Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Road to Verdun: World War I's Most Momentous Battle and the Folly of Nationalism” as Want to Read:
The Road to Verdun: World War I's Most Momentous Battle and the Folly of Nationalism
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating

The Road to Verdun: World War I's Most Momentous Battle and the Folly of Nationalism

3.77 of 5 stars 3.77  ·  rating details  ·  77 ratings  ·  8 reviews
On February 21, 1916, the Germans launched a surprise offensive at Verdun, an important fortress in northeastern France, sparking a brutal and protracted conflict that would claim more than 700,000 victims. The carnage had little impact on the course of the war, and Verdun ultimately came to symbolize the absurdity and horror of trench warfare.

Ian Ousby offers a radical re
Paperback, 432 pages
Published June 10th 2003 by Anchor (first published June 18th 2002)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Road to Verdun, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Road to Verdun

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 136)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Ousby’s book is less a conventional military history of the battle of Verdun than a study in the sociology of the war, and has a greater emphasis on questions of “why.” Ousby’s main goal is to explain how the historical events and the rise of nationalism made the battle possible, which is both interesting and at times seemingly irrelevant: if you want to read a history of the battle of Verdun that includes Julius Caesar, the Gauls, the Franks, Louis XIV, Louis XVI, Napoleon Bonaparte, and Napole ...more
Dave Hoff
A hard read about a battle fought in trenches for years costing thousands of lives, it was finally won by the Americans 3 days before the Armistice. My interest was because my dad, an ambulance driver in the U.S. Army was attached to the French Army div. "Cock of Verdun" wearing a red rooster on his shoulder. He arrived at the battlefield after the Armistice was signed.
liked it, at first didn't like that the middle chapter moved away from the battle but after going over my notes and reading the prologue i came to appreciate it...imo don't read this without some knowledge of ww1 and verdun...i admittedly didn't know much about verdun going in which might have impacted my initial reaction...while a lot of great ideas are looked at, part of me wishes the author would've just spent time on "one theme" and explored it...i do like that i got some good sources for th ...more
Kristi Thielen
Densely written but excellent book about one of the most horrific battles of all times: the historical underpinnings, why it was fought, how officers and men prepared to fight it, what they experienced as opposed to what they expected to experience and most important of all, what it came to mean in the national mythology of the French and German people.

That the battle of Verdun - that the Great War - led to loss of life that is staggering, isn't a revelation to anyone who has read about World W
Robert Allen
There is a lot of good information but just not much about the battle of Verdun. The author does a good job at presenting quotes and references that describe the horor of the battle and the effects on the men. He also provides a good insight into how the men came to distrust the upper leadership and politicians. Most of the time the book just swings from as early as the Roman times past WWII. I'm still trying to figure out what Napoleon I, Napoleon III, Louis XIV and Louis XVI had to do with Ver ...more
Mikey B.
A very good book

...on the First World War - among the best that I have read.

It does a very good job of connecting past (1870), present (1916) and future. The emotional side of war in the trenches is well brought out by diary excerpts. The leaders as well as the 'Poilu' are described. The impact of the war of 1870 is explained - Verdun is near Metz which at the time was territory occupied by Germany. European antagonisms are well brought out. The historical flow of France and Germany are well d
Oliver Kim
Deeper and more illuminating than a simple battlefield account, this is an excellent and incisive analysis of the powerful force that is nationalism - and its dangers, exemplified by the Battle of Verdun. The novel does have a few quirks, though: its sole focus is the French (the German perspective is hardly considered), and the mid-volume analysis of the post-1870 French national psyche may have fit better at the start of the novel.
Nationalism, WWI, and mass slaughter demonstrated, and pretty aptly explained.
Megan marked it as to-read
Apr 03, 2015
Samanta Bićanić
Samanta Bićanić marked it as to-read
Mar 17, 2015
Mark marked it as to-read
Jan 28, 2015
Bill added it
Oct 03, 2014
Rima marked it as to-read
Jul 19, 2014
Jim marked it as to-read
Jul 12, 2014
Mary-Michelle Moore
Mary-Michelle Moore marked it as to-read
Jun 16, 2014
« previous 1 3 4 5 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
I an Ousby's life began - and ended - in tragedy. The birth was tragic, or at least bleak, because his army officer father had been stabbed to death in the India of 1947, independence year, while his mother was pregnant with him. The death was tragic, or at least deeply sad, because his industry, insight, versatility, critical and literary skills, which had created a considerable reputation for hi ...more
More about Ian Ousby...
Occupation Wordsworth Companion to Literature in English The Cambridge Guide to Literature in English Guilty Parties: A Mystery Lover's Companion, 195 Illustrations, 31 in Color The Crime and Mystery Book: A Reader's Companion

Share This Book