Academic journal article Military Review

Facing Armageddon: The First World War Experienced

Academic journal article Military Review

Facing Armageddon: The First World War Experienced

Article excerpt

FACING ARMAGEDDON: The First World War Experienced, edited by Hugh Cecil and Peter H. Liddle. 936 pages. Pen & Sword Books Ltd., South Yorkshire, England. 1996. $65.00 Cloth. $35.00 Paper.

So many books have been written on World War I that it might seem one more is one too many. There are shelves of books on Western Front combat, the quality of the war's generals and the causes of the war, as well as countless studies of the war's uselessness or utility. World War I may seem to be academically saturated, with each book rechurning ground as wom as the war's battlefields. However, Hugh Cecil and Peter Liddle's Facing Armageddon strikingly demonstrates there is still much to learn.

Cecil and Liddle combine essays by 64 scholars from 10 nations to cover a stunning array of subjects of value to students, academics and professional soldiers who want to better understand the Great War. The issues covered deserve a return to the forefront of World War I analyses. For example, J.C. Dunn's classic The War the Infantry Knew and Ernst Junger's works provide the contrasting views of a medical officer and a warrior extraordinaire. The two men and their works deserve the fine treatment they receive in Facing Armageddon.

The book provides excellent coverage of naval, air and joint issues. Geoffrey Till's essay on the British army and navy at the Dardanelles is especially effective. In a war too often described and perceived in terms of masses of soldiers and faceless pilots and sailors, these essays constantly remind the reader that World War I, and by extension every war, was fought by individuals with unique reactions to the conflict. This extends to soldiers who wore stars. …

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