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In Flanders Fields: The 1917 Campaign
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In Flanders Fields: The 1917 Campaign

really liked it 4.00  ·  Rating Details  ·  155 Ratings  ·  17 Reviews
Of all the grim, gallant, and inglorious battles of the Western Front, Passchendaele is the name uniquely evocative of the "mud and blood" that pervaded the First World War. The total gain--a few thousand yards of indefensible slough--cost many tens of thousands of Allied lives. In this now-classic account of the Flanders campaign, first published in 1959, Leon Wolff graph ...more
Paperback, 310 pages
Published June 28th 2001 by Penguin Books (first published 1958)
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Best History Books
336th out of 1,733 books — 1,722 voters
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Passchendaele/Third Ypres
5th out of 11 books — 4 voters


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Joselito Honestly and Brilliantly

This is about the Third Battle of Ypres, a.k.a. the Passchendaele campaign or the 1917 Flanders offensive which happened during the 4th year of the first world war.

What makes this different from other WW1 novels, accounts and memoirs I have read is that it does not confine itself to what happened in the battlefield but likewise dwelt at length on the generals, leaders and politicians who were never at the war front and made decisions in the comfort of their swivel chairs.

In the Author's Preface
...more
Eric_W
Apr 04, 2012 Eric_W rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“Only among duller minds, by that January 1, was the war still a splendid canvas without warts.” It was 1917, and the war that had been dragging on for an eternity, had no end in sight. In was apparent that the Americans would soon be entering the war on the side of the allies, and General Douglas Haig, the British commander in chief was eager to end the war before the Americans arrived and stole his victory. He argued that a surprise attack would overwhelm the Germans and create the breakthroug ...more
Keith
Sep 08, 2012 Keith rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This meticulously researched history of one of the most horrifying battles of World War I should make one feel that knowing the details of this senseless waste of human life might somehow help prevent it from happening again but for me it had the opposite effect; man’s capacity for brutality and senseless warfare seems boundless. In the summer and fall of 1917 British Field Marshall Douglas Haig sent wave after wave of his troops against well armed and well defended German forces in numerous att ...more
Jerome
Oct 11, 2015 Jerome rated it really liked it
In this grim volume, Wolff recounts the checkered, up-and-down history of the curious Flanders campaign of 1917, in which the key players were David Lloyd George, Douglas Haig, and mud. The campaign is known for the strategic debate between Lloyd George on one side and Haig and William Robertson on the other, and Wolff describes this interaction in detail. Following the result of a mere four miles’ gain (each paid in blood by 100,000 casualties) and the offensive literally getting bogged down, o ...more
Tony
May 31, 2011 Tony rated it really liked it
Shelves: history
Wolff, Leon. IN FLANDERS FIELDS. (1959). ****.
The history surrounding WW I is not one of my strong points, and this book does little to build it up. It concentrates on the battles around Ypres as the Germans were trying to outflank the French and English in their push in the Western Front. What I did come away with, however, was the tremendous, and unnecessary slaughter that occurred on both sides during this long engagement. It seems that the course of the battles was directed on both sides by
...more
Bob
Jul 08, 2012 Bob rated it really liked it
Shelves: history
There is the folly of war, which are the decisions made that lead into the disaster of war. And there is the folly of battle, the decisions made which needlessly cost lives. In Flanders Fields is an account of both. The particular folly of war in evidence here is that of the "in for a penny, in for a pound" syndrome. Wolff recounts David Lloyd George's clear insight into the folly of the Passchendaele campaign of 1917 and his inability to stop it. The same folly in Viet Nam cost Lyndon Johnson h ...more
Carl R.
May 08, 2012 Carl R. rated it really liked it
Even if you don’t already hate war and generals, In Flanders Fields should seal the deal for you. Leon Wolff takes his title, of course, from the famous John McCrae poem about poppies and corpses. He then gives an exhaustive account of the decisions and motives behind them that resulted the slaughter that WWI trench warfare perpetrated. Repeated senseless assaults in waist deep mud that gained no ground and cost tens of thousands of lives--that sums up what happened during 1916-17, the year that ...more
Maduck831
Dec 04, 2013 Maduck831 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ww1
read another one from the perspective of the english re: ypres, etc...need to find a book on the german perspective (or even a french opinion on the various battles, granted their involvement wasn't as great)...

every general/decision maker involved in this campaign on both sides should've been tried for war crimes...what these soldiers did and how they kept on defies belief...

"I was lying out in no man's land. A little German dog trotted up and licked my British face. I pulled his German ears an
...more
Charles M.
Jan 02, 2015 Charles M. rated it really liked it
Chronicle of the 1917 Campaign, which virtually was the central Powers' last big effort to break the Allies lines of defense. Within one year and the US entry as a significant fighting force, the war ended.
Margaret Harris
Jan 18, 2016 Margaret Harris rated it really liked it
A story of human carnage brought on, according to this book, by incompetent and arrogant leadership.
John
Feb 12, 2016 John rated it liked it
Shelves: low-country, ww1
Pedestrian presentation of the 3rd Ypres battle. Lots of telling of personalities involved and fair amount of opinion of the personalities involved.
Stewart
Jul 06, 2011 Stewart rated it it was amazing
This is one of the best books from the military history genre which I have ever read. It is an excellent survey of World War I's most brutal battle. The narrative goes deeper than this single battle however. I enjoyed that the author included a lot of information about what was going on in the political realm, as well as the world conflict in general before, during, and after this battle. It is a well rounded, through, splendidly written account.
Linda
Mar 21, 2013 Linda rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was one of a Time-Life series published in the 1980's of forgotten out-of-print books. When I moved in 1986, I took only the ones I liked best and this was one of those. I still remember it. I think it was the first book I'd read about WWI. I remember the horror I felt as I found out what was behind the poem I had heard.
Jack Blinke
Nov 08, 2012 Jack Blinke rated it really liked it
The absolute folly of war. The fantastic waste and the stupidity on both sides is brilliantly displayed in this text. Even if you not a reader of the First World War, this book will interest you.
Len Roberto
Oct 10, 2012 Len Roberto rated it really liked it
an elegiac look at the foolishness of WWI, you will find yourself near tears at some of the descriptions of what these soldiers endured...one of the classics of WWI history.
Mick Maye
Jun 24, 2011 Mick Maye rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
One of the first books I read and as a teenager was staggered by the waste. Thoroughly enjoyed the book.
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name. See this thread for more information.

Frances Parkinson Prize winning historian who wrote Little Brown Brother, Lockout, Low Level Mission and In Flanders Fields.
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