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The Last Battle: Victory, Defeat, and the End of World War I

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4.21  ·  Rating details ·  129 ratings  ·  19 reviews
While much has been made of-and written about-the guns of August 1914, the story of the guns of August 1918 is a different matter. Yet the campaigns of the summer and fall were the climactic battles of the Great War and determined its outcome. In The Last Battle preeminent World War I historian Peter Hart offers an account of those final months and its main features: the b ...more
Hardcover, 464 pages
Published March 1st 2018 by Oxford University Press (first published February 15th 2018)
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Jerome
Apr 11, 2022 rated it really liked it
A rich and well-written work.

Hart argues that the Allies inflicted a decisive military defeat on the Germans. Like his other books on the war, Hart focuses on the human experience of mostly British soldiers, and includes lengthy firsthand excerpts. He ably covers the motives of soldiers, their uncertainty over when the war will end, and their fear of being among the last deaths of the war. The maps are good. Hart also provides a generally positive portrait of Haig. His study of how the Allies d
...more
Scott Jones
May 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wonderful book by a great historian who weaves the narrative with so many personal accounts masterfully.
Arthur
A 13 hour and ten minute unabridged audiobook.

Lots of first person accounts, but the vast majority are British and Commwealth soldiers. Some American, but practically no German voices, at least not if the lower ranks. Also entirely focused on the Western front. The other fronts in 1918 essentially ignored. Other than that I enjoyed the book.
Peter Moy

This is a book by an oral historian on the final series of battles sponsored by the Allied Command in Chief, Marshal Foch that successfully broke the back of the German army on the Western front and finally resulted in their capitulation. Because of the exhausted state of the French forces in 1918, these battles were largely fought in the British sector.

The book provides background information of the battles and commentary on the their execution. This in interspersed with quotes from the letters

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Scott Galloway
Feb 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I received an ARC of this book in return for an honest review.

The Great War has fascinated for decades, we are assailed by images of mass slaughter and the pointlessness of the war. Names like Passchendaele and the Somme are well known to all readers of Great War history. The fact that the Allies, and Britain in particular, won the war is often almost overlooked, yet the years of pain were not in vain. In the last three months of the war, the allies advanced miles into German held territory driv
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Grouchy Historian
Good account of the last few months of the war leading to the Armistice. A tad Anglo-centric, which is not unexpected, but overall a solid work that seeks to balance the numerous books on the opening of the war in 1914 with the story of 1918 and how the Allies won the new battle of maneuver long absent from the trench filled Western Front.
James Thompson
Feb 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Last Battle - Endgame on the Western Front, 1918
Author : Peter Hart
Profile Books - ISBN : 978-1781254820
Hardback - 395 pages + acknowledgements, notes and index
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

As we move towards commemorating the end of the Great War it's appropriate that the latest book from Peter Hart deals with the final 100 days of the conflict and it's a cracker.

Hart has an easy to read, fluid style and the narrative is expertly woven around
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Bill Vodra
Mar 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is both an excellent book and an important one. As with Hart's many other books, the writing is superb and enjoyable; he generously intersperses statements of the men and women who were there; and he tells you what you need to know to understand what happened and its consequences. His focus is always on the human experience and he lets the actual words of others carry important lessons and observations.

The importance of this work, however, is its focus on the final weeks of the war and the
...more
Keith W
Nov 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is an extraordinarily fine book — one of the best I’ve ever read on World War I or any other war, for that matter. It is based largely on first-hand accounts of the fighting men and officers — mostly British but also French, American and German — woven together with a spare but interesting narrative about the big picture: what battles were being fought, where and why. The words of the men who were there are extraordinary. Their letters and diary accounts are clear, well-written, thoughtful ...more
Jacob
Mar 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
EXCELLENT! Truly gives you a view of the final days of The Great War through the eyes of those who lived it.
Russel Henderson
The histories of the Great War tend to breathlessly recount the German Spring Offensives and the mix of defensive heroism and offensive exhaustion that doomed them. Often the period from late summer to Armistice is boiled down to a few paragraphs, with digressions for battles that certain observers are inclined to spotlight (the first large-scale American offensives, in particular). The outcomes are too often reduced to a numbers game and an exhausted German Homefront. Hart makes a persuasive ca ...more
Mark
May 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In his latest book, Peter Hart focuses on the last six weeks or so of the Great War, taking a broader approach than his previous work focussing in the British influence in the 1918 victories, including American, French and German perspectives. As with Hart’s previous works, the historical narrative is interspersed with the personal accounts of those who were involved in the events described. This helps to “bring the narrative to life” whilst also making the book more accessible to the lay reader ...more
Josh
Jul 13, 2021 rated it really liked it
This a really interesting book about the offensives on the Western Front in 1918. It uses memoirs, diary entries, letters home, and other primary sources to show the Allied armies comprehensively winning on the battlefield through the Hundred Days. Hart, an oral historian, relies on his sources to paint this picture, although unlike some who rely on block quotes to make up a book, he clearly connects his sources and pulls out themes, including clearly explaining the All Arms Battle tactics that ...more
Ian Hakes
Oct 26, 2018 rated it liked it
As in previous works, the transcription of the oral accounts from actual soldiers on the battlefront make this book as interesting to read as other books by Hart.

As other reviewers have mentioned, the salient points that one comes away with from this book however: Haig was a strategic and tactical genius who won the war pretty much all on his own, the British politicians were worse than useless, the other Allied nations were garbage by 1918, Australia, NZ, Canada have gotten too much credit, th
...more
Shrike58
May 16, 2022 rated it liked it
I'm inclined to agree that this book is a little too Anglocentric, as one might expect from a senior staffer at the Imperial War Museum. Still, Hart does make a good argument that, in the last great campaign of the Western Front, the breaking of the Hindenburg Line, British arms did do a disproportionate amount of the heavy lifting on the way to victory. Not the last word on the campaign, but a good first word for the general reader. David Stevenson's "With Our Backs to the Wall" remains, for me ...more
Patrick Womack
Mar 12, 2022 rated it it was amazing
This was a great book to fill in what happened at the end of the First World War! And it is done through personal accounts of the soldiers who were there, which brings it ‘home’ a bit more than reading a textbook. I’m a sucker for this time period in military history, but I think this book is VERY accessible to anyone remotely interested in the war. Enjoy!
Bernie Charbonneau
This variation of the "One Hundred Days War" was very well done with new information for any history reader to digest. This was my first time reading/listening to a Peter Hart history lesson, with Julian Effer as narrator, and will definitely investigate his other works regarding historical conflicts. ...more
Jim Blessing
Sep 12, 2018 rated it did not like it
Shelves: military
Although the first chapter was interesting, the book began to be too detailed and I lost interest.
Francis Walton
Pretty good look at the last 100 days of the war.
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Peter Hart is a British military historian.

He has been an oral historian at Sound Archive of Imperial War Museum in London since 1981.

He has written mainly on British participation in the First World War. His books include; The Somme, Jutland 1916, Bloody April on the air war in 1917, Passchendaele, Aces Falling (on the air war in 1918), 1918 A Very British Victory and Gallipoli.

Librarian Note: Th
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