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Verdun: The Longest Battle of the Great War

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Verdun: The Longest Battle of the Great War Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

At seven o'clock in the morning on February 21, 1916, the ground in northern France began to shake. For the next ten hours, twelve hundred German guns showered shells on a salient in French lines. The massive weight of explosives collapsed dugouts, obliterated trenches, severed communication wires, and drove men mad. As the barrage lifted, German troops moved forward, darting from shell crater to shell crater. The battle of Verdun had begun.

In Verdun, historian Paul Jankowski provides the definitive account of the iconic battle of World War I. A leading expert on the French past, Jankowski combines the best of traditional military history-its emphasis on leaders, plans, technology, and the contingency of combat-with the newer social and cultural approach, stressing the soldier's experience, the institutional structures of the military, and the impact of war on national memory. Unusually, this book draws on deep research in French and German archives; this mastery of sources in both languages gives Verdun unprecedented authority and scope. In many ways, Jankowski writes, the battle represents a conundrum. It has an almost unique status among the battles of the Great War; and yet, he argues, it was not decisive, sparked no political changes, and was not even the bloodiest episode of the conflict. It is said that Verdun made France, he writes; but the question should be, What did France make of Verdun? Over time, it proved to be the last great victory of French arms, standing on their own. And, for France and Germany, the battle would symbolize the terror of industrialized warfare, "a technocratic Moloch devouring its children," where no advance or retreat was possible, yet national resources poured in ceaselessly, perpetuating slaughter indefinitely.

Review:

"On February 21, 1916, a million shells descended on the trenches surrounding the French city of Verdun; German troops advanced a few miles until stopped by rain, mud, and resistance. Both nations poured in reinforcements, and months of attacks and counterattacks produced massive casualties but only modest German advances. By December, French forces recovered most of the lost ground. Although France celebrates the Battle of Verdun as a great victory, historians agree it had no political impact and decided little, if anything, in the wider war. Verdun remains the epitome of senseless industrial slaughter, writes Jankowski, professor of history at Brandeis University (Shades of Indignation: Political Scandals in France), in an engrossing history that focuses less on the fighting than its political and cultural background. Most French and German people at the time believed that national survival was at stake, and while some of the suffering soldiers agreed, many dissented as well. Drawing even more heavily on archives, letters, and journals than Alistair Horne in his classic 1962 The Price of Glory, Jankowski has written a superb, definitive popular account of Verdun through the eyes of soldiers, military leaders, and citizens of the two nations." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

About the Author

Paul Jankowski is Raymond Ginger Professor of History at Brandeis University. His many books include Stavinksy: A Confidence Man in the Republic of Virtue and Shades of Indignation: Political Scandals in France, Past and Present.

Table of Contents

Introduction

I. The Three Hundred Days of Verdun

II. Verdun under German Eyes

III. Verdun under French Eyes

IV. The Offensive Trap

V. The Prestige Trap

VI. The Attritional Trap

VII. The Nightmare

VIII. Rancor

IX. Warning Signals

X. Enemies

XI. Circles of Loyalty

Epilogue

Appendix

Acknowledgments

Bibliography

Product Details

ISBN:
9780199316892
Author:
Jankowski, Paul
Publisher:
Oxford University Press, USA
Subject:
Military - World War I
Subject:
History, Other | Military History | WWI
Publication Date:
20140231
Binding:
HARDCOVER
Language:
English
Illustrations:
20 b/w
Pages:
336
Dimensions:
6.4 x 9.4 x 1.2 in 1.25 lb

Related Subjects

History and Social Science » Military » General History
History and Social Science » Military » World War I
History and Social Science » World History » France » General

Verdun: The Longest Battle of the Great War Used Hardcover
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Product details 336 pages Oxford University Press, USA - English 9780199316892 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "On February 21, 1916, a million shells descended on the trenches surrounding the French city of Verdun; German troops advanced a few miles until stopped by rain, mud, and resistance. Both nations poured in reinforcements, and months of attacks and counterattacks produced massive casualties but only modest German advances. By December, French forces recovered most of the lost ground. Although France celebrates the Battle of Verdun as a great victory, historians agree it had no political impact and decided little, if anything, in the wider war. Verdun remains the epitome of senseless industrial slaughter, writes Jankowski, professor of history at Brandeis University (Shades of Indignation: Political Scandals in France), in an engrossing history that focuses less on the fighting than its political and cultural background. Most French and German people at the time believed that national survival was at stake, and while some of the suffering soldiers agreed, many dissented as well. Drawing even more heavily on archives, letters, and journals than Alistair Horne in his classic 1962 The Price of Glory, Jankowski has written a superb, definitive popular account of Verdun through the eyes of soldiers, military leaders, and citizens of the two nations." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
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