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Eleventh Month, Eleventh Day, Eleventh Hour: Armistice Day, 1918
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Eleventh Month, Eleventh Day, Eleventh Hour: Armistice Day, 1918

4.14 of 5 stars 4.14  ·  rating details  ·  286 ratings  ·  45 reviews
s/t: World War I and Its Violent Climax
"November 11, 1918. The final hours pulsate with tension as every man in the trenches hopes to escape the melancholy distinction of being the last to die in World War I." "The Allied generals knew the fighting would end precisely at 11:00 A.M., yet in the final hours they flung men against an already beaten Germany. The result? Eleven...more
Paperback, 496 pages
Published December 18th 2007 by Random House (first published 1999)
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Community Reviews

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I vividly remember reading The Donkeys by Alan Clarke (the title comes from the phrase, "lions led by donkeys") many years ago that described the total incompetence of the British Expeditionary Force generals in WW I. They were completely unable to adapt to new technologies and insisted on fighting with tactics of previous wars. Joseph Persico doesn't let them off lightly either although that's not his primary mission. The Eleventh Month, Eleventh Day... refers to the time and date of the eventu...more
'Aussie Rick'
11th Month, 11th Day, 11th Hour by Joseph Persico is an interesting and captivating book covering not only the final moments of the Great War but also offering a general history of the war from its beginning in 1914. The author follows a number of characters, great and small, throughout the narrative. We follow the paths and final fate of a number of soldiers from America, Britain, France, and Germany. We also get glimpses of those who control their destiny, Foch, Haig, Hindenburg and Pershing....more
What an eye-opener. Going into this book I didn't have much of an appreciation for WWI, the events of the war or its legacy. WWI blows my mind in scale, depravity, human loss, and the absurdity of it all. Over 10 million men lost their lives in the war. Another 30 million wounded or missing.

This book takes scores of personal stories from the men who lived the war in the trenches and battlefields and puts them in the larger perspective. By the end you have the picture of a war started by a polit...more
How do you stop a war on a deadline? You can't really and this amazing book details the sad tale of the individuals killed in the final hours and even the final minutes of World War One. Incredibly, more men died on November 11, 1918 than on D-Day in WWII. It could have been even worse if some officers hadn't defied orders to fight to the very end. The last American killed -- a Baltimore bank manager whose parents were German immigrants who mysteriously threw himself at a German machine gun nest...more
Jason Reeser
This was very well done. Having read books on WWI before, I was happy to see a good deal of new material, and a somewhat fresh perspective on some of the more redundant facts and figures. Concentrating on the last hours of the war, Persico introduces us to certain members of each of the armies involved at the beginning of that last day, then backtracks and tells their story throughout the war, bringing them up to that fateful last day. A fascinating journey that spotlights men who had endured so...more
Persico is a very good writer. The book switches back and forth from 11-11-18 to earlier parts of the war, yet never loses its flow. It is not a story of the military campaigns, but of the individuals involved in those campaigns. There are many interesting anecdotes. The author definitely gets across the futility of war, but also it's inevitability.
Richard E Chamberlin
A real eye-opener into the ravages of the trench warfare that occured in World War I - and into the useless and massive loss of life on both sides (Germany and the Allied nations - France, Britain and later - U. S. A.) The miseries of fighters in the trenches on both sides are well-documented by Persico who's research for the book was excellent. Since my grandfather fought in WWI, it really made me understand what he likely endured (including the dreaded mustard gas attacks) that, later, contrib...more
Sep 11, 2011 Rashmi rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: no one
24 pages in: The author gives an overly simplistic and misleading explanation of the build-up to WWI and lays the blame solely on Kaiser Wilhelm II. Completely overlooks the fact that the Kaiser was desperately writing his cousin Tsar Nicholas to prevent a war. He writes that Germany dragged a reluctant Austria into the war, which is the exact opposite of the truth.

Page 26: The author starts talking about Hitler. What does Hitler have to do with Armistice Day?

I refuse to read any further. Persic...more
Chris O'Brien
I've become fascinated by World War I, and grabbed this book while on vacation this summer. War is horrible, of course. But World War I was perhaps one the most senseless wars. Even worse, on the last day, in the hours between when the Armistice was signed and when it went into effect, commanders continued to send men over the top of their trenches in a ridiculous bid to gain a few more scraps of territory. Many continued to fight until the very last minute of the war. The result? In all, more p...more
A narrative history with some good research woven in. The book is a bit choppy, switching back and forth between personal anecdotes and a timeline of broader war events. Despite this structure, the author achieves his goal of showing the depravity of this war and its effect on the common soldier.

It may be worth just skipping around to the parts on how different units and commanders dealt with their orders to keep fighting even though the signing of the armistice was imminent. It certainly made...more
Very good book about World War I and in particular the final days of the war and the almost criminal neglect of the Allied Generals for the welfare of the Allied soldiers who were ordered to continue attacking German positions right up to the armistice deadline even though nothing would be gained by doing so except the unnecessary death of soldiers on both sides of the line. Reading this book, one would think that now they were winning the war, the Allied Generals didn't want the war to end.
I never knew that there were more casualties on the last day of World War I than there were during the Normandy Invasion despite the fact that the Armistice was planned for 11am of November 11th.

My 3 star review is for the audiobook version of this book. The primary challenge I had with it was the narrator's love of accents. Every British, French, German, and Mid-west soldier got his own vocal characterization. While skillfully done, it was ultimately far more distracting than enriching.
Nov 03, 2013 Ben rated it 2 of 5 stars
Shelves: history
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Focused through the story of the fighting that took place after the armistice was signed and when it went into effect the entirety of the war is examined with personal stories from the lives of the men and leaders who took part. I enjoyed the personal accounts and the things you don’t think about, the impact of germs in the soil and the Spanish flu, advances in equipment and medical advances.
Fredrick Danysh
An armistice is supposed to go into effect on November 11, 1918, at 11:00 am. But the Allies launch an attack with just 30 minutes to go before the truce. This is the story from letters, diaries, and survivors of the last dat of World War I. Include is a brief history of the slaughter of the entire war. This is an incredible story of senseless slaughter and disregard for human life.
Aug 03, 2009 TJ rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: history
More than I really needed to know about the history of WWI, but still very interesting. The sheer amount of casualities and the extend of the damage is amazing. It is amazing to think that so manhy men died and so many were devasted because of such small reasons, as a Kaiser's pride. And then to have so many die on the last day is so distressing and disturbing.
Erin Casey
An excellent history book - explains the 'big picture' and is full of personal stories too. The zipping back and forth in time is not a problem at all - it works very well here for building suspense and of course also building up the reader's frustration with the stupidity of most decision makers in that war.
Feb 25, 2012 Kristin rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: wwi
Good book, but felt like it was assigning too much emotion to the people involved. It felt more like a story than a work of nonfiction. I thought the information and history were presented clearly, and the presentation certainly increased readability. But the presentation did not sit well with me.
Excellent introduction to World War I, told from the soldiers' perspective on the last day of the war.

As a fan of Downton Abbey, I realized I didn't know too much about the war. This book examines the politics and folly that led to it, as well as the heartbreaking slaughter and waste. It was riveting.
Good anecdotal history about the end of war we've mostly forgotten about . Though, it perhaps focuses a little too much on people who would be important in the next war instead of the important people in WWI, which is why you pick up the book in the first place.
Writing seemed a little disjointed. I guess it's hard to tell the story of this 4-year war in 400 pages though.
Phil Kirchmeier
My Grandfather fought in this war. Never really heard about his time there. Unbelievable how many died within the last, literally couple of hours, all because of the egos of the top brass and the corporate climbing mentality of the lower brass!
Oct 01, 2012 Richard rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone
If you are looking for a compelling read about World War I and its conclusion, start with this. It is an outstanding work that will make the time come alive in your mind. This book was an important part of my research for Maude Brown's Baby.
The author describes World War I on the western front through soldier's memories, starting with the last day. Interestingly, many allied generals insisting on fighting for land that the Germans would evacuate under the armistice.
So good. The prose was amazing especially when Persico compared the act of war to a rope. A rope can be used to hang or to save. It doesn't matter to the rope. The same is true of war. War can be used to enslave or free.
Autumn Smith
Had to read this for my sophmore European History class, and let me tell you, I could not get 30 pages in without falling asleep every time I tried reading it!
lets just say I failed that test over the book.
Great book, collecting personal accounts from politicians, citizens -wives, sons, daughters- and, of course, soldiers. From all sides, ranks, races, and philosophies. Very readable, moving, and informative.
Don Mader
Shocking that Allied commanders sent soldiers "over the top" and out of the trenches to their deaths when they knew the armistice was about to take effect. They should have been prosecuted.
EXCELLENT BOOK ABOUIT THE LAST 30 MINUTES OFF WW1. Our commanders should have been arrested for war crimes. I had no idea this happened,I was shocked with disbilief, it made my stomach hurt.
I'm giving it a five-star rating based on the jacket and a quick scan of the text. I haven't taken the time to really digest this one, but what I've read hits like a ton of bricks.
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Joseph E. Persico was the author of Roosevelt’s Secret War: FDR and World War II Espionage; Eleventh Month, Eleventh Day, Eleventh Hour: Armistice Day, 1918–World War I and Its Violent Climax; Piercing the Reich; and Nuremberg: Infamy on Trial, which was made into a television docudrama. He also collaborated with Colin Powell on his autobiography, My American Journey. He lives in Guilderland, New...more
More about Joseph E. Persico...
Franklin and Lucy Nuremberg: Infamy on Trial Roosevelt's Secret War: FDR and World War II Espionage Roosevelt's Centurions: FDR & the Commanders He Led to Victory in World War II Edward R. Murrow: An American Original

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“The imperative of war is to kill, and thus all wars are exercises in sanctioned murder.” 2 likes
“the human nature whose strong quality it brings out and reveals. To attribute any nobility to war itself is as much a confusion of thought as to attribute nobility to cancer or leprosy, because of the skill, devotion and self-sacrifice of those who give up their lives to its cure.” 2 likes
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