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The Myth Of The Great War: A New Military History Of World War I
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The Myth Of The Great War: A New Military History Of World War I

3.72  ·  Rating Details ·  236 Ratings  ·  32 Reviews

Based on previously unused French and German sources, this challenging and controversial new analysis of the war on the Western front from 1914 to 1918 reveals how and why the Germans won the major battles with one-half to one-third fewer casualties than the Allies, and how American troops in 1918 saved the Allies from defeat and a negotiated peace with the Germans.

Published June 28th 2001 by Profile Books (first published April 24th 2001)
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Apr 14, 2011 David rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Some authors present their arguments with subtle prose, coherent logic, and compelling evidence. Mosier takes a completely different route as he leaps before looking into the minefield of First World War historiography. His argument is analogous to the week-long British artillery barrages of the Somme that he deprecates - overblown, overworked, and ultimately unhelpful. From repeating his arguments ad nauseam, to blithely writing off or ignoring other interpretations of the evidence, to losing h ...more
Jan 14, 2015 Larry rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Mosier argues that the German army fought a more effective war than did the Allied forces until the failure of the 1918 offensive. His sources are useful, his writing is good, and his argument is hard to counter.
Dec 03, 2009 Mark rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This book was recommended by a friend but I should have been wary when the author states in the intoduction that he doesn't have a lot of knowledge of World War One (he's a professor of English who specializes in European literature). That was an understatement. The goal Dr. Mosier sets for himself is to correct many of the "myths" he claims to have found in the history of World War One. Unfortunately most of what he is debunking aren't myths or were corrected years ago. That the Germans were ve ...more
Mar 13, 2009 Jby rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
Revisionist junk.
Jill Hutchinson
This is a revisionist history of the Great War and is only recommended for the student of that war and its military tactics. The author concentrates on the Western Front, using some interesting source material, in an attempt to show that the Germans consistently defeated the French and British with less men and fewer casualties. He posits that the Germans had better leadership, battle tactics, leadership, and weapons while France/Britain were still using tactics/weapons from the previous century ...more
Steven Raszewski
The best WWI book by far. Having recently read Barbra Tuckman's Guns of August which was an excellent narrative she did not have access at the time to the archives Mosier got. His story is closer to the truth. The Brits and French were criminal in their ineptness and stupidity. The Americans saved their bacon. But as all history goes, it belongs to the victors and the Brits and French were lying and distorting from day one. Just a brilliant book and got to give Mosier his due because his other b ...more
Martin Moleski
Oct 27, 2012 Martin Moleski rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: military-history
Mosier demonstrates how the French and English just barely survived their own errors of judgment, hanging on long enough against a quite superior German army until the Americans arrived to save the day and win the war.

After showing what was wrong with French and British equipment, strategy, and tactics as compared to those of the Germans, he does not (to my taste) explain in sufficient detail why the Americans were able to win battles so quickly and decisively where the French had failed. This m
Feb 19, 2016 Dave rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Myth of the Great War"" has stirred much controversy, and deservedly so. Mosier's take on the First World War -- that ""Germany won the battles and the Americans saved the Allies"" -- certainly offers a different perspective from most historians. My own reaction to this book is, read it with caution. There are a number of interesting points that Mosier raises, and he does focus on some aspects of the war (particularly the fighting on the Western Front in 1915 and the American battles in 1918) t ...more
Jun 22, 2015 Michael rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As Churchill said, "History is written by the victors." This is especially true of a time when governments were able to control information, as in the early days of mass media. Mr. Mosier's book dispels the myths created by the Allied propaganda machines by providing well documented research into the true results of Allied combat performance . In truth, the Allies, were not very successful in their military campaigns until the US entered the war. In fact, the Germans were better led, organized a ...more
Sam Rogerson
Apr 29, 2014 Sam Rogerson rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
The figures in this book are simply wrong. I have read a few books on the Great War which cite a much larger range of statistics from numerous sources and his claims of fatalities just aren't right. He has used the most selective sources possible to give an extremely Americanized opinion on the war, and while they certainly contributed he seems to forget that Entente had been fighting Germany for four years before America joined, and that because of an economic blockade Germany was constantly ge ...more
Aug 07, 2014 Roy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's never a good sign when an author of a work of history starts with an explanation of how he's going to correct "myths" that have been perpetrated by most historians not merely ignoring evidence inconvenient to their thesis but actively suppressing it. When you then learn that said author is not actually a historian by training, then the alarm bells really start ringing.

Which is a bit unfair to John Mosier, as this is actually an interesting, well-argued account of the military history of the
Todd Schlichter
Sep 03, 2013 Todd Schlichter rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Critics will point out the book is flawed, and that's true, it is flawed. And that its no, "Guns of August". Which is also true. It does a poor job on penetrating into the mind of the Allied Generals. And it is sparse on the years 1914 and 1918. Doesn't take anything into account that happens off the battlefield (influenza or the Turnip Winter), and is not wholly unbiased. All true. However, with that said the vast majority of the book, which focuses on German tactics 1915-1917 and their effect ...more
Mar 25, 2012 Mackay rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
Subtitled, How the Germans Won the Battles and How the Americans Saved the Allies. If jingoistic, it provides a concise statement of the book’s theme, which argument Mosier makes forcefully and well. The book is entirely focused on European operations and almost exclusively on the Western Front, with occasional excursions to the Eastern Front, Rumania, and the Italian war to show or enlarge points made or to explain the Allied politics. It overturns the received wisdom of how the war was fought- ...more
Jan 03, 2013 Cassandra rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Having just read a few well written history books on WWII, I decided to read up on WWI. This was not a good place to start.

First of all, I found the tone very arrogant, and I felt a very clear bias throughout the book, which meant that I simply didn't trust what I was being told. The first half to three quarters of the book had some very good points that seemed to be well backed up, although in 'debunking the myths' I wanted some kind of comparison; I didn't know what the 'myths' were to begin
Aug 20, 2007 Sean rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Mosier's book flies in the face of most conventional accounts of the First World War. As a lay reader familiar with the gist of those accounts -- as found, for instance,in Keegan's well-regarded book -- but unfamiliar with any of the primary sources used by historians, it's difficult to judge how successful Mosier's work is.

In brief, he claims that superior German technology (primarily in large caliber howitzers and mortars, as well as gas and grenades) and an emphasis on firepower, a de-emphasi
Whether the Brits and French want to admit it or not, the hubris of their senior officers and the politicians supporting them caused the deaths of hundreds of thousands more men than should have occurred. It began with a combination of bad intelligence, wildly erroneous propaganda, dilatory staff work and a failure to coordinate, and these policies continued throughout the war. While the 'Allies' were measuring military might in manpower, the Germans were using firepower in organizing their forc ...more
Edward Sullivan
"Myths" of the Great War is more appropriate. Mosier addresses many misconceptions that came about largely as a result of government propaganda. None of Mosier's findings are all that revelatory and most of his conclusions are debatable. The tendency to focus on tactical and technical minutiae makes for a tedious narrative and Mosier's often arrogant tone is unappealing. There are much better written and more interesting histories of the First World War.
Jun 10, 2008 bkwurm rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The author sets out to prove that throughout WW1, the British and French high command failed to appreciate how modern warfare had changed and repeatedly sent their troops into slaughter and that the only victories that the allies won were propaganda ones.

By comparing casualty rates between German attacks and British and French ones, the author manages to show that in all instances the Germans suffered less casualties, inflicted more and achieved greater strategic and tactical gains than the Brit
Jun 30, 2013 Sue rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, military
The other reviewers here who gave it low ratings have pretty much summed up my issues with this book. Most of what's touched on in here was already debunked years ago or was never a mystery in the first place. While I don't rank it as revisionist in the way that some do--there's plenty of evidence that the English command and the media deliberately mislead and warped facts to fit their needs (read "To End All Wars: A Story of Loyalty and Rebellion, 1914-1918" by Adam Hochschild for a far superio ...more
Sep 06, 2013 Nancy rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This book is terrible. The author isn't a historian and is unaware of how historians conduct their research. His sources are few and all very old, and he seems unfamiliar with modern historigraphy on the war. He cherry-picks what he wants to talk about and leaves out what doesn't fit "his" theory that the Germans were winning the war until the US entered. He doesn't cover the naval war or the shortage of food in Germany by the end of 1917. But the worst aspect of the book is the Mosier's argumen ...more
Aug 04, 2012 Heep rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is much more compelling than his other book "The Blitzkrieg Myth". It explores the effectiveness gap between the German and Allied forces in World War I. Allied generals and political leaders needed to obscure this issue after the war because it would have damned their legacies and political positions. The book also looks at the impact of the American entry into the war and supports the thesis that it was decisive in changing the course of events. It is an interesting and provocative read.
It turns out that the Germans were far better soldiers than the British or the French. If it hadn't been for the US intervening when it did, we'd all be eating brats and schnitzel. Anyway, what Mosier argues is that German military leaders were much more forward-thinking than their British and French adversaries. By 1917, the Allies were on the verge of collapse. If we had not joined the fight, WWI would have ended far differently. Interesting, but I'm not totally convinced.
Frank Taranto
Oct 01, 2009 Frank Taranto rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
A history of WW1 on the Western Front that purports to be different from the accepted history. The book's premise is that Germany won most of the battles, but lost the war due to the US joining the Allies in force.
It makes me want to read more about the First World War.
Jan 16, 2008 Brad rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An excellent book on the importance of the First World War. The author argues (and I completely agree) that if you want to undersatand the roots of the Second World War, you must first understand World War I. An excellent book!
Jul 17, 2015 Aaron rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
Revisionist stoking of long-dead or fabricated controversies by an English professor who should keep doing his own job.
Bill Robinson
Mar 08, 2011 Bill Robinson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Brits really hate this volume as it minimizes their role in the victories of 1918, but Mosier makes a good case for the AEF. A stellar revisionist tome which has a place in any good military history collection.
Nov 20, 2007 Clyde rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I won't lie...unless you are really interested in the War itself this may not be the best book; however, it is well written and researched.
Bill Priest
Sep 07, 2007 Bill Priest rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: historians
Always love reading about World War One. The book gives a fresh perspective. Useful for understanding the nature of trench warfare.
James M.
Aug 01, 2011 James M. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A great new book with an interesting twist on the Great War. How Germany won all of the battles but lost the war.

Aug 23, 2010 Jill rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
In The Myth of the Great War, John Mosier seeks to dispel several views held by historians about WWI.

Rating: 3/5
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