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1918: The Last Act
by Barrie Pitt
By 1918, Europe was weary of the stalemate and the terrible slaughter on the Western Front. The Russian Front had collapsed but the United States had abandoned her neutral stance and joined the Allies. So the stage was set for what would be the last year of the Great War.
Paperback, 318 pages
Published July 1st 2003 by Pen & Sword Books
(first published January 1st 1964)
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Oct 28, 2013 Jill Hutchinson rated it really liked it
I love to read about WWI and the various takes that authors have on exactly what happened during that horrible carnage. In almost any history of the Great War, the reason that the war suddenly ends in 1918 even though the Germans were still winning battles is explained as one of three: 1)poor German military leadership; 2) troop morale; or 3) the addition of the Americans to the fighting forces. The author takes the high road and blames all three situations which is probably nearer the truth. ...more
This book begins in 1914, When the Germans attacked France for attacking their alli, which attacked Frances alli for attacking them. This is very confusing, but yet this is how war usually starts. Anyways though I thought this book very accurately described World War 1 for being written in the 1960's. I thought the description of every day that passed was detailed in some sort of way that made it unique instead of just saying "They were in trenches, British attacked Germany counter attacked and ...more
The most cataclysmic year of the Great War, splendidly rendered. Looks the devil in the eye. Sentences crafted into a sardonic entrainment of event and causality. Seriously analytical: battle sequences are clad in the armor of tactical study. Ethically biased against the sacrificial mindset of combatant commands; partisan toward the lot of the common soldier. Alternating views from either side of the trenches bring clarity to mayhem. Often heartbreaking but at odd moments, thrilling; e.g., ...more
This is a classic history of the last year of World War I. Factually it is spot on. Pitt traces the combat accurately and clearly. I did, however, find the book to be plodding. Perhaps that was the nature of the first world war (see my review of Greenwood's Second Battle of the Marne). But there are few personal stories and the story is repetitive. Haig and Foch fought with each other, Haig and Lloyd George hated each other. The Americans were pouring into France and would eventually turn the ...more
It was written in 1963, so the perspective is antiquated. They refer to WWI as "in our time," but they do a good job of portraying WWI as being fought in the Napoleonic style until the final German offensive, which introduced the new German tactics adopted in WWII.