Passchendaele - A Hollow Victory, by Martin Marix Evans

Passchendaele - A Hollow Victory, by Martin Marix Evans
Passchendaele - A Hollow Victory, by Martin Marix Evans

Published by Pen & Sword in 2005, 194 pages. Hardback with Dust Jacket (N5702)

Brand New Book

From the front inside fly leaf: Passchendaele is one of the most evocative names associated with the Great War. For over 80 years, the battle has been regarded as the epitome of pointless slaughter on an unimaginable scale. The statistics - half a million British, French and German casualties between July and November 1917 - appear to speak for themselves. Ever since, the image of hapless soldiers struggling through the mud and the shellfire has been promoted as a demonstration of the futility of the war on the Western Front and of the incompetence of the commanders.

Yet, as Martin Marix Evans demonstrates in this gripping and perceptive reassessment, these common assumptions about the course of the battle and the ways in which it was fought are mistaken and should be looked at again. He sets out the planning of the British offensive and examines the thinking behind it, visits the terrain over which the battle was fought and describes the weather that affected it so profoundly. The voices of the men in command - Haig, Gough, Plumer and Ludendorff - are heard in their own words as are those of men who fought here. The successes - the taking of the Messines and Pilkem Ridges, the Cockroft and Springfield tank actions and the seizing of the Bellewarde Ridge - are set against the failures on the Gheluvelt Plateau and the heartbreaking cost of the taking of Passchendaele itself. The casualties are considered soberly, realistically and in the light of the war as a whole.

This compelling new account of the battle, which uses the concise, clear Campaign Chronicles format to record the action in vivid detail - day by day, hour by hour - reveals the stresses and uncertainties of commanders and commanded as the brutal process of learning how to win the costliest of modern wars unfolded.
Condition New