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

4.14  ·  Rating Details  ·  397 Ratings  ·  60 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
Paperback, 496 pages
Published December 18th 2007 by Random House (first published 1999)
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Apr 08, 2012 Eric_W rated it really liked it
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'
Oct 21, 2012 'Aussie Rick' rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-military, ww1
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
May 27, 2012 Nick rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Apr 17, 2016 Jared rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 stars.

This book is good, but a lot of it was super boring and hard to follow. The problem was that I couldn't follow everything that was happening to different people and who these people were. Eventually most of the individuals (unless I knew them from more general history like Patton, Hitler, etc) simply became an American soldier, British soldier, or German soldier etc. This made it hard to follow at times and I could just never get as much out of this book as I know is there.

I eventual
Feb 19, 2016 Dave rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
"11th Month 11th Day 11th Hour" is a book that both engages and frustrates at the same time. Considering the book's title (as well as its subtitle -- "Armistice Day, 1918"), I began reading this book thinking that Joseph Persico was going to do an in-depth look at the final day of fighting in World War I. However, this is not necessarily the case, because if you'll notice there's a second subtitle to the book: "World War I and It's Violent Climax." Persico starts off by focusing on individuals o ...more
Jan 28, 2016 Eliece rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I listened to this book on tape. Largely through the voices of soldiers in the trenches, the author describes how both sides of the conflict sent men to die senseless deaths on November 11, 1918 right up until the final minute before the Armistice--a staggering 11,000 casualties. In this audio, Harry Chase read all of the soldiers' words in their respective accents--German, British, French, and others, and was very convincing with all of them.
Once the arrangements were made for the truce to begi
Dec 12, 2015 Jeff rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People that like history
The book is really more about the entire war with a few chapters worth on the end of the war. It was pretty brutal and the book and war left a bit of a bad taste in my mouth. The conclusion of the book and war left me torn. Regarding the war, it seems like this is one of those scenarios where compromise led to disaster. Had the allies showed a little more compassion once Germany was defeated there might not have been such a sense of hatred towards them that Hitler was able to channel just 20 yea ...more
David Longo
Mar 15, 2015 David Longo rated it it was amazing
A great read! Very detailed and informative. Author Joseph Persico does an especially great job exploring life in the trenches in the Great War, as well as all those sad and needless casualties within the final moments of this god awful conflict. Highly recommended.
Jul 25, 2015 Nadjma rated it really liked it
This is such a well-documented book, offering not only to give an insight on what on the 11th November, but also throughout the 4 gruesome years of the war. If there's one thing I could reproach it, it'd just be Persico's overlook of other nation's role in this war. He focuses mainly on Germany, England. France and the US. We're given a brief overview of Russia, Serbia, Austria and Turkey's respective roles in the war. India was then under the British colony, which meant that 1/6 of the British ...more
Jan 24, 2015 Fred rated it really liked it
Shelves: world-war-1
This is much more than a book about the last day of the war. It is actually a very satisfying summary of much of the major aspects of the war that led to the senseless slaughter of that last day. Most people on the Western Front -- certainly most of the officers -- knew when the sun rose on Nov 11 that the war would end at 11 am. This meant that they just had to stay alive for five or six more hours. The senior officers also knew that the Germans were going to have to pull back out of occupied l ...more
Todd Stockslager
Jun 09, 2015 Todd Stockslager rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
Somewhat fraudulent title is a tease to set up what is basically a good broad-brush general history of the war framed around selected trench soldiers and their leaders on the fatal and fateful last day of the war.

It is a sad tale to tell: thousands of men died that last day (more than died on Normandy's D-Day beaches in the next Great War), including hundreds who died after the armistice had been signed and announced at 6:00 am that day!

Throughout, the focus is on personal stories of soldiers in
Mar 16, 2014 Mitchell rated it really liked it
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
Oct 01, 2009 Jason Reeser rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Apr 20, 2015 Lois rated it liked it
After awhile, the utter destruction, carnage, and stupidity just mounted up. Which is, of course, the author's intent! I always felt I just didn't know much about 'the one between' the Civil War and WWII. So I have paid my dues. A veddy British approach, using 'subaltern' to describe many troops, 'doughboys' for the Americans, Tommy for the Brits, etc. etc.
Jun 30, 2014 Tomi rated it really liked it
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.
spike marlin
Jun 16, 2015 spike marlin rated it really liked it
I thought this book started strong by talking about the global experience if the war. But as soon as the Americans entered the war the author forgot about all the other countries that were fighting. While the US troops certainly had an impact, the US did not win the war. A week ending to a good book.
Richard E Chamberlin
Jan 30, 2010 Richard E Chamberlin rated it it was amazing
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
Jun 29, 2015 Cindy added it
A good read. I've tried to read other books on WW1, but they have not kept my attention. This author balanced telling a military story and following the lives of individual combatants. The combination gave the book a balance and I found it kept me engaged.
Katie Lynn
Apr 07, 2016 Katie Lynn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow. I feel as though I learned a lot about WWI and the writing seemed unbiased. Perhaps that is just my ignorance showing, but only more reading could tell. This really was a stellar read! I would recommend it.
Sep 11, 2011 Rashmi rated it did not like it  ·  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
Sep 09, 2015 Kevin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Well written - very disturbing given the total disregard for the lives of soldiers. But a great book.
Scott Potter
Jun 16, 2015 Scott Potter rated it it was amazing
I believe Persico took a very complicated conflict and put it in a very interesting and easy to read story.
Aug 19, 2015 Ryan rated it it was amazing
The best work ever written about The Great War! I would have given it ten stars if I could!
Chris O'Brien
Sep 04, 2013 Chris O'Brien rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2013
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
Aug 20, 2013 Bobby rated it liked it
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
Jul 24, 2011 Kimbeattie rated it really liked it
Shelves: audio, history
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 it was ok
Shelves: history
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 25, 2011 Steve rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
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
Aug 05, 2012 Fredrick Danysh rated it really liked it
Shelves: history
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.
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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...

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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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