Book picks similar to
The Great War, 1914-1918 by Ian F.W. Beckett


Coronel and Falkland

Barrie Pitt - 1960
     Britain’s Naval supremacy is being challenged for the first time since Trafalgar. At large in South American waters within reach of the convoy routes across the Atlantic and the Pacific was Vice-Admiral Graf von Spee with the East Asiatic Cruiser Squadron of the Imperial German Navy, including the armoured cruisers Scharnhorst and Gneisenau. Graf von Spee’s belief that a cruiser squadron was of more strategic value than independent raiders seemed amply justified at Coronel on 1st November, when the powerful German unit inflicted a heavy defeat on four courageous but weaker British ships under Rear-Admiral Sir Christopher Cradock. Reaction in Britain was immediate and violent. The Royal Navy had been seen as invincible. Now, in the first major engagement in which battle had been offered since the days of Nelson, it had suffered a morale-shattering blow. Public bewilderment turned swiftly to anger: the Royal Navy thirsted for revenge. The Admiralty, in the persons of the First Lord, Mr. Winston Churchill, and the First Sea Lord, Lord Fisher, ordered the destruction of the East Asiatic Squadron; everything must be done to recapture command of the Southern Seas. A powerful force including the two battle-cruisers Invincible and Inflexible, was sent to the Falkland Islands, prepared for a long search and a battle of annihilation. The Battle of the Falkland Islands was fought on 8th December. The desperate gallantry of the Imperial German Navy challenged the vengeful pride of the Royal Navy in a struggle for control over the ocean trade-routes of the Southern Seas. Two of the major participants, Cradock and von Spee, died with their ships. Basing his text upon German and British records, Pitt has reconstructed the events of the two ‘missing periods’: the fatal hours during which Cradock decided to fling his puny force against von Spee’s squadron; and the days when von Spee was forced to risk his ships and men upon the information contained in an ill-considered telegram and an unfounded rumour. In Coronel and Falkland Barrie Pitt presents a vivid picture of these epic battles of the First World War. His description of the actions are precise and graphic, his judgement of the motives and decisions of those in command, scrupulous and detailed. Praise for Zeebrugge “Mr. Barrie Pitt has done a splendid job in pulling together all the details of this operation and presenting it in a lively way, with plenty of maps and diagrams.” — News Chronicle “A breathless and unforgettable narrative.” — Sphere “Mr. Pitt’s description of the desperate action on Zeebrugge Mole itself must be one of the most graphic accounts ever written in the annals of sea warfare. This in truth was a magnificent feat by the Royal Navy.” — Yorkshire Evening Post “A lively and detailed narrative, admirably illustrated, of a particularly gallant effort, which will serve to keep alive the fame of that band of heroes.” — Naval Review Praise for Special Boat Squadron ‘Barrie Pitt’s account of the exploits of these brave men in the Mediterranean is as much a thriller as a history book’ - The Daily Mail, Hull (less)

Flying for France: With the American Escadrille at Verdun

James R. McConnell - 1917
    This version has the original photographs returned.

Gunner Officer on the Western Front: The Story of a Prime Minister's Son at War

Herbert Asquith - 2018
    The author witnessed the mud-soaked agony of the Battle of Passchendaele in 1917, and the rapidly moving events of the following year. The book contains one of the most extraordinary accounts of the German spring offensive in 1918, from the point of view of a gunner officer with a grandstand view of the ruthless German advance.The author's father was Prime Minister at the outbreak of the first world war. The author's three brothers also served during the war; his eldest brother died during the Battle of the Somme.

Gas! The Battle for Ypres, 1915

James L. McWilliams - 1985
    Perfect for readers of Max Hastings, Martin Middlebrook and Tim Cook. By 1915, the Western Front had descended into deadlock. Near the town of Ypres, soldiers from Canada, Britain, India, France, Belgium, the French Colonies and Germany sat in long winding trenches facing each other. German commanders sought to break through the Allied lines by using a new weapon: chlorine gas. At five o’clock on 22nd April 1915, German troops opened the valves on their deadly steel cylinders and chemical warfare entered the First World War. As the thick, yellow-green cloud of smoke was carried by the wind into Allied trenches it overcame all those who breathed in its poisonous vapours. By the end of the Second Battle of Ypres, thousands of men had been killed and even more were injured as a result of gas. J. McWilliams and R. J. Steel uncover this horrifying battle from beginning to end and explore what it was like the for the French Algerians who first witnessed the gas clouds approaching them, how the Canadians stubbornly refused to retreat in the face of gas, what the British and Indians hoped to achieve with their tragic counterattacks, and ultimately why the German offensive failed. Gas! The Battle for Ypres, 1915 discusses the course of the battle, not just from the perspective of generals, but also drawing information from the accounts of field commanders and men who were there in the trenches witnessing these terrifying events first-hand.

Over the Top

Martin Marix Evans - 2002

Nothing of Importance: A Record of Eight Months at the Front with a Welsh Battalion, October 1915 to June 1916

John Bernard Pye Adams - 1916
     Nothing could have prepared him for the reality he ended up facing. Placing his focus on the day to day existence of the soldiers in the trenches, Adams presents a grim picture of mud-coated billets, relentless artillery barrages, working parties, training and the art of military sniping. Just as it would have been for the soldiers’ lives, Adams heightens his work with an emotive account of his first night patrol, the detonation of mines, battlefield duels and being wounded whilst out wiring in No Man’s Land. Understated and striving for truth over melodrama, Nothing of Importance is the original memoir of the First World War — the only record published while the conflict was still being fought — and the definitive account of trench warfare. Bernard Adams (1890-1917) was a British Army officer, joining 1 Royal Welsh Fusiliers as a Lieutenant in November 1914. He was the first of a triumvirate of authors who, for a time, served simultaneously in the same battalion: the second was Siegfried Sassoon, the third Robert Graves. Written whilst convalescing in 1916, he did not live to see it published.

The Great War Generals on the Western Front, 1914-1918

Robin Neillands - 1998
    They sent hundreds of thousands of young men to their deaths on the Western Front - often needlessly. But is it fair? In this explosive book, Robin Neillands challenges the popular myth about the incompetence and callousness of the Great War generals and examines the battles of the Western Front through the eyes of the officers to explain the circumstances that led them to plan and fight as they did.The death toll on the Western Front provides the main evidence against the generals but Neillands examines many other factors and spreads responsibility far beyond the generals and their staff, asking the questions:· Why was Britain so unprepared for a European war in 1914?· What role did the British politicians play?· What was the truth behind Anglo-French relations?· Can the Australians and Canadians really take credit for the great victories of the War?· Was the arrival of the American army really decisive?· Was any general really equipped with the knowledge and information to deal with the horrors of trench warfare?· How much of what we now believe about the Great War is true?This thoroughly researched and controversial book shatters many assumptions about the commanders who led the British Army through the Great War. It essential reading for anyone who wants to understand the conflict. ‘Absolutely first class: an eye opener for those brough up on the First World War myths’ –Major-General Julian Thompson, CB, OBE‘One of our most readable military historians’ –The Birmingham Post‘A highly readable and thought-provoking book’ –Peter Simkins, Senior Historian at the Imperial War MuseumRobin Neillands is the author of several acclaimed works on the First World War including ‘The Old Contempibles: The British Expeditionary Force, 1914’, ‘Attrition: The Great War on the Western Front, 1916’ and ‘The Death of Glory’. Endeavour Press is the UK's leading independent publisher of digital books.

WWI: Tales from the Trenches

Daniel Wrinn - 2020
    Uncover their mesmerizing, realistic stories of combat, courage, and distress in readable and balanced stories told from the front lines.Witness the creation of new technologies of destruction: tanks, planes, and submarines; machine guns and field artillery; poison gas and chemical warfare. It introduced U-boat packs and strategic bombing, unrestricted war on civilians and mistreatment of prisoners.World War I reduced Europe’s mightiest empires to rubble, killed twenty million people, and cracked the foundations of our modern world. In its wake, empires toppled, monarchies fell, and whole populations lost their national identities.If you like gripping, authentic accounts of life and combat during WWI, then you won't want to miss WWI: Tales from the Trenches.

Passchendaele: Requiem for Doomed Youth

Paul Ham - 2016
    The photographs never sleep of this four-month battle, fought from July to November 1917, the worst year of the war: blackened tree stumps rising out of a field of mud, corpses of men and horses drowned in shell holes, terrified soldiers huddled in trenches awaiting the whistle.The intervening century, the most violent in human history, has not disarmed these pictures of their power to shock. At the very least they ask us, on the 100th anniversary of the battle, to see and to try to understand what happened here. Yes, we commemorate the event. Yes, we adorn our breasts with poppies. But have we seen? Have we understood? Have we dared to reason why? What happened at Passchendaele was the expression of the 'wearing-down war', the war of pure attrition at its most spectacular and ferocious.Paul Ham's Passchendaele: Requiem for Doomed Youth shows how ordinary men on both sides endured this constant state of siege, with a very real awareness that they were being gradually, deliberately, wiped out. Yet the men never broke: they went over the top, when ordered, again and again and again. And if they fell dead or wounded, they were casualties in the 'normal wastage', as the commanders described them, of attritional war. Only the soldier's friends at the front knew him as a man, with thoughts and feelings. His family back home knew him as a son, husband or brother, before he had enlisted. By the end of 1917 he was a different creature: his experiences on the Western Front were simply beyond their powers of comprehension.The book tells the story of ordinary men in the grip of a political and military power struggle that determined their fate and has foreshadowed the destiny of the world for a century. Passchendaele lays down a powerful challenge to the idea of war as an inevitable expression of the human will, and examines the culpability of governments and military commanders in a catastrophe that destroyed the best part of a generation.

Gallipoli Sniper: The Life Of Billy Sing

John Hamilton - 2008
    Scrub, cliffs, spurs and hills meant that both Anzac and Turkish positions often overlooked one another. The unwary or unlucky were prey to snipers on both sides, and the sudden crack of a gunshot and instant death were an ever-present menace. The most successful and most feared sniper of the Gallipoli campaign was Billy Sing, a Light Horseman from Queensland, who was almost unique among the Australian troops in having a Chinese-born father. A combination of patience, stealth and an amazing eye made him utterly deadly, with the incredible - and horrifying - figure of over 200 credited 'kills'. John Hamilton has written an extraordinary account of a hidden side of the campaign - the snipers' war. Following Sing from his recruitment onwards, Hamilton takes us on a journey into the squalor, dust, blood and heroism of Gallipoli, seen from the unique viewpoint of the sniper. Gallipoli Sniper is a powerful and very different account of war and its effect on those who fight.

The Last Battle: Endgame on the Western Front, 1918

Peter Hart - 2018
    But what was unclear was how this defeat would play out - would the Germans hold on, prolonging the fighting deep into 1919, with the loss of hundreds of thousands more young lives, or could the war be won in 1918? In The Last Battle, Peter Hart, author of Gallipoli and The Great War, and oral historian at the Imperial War Museum, brings to life the dramatic final weeks of the war, as men fought to secure victory, with survival seemingly only days, or hours away.Drawing on the experience of both generals and ordinary soldiers, and dwelling with equal weight on strategy, tactics and individual experience, this is a powerful and detailed account of history's greatest endgame.

The Great War at Sea: 1914 - 1918

Richard Hough - 1983
    And it witnessed the greatest naval battle of all time.In 'The Great War At Sea: 1914-1918', the historian Richard Hough tells the story of those naval battles and how they shaped the eventual outcome of the war. It is a history as much of men as of ships; men like Sir John Jellicoe, 'Jacky' Fisher, and Winston Churchill, who together succeeded in jolting the Royal Navy out of its nineteenth-century complacency. The narrative follows the race to war, including the construction of the Dreadnought, the biggest, fastest, most heavily gunned battleship in the world; and against the backdrop of feuds, scheming, and personality clashes at the Admiralty, examines the triumphs and tragedies of the great battles and campaigns. Could the appalling losses have been avoided during the Dardanelles? Was there 'something wrong with our bloody ships' as David Beatty said at Jutland? Why was the Battle of Jutland inconclusive?'A truly excellent history, technical enough for the specialist, handy and well-found for laymen, and since the Silent Service could normally be relied on for its quota of personality clashes and blazing rows, human interest is well-served. So too is drama.' Christopher Wordsworth, The Observer'An admirable book which everyone interested in the history of the war should read' - The Glasgow HeraldRichard Alexander Hough was a British author and historian specializing in maritime history.Endeavour Press is the UK's leading independent digital publisher.

World War I: A History From Beginning to End

Hourly History - 2017
    Beginning in 1914, alliances between powerful nations soon plunged the world into a global conflict. Fighting-including miserable trench warfare-broke out in practically every corner of Europe and spread around the world to Africa, Asia, and the Middle East. Inside you will read about... - The Causes of World War I - The War in Europe: The Western Front - The War in the Balkans and the Ottoman Empire - The United States - Russia and the War in Eastern Europe - The Impact of World War I And much more! Even the peace treaty in 1919, which occurred during a deadly worldwide influenza pandemic, brought no relief; another world war, intricately connected to the first, would break out in only two short decades.

The Soldiers' War: The Great War Through Veterans' Eyes

Richard van Emden - 2008
    Richard van Emden's new book tells that story as never before through the words and pictures of the men who were there. The Soldier's War includes incredible never-published-before letters and photographs to reveal the true stories of a lost generation.The Soldier's War traces the war chronologically, taking stories from each year of the fighting and following the British Tommy through devastating battles and trench warfare to the armistice in 1918. The book also reflects on other lesser-known and more personal aspects of the war, such as the work of stretcher-bearers, army chaplains, and burial parties.Each chapter will begin with an exploration of the soldiers' post-war attitudes to an emotive and controversial aspects of the conflict. What were their attitudes towards the enemy? What did the troops at the front line really think about their generals? Did they remember their time in the war with any fondness?Central to The Soldier's War are the original and as-yet-unseen photographs that punctuate the narrative. Many soldiers carried lightweight VPK cameras (Vest Pocket Kodaks) and used them (illegally) to photograph the war as it unfolded. Between seventy-five and a hundred remarkable images will for the first time show trench-warfare as it really happened.

Over There: War Scenes on the Western Front (Collected Works of Arnold Bennett)

Arnold Bennett - 1915
    You may find it for free on the web. Purchase of the Kindle edition includes wireless delivery.