayton Donnell (Pen & Sword 2013, ISBN 978-1-84884-813-9, 225pp, Illustrated, £19.99)
For many British readers the Great War started at Mons on 23rd August 1914, but in fact the fighting started many weeks before as the German Schlieffen Plan took the conflict into Eastern France and Belgium. Both Belgium and France had invested heavily in fortifications before 1914 and these were considered state of the art and almost impregnable. German tactics and weaponry would prove otherwise and this new book looks at the battles for the forts in some details from the attack on the defences around Liege in the opening moves right up to the attack on Antwerp, which involved British troops from the Royal Naval Division in October 1914. A well written and detailed account, illustrated with some superb photographs and good maps. The book can be ordered from the Pen & Sword website.
Public Schools And The Great War by Anthony Seldon & David Walsh (Pen & Sword 2013, ISBN 978-1-78159-308-0,317pp, Illustrated, £25.00)
Recent newspaper articles and documentaries have focussed on what a catastrophe the Great War was for the middle and upper classes and this book looks in detail at how British public schools were affected by the events of the war and also the terrible scale of losses among old boys. It also looks at the service and death of schoolmasters, often forgotten among the long lists of old boys who died, and examines the question of the ‘Lost Generation’. A good contribution to our knowledge of this important aspect of Great War history. The book can be ordered from the Pen & Sword website.
Teenage Tommy by Richard Van Emden (Pen & Sword 2013, ISBN 978-1-78303-278-7, 178pp, Illustrated, £19.99)
Richard Van Emden is one of our best oral historians having interviewed hundreds of Great War veterans and incorporated their memoirs into many of his excellent publications. This is a reprint of a book from 1996 but a most welcome one as it chronicles the story of Ben Clouting who was a young soldier in the 4th Dragoon Guards and fought in the campaign of 1914. This is a very engaging account of an important period of the Great War and one of the few ordinary soldiers voices from the ranks of a cavalry regiment. Highly recommended and essential reading for any student of WW1. The book can be ordered from the Pen & Sword website.
Artillery In The Great War by Paul Strong & Sanders Marble (Pen & Sword 2013, ISBN 978-1-78303-012-5, 246pp, paperback £12.99)
Artillery was the kind and queen of the battlefield throughout the Great War. Most soldiers killed and wounded during the war were not shot down by machine-guns or killed with bayonets, but fell to shell fire which swept across the WW1 battlefields in ever increasing amounts by 1918. This excellent study of the use of artillery in the First World War takes a chronological approach and examines not just British artillery doctrine and weaponry, but of all the major combatant nations. It is fully referenced throughout and while not being an ‘easy’ read is recommended reading for anyone with a serious interest in the conduct of the Great War. The book can be ordered from the Pen & Sword website.