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The Western Front: A History of the Great War, 1914-1918

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A panoramic history of the savage combat on the Western Front between 1914 and 1918 that came to define modern warfare. The Western Front evokes images of hardship and sacrifice, of young, mud-spattered men in water-logged trenches, shielded from artillery blasts by a few feet of dirt. Long considered the most futile arena of the First World War, the Western Front has persi A panoramic history of the savage combat on the Western Front between 1914 and 1918 that came to define modern warfare. The Western Front evokes images of hardship and sacrifice, of young, mud-spattered men in water-logged trenches, shielded from artillery blasts by a few feet of dirt. Long considered the most futile arena of the First World War, the Western Front has persisted in our collective memory as a tragic waste of life. In this epic narrative history, Nick Lloyd brings together the latest research from America, France, Britain, and Germany, telling the full story of the war in France and Belgium from the German invasion in 1914 to the armistice four years later. His sweeping chronicle reveals that the trenches were, as often as not, sites of dramatic technological and tactical advances, and that superior generalship helped determine the outcome of the war. Brimming with gripping descriptions and insight, The Western Front is a historical account in the tradition of Barbara Tuchman, John Keegan, and Antony Beevor: an authoritative, magisterial portrait of men at war.


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A panoramic history of the savage combat on the Western Front between 1914 and 1918 that came to define modern warfare. The Western Front evokes images of hardship and sacrifice, of young, mud-spattered men in water-logged trenches, shielded from artillery blasts by a few feet of dirt. Long considered the most futile arena of the First World War, the Western Front has persi A panoramic history of the savage combat on the Western Front between 1914 and 1918 that came to define modern warfare. The Western Front evokes images of hardship and sacrifice, of young, mud-spattered men in water-logged trenches, shielded from artillery blasts by a few feet of dirt. Long considered the most futile arena of the First World War, the Western Front has persisted in our collective memory as a tragic waste of life. In this epic narrative history, Nick Lloyd brings together the latest research from America, France, Britain, and Germany, telling the full story of the war in France and Belgium from the German invasion in 1914 to the armistice four years later. His sweeping chronicle reveals that the trenches were, as often as not, sites of dramatic technological and tactical advances, and that superior generalship helped determine the outcome of the war. Brimming with gripping descriptions and insight, The Western Front is a historical account in the tradition of Barbara Tuchman, John Keegan, and Antony Beevor: an authoritative, magisterial portrait of men at war.

30 review for The Western Front: A History of the Great War, 1914-1918

  1. 4 out of 5

    Roger Mosedale

    A well-written, concise history of the war in the west. The author is apparently planning two further volumes, on the Eastern Front and wider international war respectively; I'm looking forward to those very much. I particularly liked the coverage of the French campaigns, as I think (Verdun aside) this is an aspect rarely covered in English books on the war. I found lots of information here that I didn't know I didn't know, as it were. Some parts of the narrative perhaps felt a little rushed, for A well-written, concise history of the war in the west. The author is apparently planning two further volumes, on the Eastern Front and wider international war respectively; I'm looking forward to those very much. I particularly liked the coverage of the French campaigns, as I think (Verdun aside) this is an aspect rarely covered in English books on the war. I found lots of information here that I didn't know I didn't know, as it were. Some parts of the narrative perhaps felt a little rushed, for example the coverage of 1918. However, this was no doubt necessary to keep the book within its required length. Also, as I'm sure the author would point out, he has written more detailed books on the last 100 days, Passchendaele, and other battles. The book provides a good view of the narrative, and is certainly a good place to start.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Artie LeBlanc

    For me, this book offered a superb overview of the long series of campaigns that were waged on the Western Front. I had heard/read/seen coverage of individual campaigns and battles: but this volume has put them in context and (whisper it quietly) in time sequence (we non-experts get confused). For the first time I feel I have a clear grasp of the ebb and flow of the struggle. I also gained a fuller appreciation of the scale of the chemical warfare. Nick Lloyd's style is extremely readable, which For me, this book offered a superb overview of the long series of campaigns that were waged on the Western Front. I had heard/read/seen coverage of individual campaigns and battles: but this volume has put them in context and (whisper it quietly) in time sequence (we non-experts get confused). For the first time I feel I have a clear grasp of the ebb and flow of the struggle. I also gained a fuller appreciation of the scale of the chemical warfare. Nick Lloyd's style is extremely readable, which helps a lot. My one complaint: the maps! The key to the maps is separated from the list of maps; and the text does not refer to them, so often I had read more than half of the section on a campaign before I fell across the appropriate map. This could so easily have been better done. I know even less about the Eastern Front, so am looking forward to the next volume.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Russel Henderson

    One of the best and most accessible books on the subject I’ve yet read. Lloyd’s breadth is impressive, but he is true to his mission in addressing the war elsewhere only to the extent necessary to inform what was happening in this theater. He does an admirable job of giving British and American readers and appreciation for how much of the burden was borne by the French. He is perhaps too negative toward the British, but not glaringly so. His look at personages and relationships, and the changes One of the best and most accessible books on the subject I’ve yet read. Lloyd’s breadth is impressive, but he is true to his mission in addressing the war elsewhere only to the extent necessary to inform what was happening in this theater. He does an admirable job of giving British and American readers and appreciation for how much of the burden was borne by the French. He is perhaps too negative toward the British, but not glaringly so. His look at personages and relationships, and the changes to both over the course of the conflict, was particularly edifying. The heroes of early battles sometimes found it hard to grow into new role and in some cases less successful commanders in early conflicts redeemed themselves later, something too many narratives on the subject reduce to lions and villains. If the book has a fault, it is that he cuts through topic of vigorous debate in a few sentences, making necessary judgments and not enlightening the reader to the existence of some of these disputes, but he did tell the reader in advance that he was doing so. That’s the requirement of distilling subjects on which tens of millions of pages have been written to just 500 or so. There are better and more insightful works on specific facets of the war in the west but I’ve found few equals in tackling it comprehensively. I eagerly anticipate his next installment.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Fred Krause

    Well written summary of the Western Front. This book would make a good summary of the western front in WW1 for anyone, such as myself, who have read histories of segments of of that Great War. I would have given the book 5 stars if I thought it had lived up to the advertising hype around its publication. The book was supposed to show how the allies and associated powers and the central powers, specifically Germany, adjusted to each other in technology and military thinking over the course of the Well written summary of the Western Front. This book would make a good summary of the western front in WW1 for anyone, such as myself, who have read histories of segments of of that Great War. I would have given the book 5 stars if I thought it had lived up to the advertising hype around its publication. The book was supposed to show how the allies and associated powers and the central powers, specifically Germany, adjusted to each other in technology and military thinking over the course of the war. All I came away with was that, even at the higher command level, the western front was a terrible war of attrition. I already knew that.

  5. 4 out of 5

    David C Ward

    A good, briskly paced narrative of WWI in the west; first of a three volume history. Focuses almost exclusively on military actions and strategy. I’m not really sure we need another such narrative but since I read most of them I guess I shouldn’t comment. Written from the “operational” (i.e. colonels and above) perspective. Does a good job with the French as well as pointing to dysfunction in the German high command both in terms of strategy and political/personal conflict. Anyone who likes to m A good, briskly paced narrative of WWI in the west; first of a three volume history. Focuses almost exclusively on military actions and strategy. I’m not really sure we need another such narrative but since I read most of them I guess I shouldn’t comment. Written from the “operational” (i.e. colonels and above) perspective. Does a good job with the French as well as pointing to dysfunction in the German high command both in terms of strategy and political/personal conflict. Anyone who likes to make fun of the French military needs to pay attention to the load borne in WWI.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Eric J. Hartsfield

    Good operational study of the Western Front Provided a very excellent summary of the fighting from 1914-1918 without overwhelming the reader with the details of each campaign. One of the best single volume I have come across.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Ron Nurmi

    This is a new epic narrative of the Western Front from 1914-1918. It is a view of the high-level commanders of both sides and how they fought the war. It is a very well-researched look at the war and how it was conducted.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Brian Asalone

    really nothing new here. While the narration is well done and the author does not bury the reader in minute details, the work is a broad overview of the western front of the war and does not really offer new information that has already been written.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Mark Harden

    Excellent command level coverage of the Western Front.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Ed

    Excellent.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Emma

  12. 4 out of 5

    Heather MacNeil

  13. 4 out of 5

    Jared Bruh

  14. 5 out of 5

    OTIS

  15. 5 out of 5

    Wniehoff

  16. 4 out of 5

    Mike

  17. 5 out of 5

    Rita

  18. 5 out of 5

    David Beadles

  19. 5 out of 5

    Guilherme Kramer

  20. 4 out of 5

    Elliott

  21. 4 out of 5

    John Farrell

  22. 4 out of 5

    Tom

  23. 4 out of 5

    Anthony Curran

  24. 4 out of 5

    Ian

  25. 5 out of 5

    Jc Moss

  26. 5 out of 5

    Deane

  27. 5 out of 5

    Ian Laurenson

  28. 5 out of 5

    Alexander Kasterine

  29. 5 out of 5

    Robert Squire

  30. 4 out of 5

    John M Petrone

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