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1915, the Death of Innocence

4.14 of 5 stars 4.14  ·  rating details  ·  199 ratings  ·  12 reviews
By the end of 1914, the battered British forces were bogged down, yet hopeful that promised reinforcements and spring weather would soon lead to a victorious breakthrough. A year later, after appalling losses at Aubers Ridge, Loos, Neuve Chapelle, Ypres and faraway Gallipoli, fighting seemed set to go on for ever. Drawing on extensive interviews, letters and diaries, this ...more
Hardcover, 625 pages
Published December 31st 1995 by Henry Holt & Company (first published October 28th 1993)
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Al
MacDonald wrote a very good narrative of a year in the Great War. She covered the action on the Western front, as well as the action at Gallipoli, making the case for “The Death of Innocence.” Her descriptions of the first German gas attacks in 1915 had a significant sense of immediacy and horror. MacDonald achieved this through her extensive use of personal interviews and the use of written first person accounts; she quotes these veterans extensively throughout the narrative. I found her descri ...more
Joe
An eminently readable review of the Great War in 1915. Macdonald does very good research ... going very deep into the major events of 1915. She covers not only the battles (with excellent maps), but also the preparation and aftermath. I particularly like her style of including quotes from participating individuals about the events she is covering. Not just from the officer corp , but also private soldiers, loved one's at home and civilians in the field.

However, it only covers the British effort
...more
Mac McCormick III
As its title suggests, 1915: The Death of Innocence by Lyn MacDonald is a book that is focused on the second calendar year of World War I. It is not however, an overall look at WW1 in 1915, it is more narrowly focused on the British in 1915. It doesn't really go into detail on the French, German, Russian, Italian, or Turkish parts in the war except as allies and opponents. Neither does it go into detail on battles in which the British didn't participate in. What 1915 does do is explore how the a ...more
Greg
These are just great, great books. McDonald does a great job relating the events of the war from the soldiers' perspectives, but without losing the overall situation. The more you know about World War I the better, but you don't have to be an expert to get a lot out of this book.

McDonald covers the main events and battles primarily with recollections, interviews, and letters from soldiers and officers. She gives just enough background to know what's going on without boring you, and anecdotes ne
...more
John
For most Brits the First World War is Mons, First Ypres, Gallipoli, the Somme, and Passchendaele. The Western Front in 1915 is skipped over but the battles of Neuve Chappelle, Second Ypres, Aubers Ridge, Festubert, and Loos, where Territorial and New Army troops went into action for the first time, were once as well known here as were the others.

My great grandfather was at most of these battles. My mum recalls him being "a miserable sod" but reading what he went through you can see why. There w
...more
Rob Roy
Apr 06, 2012 Rob Roy rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: History and Military buffs
Shelves: history
The "Great War" is often overshadowed by World War II. This book covers the British campaigns of 1915, and their slow discovery of the horror that trench warfare was. The premise, is that at the beginning of 1915, there was optimism. At the end, the realization that there was a long and bloody road ahead. The author does not dwell on the generals strategy, but more on the lives of the individual soldiers and the war from their perspective. Particularly chilling was in one battle that an attack b ...more
Chris
This is a brilliant piece of history. Lyn has used the words of those who were actually involved in these conflicts to tell the story, with the lightest facilitation by her. She is a skilled historian.
Chris
A mostly narrative account of the British experience of 1915 in WW1. It covers the home front and the army both, with a lot of narrative first person accounts that follow the same individuals through a lot of the grind of 1915. The basic picture is that 1915 is the year when everyone realized the war could not be short or sweet, and that society and government both would have to change and throw away many traditions to deal with the reality of twentieth century warfare.

It was good enough for wh
...more
Alice
I bought a stack of Lyn Macdonald's books in a charity shop, and I'm impressed over and over again by the way she interlaces firsthand accounts with a summary of what was happening in the war to give an overview that's historical yet personal. In this look at the first full year of the war, we visit the heroes and villains of the Western Front, the Home Front and Gallipoli.
Mike
Lyn Mcdonald is one of my favourite WWI historians...not much more to say. Great book, even for people not as interested in history/WWI.
Patrick O'Grady
Good book, but way too focused on the Brits.
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Over the past twenty years Lyn Macdonald has established a popular reputation as an author and historian of the First World War. Her books are They Called It Passchendaele, an account of the Passchendaele campaign in 1917; The Roses of No Man's Land,, a chronicle of the war from the neglected viewpoint of the casualties and the medical teams who struggled to save them; ,Somme, a history of the leg ...more
More about Lyn Macdonald...
Somme They Called It Passchendaele 1914: The Days of Hope The Roses of No Man's Land To the Last Man: Spring 1918

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