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Victory at Villers-Bretonneux

4.28  ·  Rating details ·  167 ratings  ·  19 reviews
It's early 1918, and after four brutal years, the fate of the Great War hangs in the balance.

On the one hand, the fact that Vladimir Lenin and the Bolsheviks have seized power in Russia - immediately suing for peace with Germany - means that no fewer than one million of the Kaiser's soldiers can now be transferred from there to the Western Front.

On the other, now that Amer
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Hardcover, 764 pages
Published November 1st 2016 by William Heinemann
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4.28  · 
Rating details
 ·  167 ratings  ·  19 reviews


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Rex Brampton
Jun 16, 2018 rated it did not like it
This book is a disgrace. To save anyone the bother of reading it can be summed up in one sentence on page 301, “The ultimate aim is…to go from reeling backwards (as the British have been doing) to going forwards (as the Australians do) and, ideally getting right among the Squareheads with the bayonets.” And that sums up the style of the book and the premise which is basically that the British were cowardly and disorganised and always retreated and the Australians had to win the war singlehandedl ...more
Rebecca Doyle
Apr 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A powerful story, depicting the human face of the war, the brutality, the conditions and the on-going spirit. At times, perhaps a bit one-sided, clearly appealing to the Australian audience. However you will lose yourself in the personal stories and feel a strong attachment to the many, many people involved.
A book that packs a punch with detailed dialogues and descriptors of bloody bayonet battles. You will walk away with a strong sense of what this awful period in our history was like and the
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Ben Rowles
Aug 27, 2018 rated it it was ok
Really Peter... stop the relentless bravado talk of the Australian diggers... it’s sickening. ( from an Aussie! )
Peter Moy
Apr 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book is a good read about a significant WWI battle. You will particularly enjoy it if you are an Australian.

While the history of WWI remains dogged with conflicting views on the events that occurred 100 years ago, there is no doubt that the Australian counter attack at the Villers-Bretonneux was a significant event. My grandfather, a WWI veteran, with whom I was very close, spoke about it as the most brutal battle he experienced. (Hand to hand bayonet fighting in the middle of the night.) I
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Simon
Feb 10, 2018 rated it it was ok
An almost cartoonish semi-fictionalised pseudo history of an important battle in the last year of the war. Australians are all heroes whereas the British are incompetent cowards, the French no better and the Germans square head brutes. Bigoted, xenophobic and not worth your time.
Phil Jeffery
Oct 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What an excellent read. FitzSimon's writing style keeps me coming back for more, but this book is his best yet. I'm a big fan of military history, but like FitzSimon's points out, like many Aussies I was only dimly aware of the momentous events that occurred around the town of Villers-Bretonneaux (VB) and the significance they had on the outcome of the first world war. In particular the role played by the AIF played in essentially stopping the Germans capturing Amien - the key rail junction and ...more
Walter VDE
Facts are facts, you can't get around them. And in that view it's a good book. What I did miss in this book, compared with other FitzSimons books, was his personal input. In the other books of his, he added more his interpretation of how the soldiers would feel, or what they might have said, which made the characters more life like. I missed this in this book, and it turned out more as a fact book, like a lot of other history books. Nothing wrong with that but not what I expect in a FitzSimons b ...more
Anthony F Irving
May 14, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
ANOTHER EXCELLENT BOOK

This is another excellent book by Peter FitzSimons. The research which has gone into the book gives one a clear picture into the heroics of the Australian forces in France. It also clearly shows the incompetence of and arogance of the British. One connot help but be very angry at the British military and politicians of the time and subsequent years who have never righted the wrongs done to our Aussie soldiers not only in France but at Gallipoli.
Peter Langston
May 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
This was a last chance for me with Fitzsimons, his more recent outings being bloated and the research being over indulged. They were volumes that needed severe editing.
Not so this. This is a more discerning work, never forgetting to advance the narrative in spite of the wealth of knowledge waiting for a happy home. It did, in much the Sam way that others did not.
The battle scenes were moving, portraying as they did events that gave birth to a nation.
Stephanie Betsarkis
Oct 29, 2018 rated it liked it
Not really into patriotism or how we Australians continue to glorify this conflict, but still a great read. The use of the terms huns, gerry, and fritz was a bit off putting, and yet Fitzsimmons refers to the Germans as brave often enough that it kinda balanced it out. Loved all the stuff about the Red Baron.
Vaughan
Sep 10, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, non-fiction
Another wartime book by polarising author Peter FitzSimons. He's not my cup of tea, but his books are superlative. This is the story of the taking and defence of the small French town of Villers-Bretonneux by the Allies in World War I, a force made up of mostly Australian soldiers. A cracking read of the amazing bravery of the soldiers and the sheer futility of the total war that WWI brought.
Jonathan
May 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
well researched and written history of two battles of the first world war,worth reading.
Michael Murphy
Mar 25, 2018 rated it liked it
An excellent book, detailing an extrodinary part of Australias military history and the link that remains between the two countries until present day.
Jeannie
Jun 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
An absolutely brilliant book which should be compulsory reading for all Australians.
Jonno
Jan 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: war
Once again, a thoroughly engaging and fascinating read of the exploits of the brave ANZAC's of the First World War.
Impossible to put down. Great work Sir
Simon Storey
May 02, 2018 rated it liked it
This is my fourth Peter Fitzsimons book and each time I reach the end I wonder why I go back.

Decent at a narrative style of history but with Fitzsimons’ annoying prose.
Malcolm
Dec 27, 2016 rated it it was ok
Some interesting material spoiled by a parochial narrative that too often verges on the cringe-worthy. Most of the photos, although poignant, are found on common internet sites such as Wikipedia.
T. Stranger
Jan 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Another wonderful chapter in Australian history. If it was not for Fitzsimons, I'd have stayed ignorant about how important Australian troops were in WW1. It's a wonder these events are often left untold in our classrooms.

I particularly loved the Red Baron legend, and the summation of the Australian and French relationship.

Again, highly recommended.
Chris
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Peter FitzSimons is one of Australia’s most prominent and successful media and publishing identities. His busy professional life involves co-hosting the breakfast program on Sydney's Radio 2UE, writing weekly columns for the Sydney Morning Herald and Sun Herald newspapers, appearing on Foxtel's Back Page television show and, when time permits, authoring best-selling books. A correspondent for Lond ...more