WhoCares
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Book suggestions on WW1

Sun Nov 16, 2008 11:45 am

Trying to keep up with my 'tradition' to read a/some book(s) on the topic of the game, I am looking for some suggestions on good books overall covering WW1.

When I bought 'War in the Pacific' I read Tolands 'Rising Sun - Decline and Fall of the Japanese Empire' and also Churchills WWII (the 'short' version). Both giving a good overall picture of the politics, strategies and operations and an overall background of what happened why.

When I bought AACW I read McPhersons 'Battle Cry of Freedom', giving a similar overview of the AACW.

And that's also what I am looking for now, the overall picture and development of the war, in various aspects, like strategy, politics, economy and sometimes also the small and/or big man.
I am not looking for an in-depth 1000 pages coverage of single battles listing every bullet shot and I also care little for the colour of the shoe laces of General ShootMeDead.

As for the language, it could be german or english, though being german myself, it might be interesting to get a look from the other side.

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Franciscus
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Sun Nov 16, 2008 11:49 am

Two nice little (around 200 pgs) books:
- World War One by Norman Stone
- The First World War, by Michael Howard

Specially the first one.

Looking for bigger ones, myself... ;)

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Sun Nov 16, 2008 5:28 pm

world war one S L A Marshall

the first world war Kerwig

Naval history of the first world war Halpern

All OUTSTANDING books

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W.Barksdale
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Sun Nov 16, 2008 5:38 pm

History of the First World War, by Lidell Hart, is simply amazing. For a one volume general history this should be your choice. My copy is just over 500 pages.

The Proud Tower, by Barbara Tuchman, looks at world in the years before the war. Unless you dig lots of economic-socio-political history you can skip this

The Guns of August, by Barbara Tuchman, gives a solid look at the first month or two before the war hit the trenches. It's prose is superbly written and is just excellent!

Paris 1919, by Margaret MacMillan, gives a nice look at the aftermath. Very good read if your interested.
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rwenstrup
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Sun Nov 16, 2008 7:33 pm

A World Undone: The Story of the Great War by G.J. Meyer is excellent for WW1...and by the way, How the North Won by Hattaway & Jones is fantastic with AACW...

Alan_Bernardo
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Sun Nov 16, 2008 7:43 pm

WhoCares wrote:Trying to keep up with my 'tradition' to read a/some book(s) on the topic of the game, I am looking for some suggestions on good books overall covering WW1.


A World Undone is a very well-written, general history of WWI

But take a look at this thread, coming from the Matrix site and the Guns of August forum:

http://www.matrixgames.com/forums/tm.asp?m=1235388&mpage=1&key=Books?


Alan

Oli le Belge
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Sun Nov 16, 2008 8:42 pm

If you can read french, there is also a lot of good books there... ;)

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Lannes
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Sun Nov 16, 2008 8:44 pm

If you can read french, there is also a lot of good books there...


yes with other view not only anglo-saxon ;) ;)

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Le Ricain
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Mon Nov 17, 2008 2:47 am

W.Barksdale wrote:Paris 1919, by Margaret MacMillan, gives a nice look at the aftermath. Very good read if your interested.


Margaret MacMillan's great-grandfather was David Lloyd George. Her book has been published under at least three titles: 'Peacemakers: The Paris Peace Conference of 1919 and Its Attempt to End War', 'Paris 1919: Six Months That Changed the World' and 'Peacemakers: Six Months That Changed the World'.

I agree with you that it is a good read on the Versailles Peace Conference.
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Ian Coote
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Mon Nov 17, 2008 3:41 am

Would recommend "A MILITARY ATLAS OF THE FIRST WORLD' BY Arthur Banks. Maps covering all aspects of WW1, land, naval and, air all arranged in chronological order.Many sidebars on every page with lots of information,makes a great companion for the game.

bobbob
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Mon Nov 17, 2008 3:57 am

Try Pierre Burtons book Vimy Ridge for a Canadian perspective, its an excellent and very easy read. Pierre is a Canadian legend and if any one is interested he did a wonderful 3 book series on the War of 1812, also an easy read.

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Le Ricain
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Mon Nov 17, 2008 10:16 am

Three books on the subject that I have enjoyed recently:

'The Pity of War' by Nial Ferguson is not an overview but rather a detailed study of some of the conclusions, most of which turn out to be false, that have arisen from the war.

'Yanks' by John Eisenhower tells the story of the American Army in WWI.

'Tommy' by Richard Holmes tells of the life and times of the average British soldier during the war.
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'Nous voilà, Lafayette'



Colonel C.E. Stanton, aide to A.E.F. commander John 'Black Jack' Pershing, upon the landing of the first US troops in France 1917

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Carnium
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Mon Nov 17, 2008 11:49 am

My recommendations :
Armies of the World, 1854-1914 by David Woodward is great for "a pilot episode" of world war 1.
Der Erste Weltkrieg (in German) by Janusz Piekalkiewicz is simply AMAZING as all of his work is.
A Military Atlas of the First World War by Arthur Banks as already mentioned is great as it has amazing maps and a lot of superb informations.
The First World War by Hew Strachan is good for starters
The World War One Source Book by Philip J. Haythornthwaite
Arms and Uniforms: First World War by Funcken has great uniform and weapon templates.

The Encyclopedia of Military History from 3500 B.C. to the Present by R. Ernest Dupuy and Trevor N. Dupuy has all wars from 3500 B.C to cca 1991 (forth edition)

I was lucky to get all the mentioned books via eBay.. CHEAP !

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yoppy
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Mon Nov 17, 2008 10:46 pm

In search for books dealing with ww1 I found a jewel!
It's "Heeresbericht" from Edlef Köppen, a novel about a young german soldier and how he expirienced the war.
The book was long lost (forbidden by the nazis and then forgotten for many decades).
Some people compare it to Erich Maria Remarques "Im Westen nichts Neues" ("All Quiet on the Western Front") - I've never read it, only saw the 2 movies.
After reading a quarter of the book, it impresses me how intense I imagine to put myself into Reisigers (the protagonist of the story) position.
The way the author describes everydays life on the front that becomes more and more insane is excellent.
He has a very special and sarcastic way describing certain situations, for example the first use of gas - the thoughts of the soldier and the offical announcements of the newspapers.
It's unbelievable that the novel is written nearly 80 years ago.
It's really worth reading.

jmjjmj
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Mon Nov 17, 2008 11:53 pm

The First World War by John Keegan is a good, shorter read.

Martin Gilbert's The First World War: A Complete History weaves together a first-rate narrative and some of the letters and literature written by the participants. Very moving.

I also recommend highly both of Barbara Tuchman's books.

tagwyn
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Tue Nov 18, 2008 1:32 am

Yoppy: Is there an English translation? Ditto on Tuchman's books.

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yoppy
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Tue Nov 18, 2008 8:02 am

tagwyn,

I'm not sure if there is an englisch translation. I found the book at amazon.com and there was no Note that it was in german (but It is expensive! 58$ or so)

But while I was searching I found an english abstact of the book. Here's the link:
http://www.hull.ac.uk/german/ngs/Murdoch15.pdf

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Jarkko
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Tue Nov 18, 2008 8:18 am

Erwin Rommel: Infantry attacks. Greenhill books, 2006. ISBN 1-85367-707-8

Humphrey Cobb: Paths of Glory. Univ of Georgia Pr, 1987. ISBN 0820308846
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Chertio
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Wed Nov 19, 2008 5:30 pm

I have just finished "Band of Brigands" by Christy Campbell, a history of the tanks from first experiments to the end of the war.

It is mostly written from the tankers' perspective, and didn't I thought analyse quite deeply enough why the general staff used the tanks piecemeal at the Somme or threw them into the mud-swamps of Passchendaele - but still it was a gripping and at times chilling read.

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WallysWorld
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Wed Nov 19, 2008 10:09 pm

Another book by Norman Stone is "Eastern Front 1914-1917" which obviously focuses just on the Eastern Front. I found it really interesting especially about the Russian war plans and supply and production issues.

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Syt
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Fri Nov 21, 2008 10:55 am

I am currently reading 1914 - 1918 by David Stevenson. It's a rather complete book, first giving a general overview, and then tearing into specific topics (economy, motivation/manpower, tactics/technology etc.). It's more exhaustive than Keegan (ca. 600 pages without appendix, 40 lines/page).

I also heartily endorse the Tuchman books (Proud Tower + Guns of August). If you like medieval history, I also suggest checking her Distant Mirror.

Keegan's First World War is a very good starting point if you have never read much about WW1. There's also a superb illustrated version out there with (much) abridged text but sports an impressive collection of photos and images.

Lieing on my desk, waiting to be read:
- Prior & Wilsons's Passchendale - the Untold Story
- Sheffield's Forgotten Victory - The First World War: Myths and Realities

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jastaV
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Wed Dec 03, 2008 6:32 pm

Have to admit some books I'm going enlisting have been already quoted.

Martin Gilbert: 1st World War
Confirm the positive notes already reporte

Basil H. Liddel Hart: The Real War 1914-1918
Great book, loved writer

Martin Gilbert: Churchill
WWI & Churchill as politic and soldier.

David Fraser: Rommel
Rommel in WWI; very interesting the chapter dedicated to Caporetto.

Franz Herre: Der Tod in Venedig
A biography of Franz-Joseph of Austria

Franz Herre: Wilhelm II
Kaiser Wilhelm II biography

Paul Kennedy: The Rise and Fall of Tth Great Powers
A great book spacing over the subject from XVI to XX. Very intersting the chapters over origin on WWI and WWII.

Robert Service: Lenin
A Lenin biography, with chapters dedicated to WWI and Russian Revolutions.

Aleksandr Solzenitsyn: August Vierzehn
Love this book!
It's a classic historical novel, over the battle of Tannemberg mixing historical research and narration.

I mentioned the original title for any book, but I read the Italian language editions...... Traduction quality largely influences opinions.
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Napoleon: The army will obey me!
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[SIZE="1"]Fontainebleau, April 1814[/size]

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Le Ricain
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Thu Dec 04, 2008 1:16 am

I had read Solzhenitsyn's 'August 1914' something like thirty years ago. I had forgotten that it was one of my favourite books. Thanks for mentioning it. I notice that there was a sequel, 'November 1916'. Has anyone read it?
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'Nous voilà, Lafayette'



Colonel C.E. Stanton, aide to A.E.F. commander John 'Black Jack' Pershing, upon the landing of the first US troops in France 1917

Ian Coote
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Thu Dec 04, 2008 4:26 am

And for Canadians out there,may I recommend "AT THE SHARP END" CANADIANS FIGHTING THE GREAT WAR 1914-1916 Vol. 1 and "SHOCK TROOPS" CANADIANS FIGHTING THE GREAT WAR 1917-1918 Vol.2 by Tim Cook .Very in depth over 1300 pages in total,but well worth the time.

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jastaV
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Thu Dec 04, 2008 9:38 am

Le Ricain wrote:I had read Solzhenitsyn's 'August 1914' something like thirty years ago. I had forgotten that it was one of my favourite books. Thanks for mentioning it. I notice that there was a sequel, 'November 1916'. Has anyone read it?


Sequels are mentioned, indeed!
I read something like 'August 1914' was to be first book in a saga spacing from 1914 to October Revolution..... But none sequel was published in Italy last time I searched for it..... but it was more 10 eyars ago!
Ney: The army will not move!

Napoleon: The army will obey me!

Ney: The army will obey to its Generals’ orders!



[SIZE="1"]Fontainebleau, April 1814[/size]

FM WarB
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Thu Dec 04, 2008 9:36 pm

How about books on oobs? Je peut lire francais. Ich kann Deutsch lesen. It seems sources on l'armee francais are the most difficult to find.

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Books

Mon Dec 08, 2008 10:08 am

There are a number of other books worth reading.

"Mud, Blood & Poppycock" by Gordon Corrigan is an interesting examination of many of the myths of the war. Even if you disagree with the conclusions it is well argued and though provoking The book relates to the British army.

"The Advance from Mons 1914" by Walter Bloem. This is about the opening campaign of the war from the view of a German Company Commander. In German I believe it was called "Vormarsch". It is a memoir not a novel.

"Liaison 1914" by Edward Spears (now out of print) is a fascinating memoir that deals with how the BEF and French 5th Army Headquarters worked together, or didn't as the case may be.

"The Somme through German Eyes" by Christopher Duffy is interesting and casts a new light on the Battle.

http://www.naval-military-press.com/ is a good website, they have a lot of unit histories and first hand accounts from all sides.

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Cavalryman
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Books and a film

Sat Dec 13, 2008 4:28 pm

How about Winston Churchill's "The Great War"...excellent readable stuff...a bit of bias in places but the scope and language are superb....also anything by the "Imperial War Museum" in their series of books?

Rommel's "Infantry Attacks"...is also a very good primer on the tactics of the war....anything by Hew Strachan is also considered excellent by those in the know.....

"Paths of Glory" - film about French infantry unit fighting in the trenches...excellent stuff.

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Mon Dec 15, 2008 3:10 pm

jmjjmj wrote:
I also recommend highly both of Barbara Tuchman's books.



Silly question: What the other one called?

(The non Guns of August one obviously)

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Syt
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Mon Dec 15, 2008 6:04 pm

ulver1 wrote:Silly question: What the other one called?

(The non Guns of August one obviously)


She wrote a book about the Zimmermann Telegram.
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