A GREAT WAR BOOK LIST


At the end of this listing there is a section about booksellers, click here to go there now.


For the sake of convenience, books on the Great War can be divided into several broad groups:

  1. Causes of the War, strategic concepts, and political histories
  2. Accounts of campaigns, battles, and smaller scale engagements.
  3. Biographies, narratives, personal accounts, unit histories (from companies up to divisions).
  4. The War at Sea
  5. Guides
  6. Fiction
  7. Miscellaneous
  8. Ireland and the Great War

1. CAUSES of the WAR ....

One of the best all-round history's is, History of the First World War by Basil Liddell Hart. First published in 1930 as The Real War , 1914-1918 by Faber & Faber, it is still available in paperback - my own copy was produced by Pan Books in 1972.

For an excellent description of the War's opening battles, and the events which lead up to them, Barbara Tuchman's, The Guns of August can hardly be bettered. It is published (in paperback) by Ballantine Books

Another interesting book is, Realities of War by Philip Gibbs. Sir Philip Gibbs - an Establishment figure - was a reporter for the Daily Telegraph during the War and his newspaper reports printed then are bland, dull, and follow the official line. Realities of War was written after the War, and many of his comments are very astringent, especially when analysing its conduct by British Generals.

The Great War (in three volumes) by Winston S. Churchill; and War Memoirs (in two volumes) by David Lloyd George are absorbing histories to read. Both works were very popular and were published in many editions by a variety of publishers. Nowadays, they may still be found for sale in second-hand bookshops

2. ACCOUNTS ....

Here are samples of a few of the better known ones.

In Flanders' Fields by Leon Wolff, paperback published by Penguin. Story of Third Ypres (Passchendaele) fought in 1917.

Damn the Dardanelles! by John Laffin. Published by Alan Sutton.

First Day of the Somme by Martin Middlebrook, paperback published by Penguin. A first-class account of this Battle which took place in 1916.

The Hell They Called High Wood by Terry Norman. High Wood held a commanding position overlooking part of the Somme battlefield. The protracted fighting for its capture is a microcosm of trench warfare dominated by artillery, and machine-guns.

The Somme by J. Farrar-Hockley and published by Severn House.

Vimy by Pierre Berton, paperback published by Penguin in about 1989 or 1990. This is the story of how the Canadians captured Vimy Ridge in April 1917

3.BIOGRAPHIES etc ...

The numbers of these is huge. But they can be split into several types.

On the Generals

I am sure that books on Haig account for a very large proportion of these. Those who have written on him can generally be divided into two (often fiercely) opposing groups - the apologists, and the detractors. Of the former those written by John Terraine, past President of the Western Front Association, show Haig's better Generalship qualities. (One book by Terraine which comes to mind is, To Win a War - 1918, Year of Victory which is published by Papermac). Another similar book is, British Generalship in the 20th Century by E K G Sixsmith published by Arms & Armour

Within the last few years "new" evidence has been uncovered about Haig's wartime command. It has mostly come from Australian, and Canadian archives which are now being opened to the public. Consequently, enthusiastic authors from those countries have written more recent books on Haig (and other Generals) using these sources. Their assessments are not always flattering.

A selection is:

British Butchers & Bunglers of World War 1 by John Laffin, published by Alan Sutton

The Donkeys by Alan Clarke, published by Hutchinson

Douglas Haig, 1851-1928 by Gerard De Groot, published by Unwin Hyman

Foch: Man of Orleans (in two volumes) by Basil Liddell Hart, published by Penguin

Haig's Command by Denis Winter, published by Viking

The Killing Ground by Tim Travers, published by Allen & Unwin

General Sir Arthur Currie by A M J Hyatt, published by University of Toronto Press.

On the Psychology of Military Incompetence by Norman F. Dixon, published by Jonathan Cape

Smith-Dorrien by C. Ballard. Published by Constable

The Sword Bearers by Corelli Barnett. Published by Eyre & Spottiswood

Interesting light is shown on German High Command in these three books:

The Kaiser and His Court by Admiral Georg Müller, published by MacDonald

The Kaiser and His Court by John C G Röhl, published by Cambridge University Press

The German High Command at War - Hindenburg and Ludendorff and the First World War by Robert B. Asprey. Published by Warner Books in 1991)

Personal Recollections

The Burgoyne Diaries by G A Burgoyne, published by Harmsworth

Cannon Fodder by Stuart A. Dolden, published by Blandford

Ebb and Flow of Battle by P J Campbell, published by Hamish Hamilton

Four Years on the Western Front by Aubrey Smith, published by The London Stamp Exchange

A French Soldier's War Diary by H. Desagneaux, published by Elmfield Press

Her Privates We by Fred Manning, published by Peter Davies

In the Cannon's Mouth by P J Campbell, published by Hamish Hamilton

Memoirs of an Infantry Officer by S. Sassoon, published by Faber & Faber

The Middle Parts of Fortune by Fred Manning, published by Peter Davies
- Note: the above book is the unexpurgated edition of "Her Privates We"

Old Soldiers Never Die by Frank Richards, published by Faber & Faber

A Passionate Prodigality by Guy Chapman, published by McGibbon & Kee

Patriot's Progress by Henry Williamson, published by Geoffrey Bles

Some Desperate Glory by Edwin C. Vaughan, published by Warne

Stand To! - A Diary of the Trenches by F C Hitchcock. Published by Gliddon Books.

The Storm of Steel by Ernst Jünger, published by Constable

Twelve Days - The Somme November 1916 by Sidney Rogerson. Published by Gliddon Books.

Under Fire by Henri Barbusse, published by Everyman

Undertones of War by Edmund Blunden, published by Penguin

The War the Infantry Knew by J C Dunn, published by Cardinal

Verdun by Jules Romains

4. THE WAR AT SEA ....

Dreadnought by Robert K Massie. published by Jonathan Cape

The Rules of the Game. Jutland & British Naval Command by Andrew Gordon. Published by John Murray

5. GUIDES....

There is a large number of these: but by far the best is Before Endeavours Fade by Rose Coombs, published by After the Battle.

Three worthy books of photographs are by the late John Giles (founder of the WFA) and published by After the Battle. They are entitled: Flanders, Then and Now ; The Somme, Then and Now , and The Western Front, Then and Now .

The publishers, Pen & Sword have produced a number of pocket-sized guides to the Western Front in their "Battleground EUROPE" series. Titles include: Serre, Sanctuary Wood & Hooge, Beaumont Hamel, and Thiepval.

6. FICTION....

All Quiet on the Western Front by E M Remarque, published by Putnam (and a host of others as well)

All Our Yesterdays by H M Tomlinson, published by Heinemann

Corporal Jack by Marjorie Quarton, published by Fontana
- (The sentimental story of a faithful dog; however, a surprisingly enjoyable tale and historically accurate)

The Spanish Farm Trilogy by R H Mottram, published by New Phoenix (and others)

Poetry....

One of the best collections is Up the Line to Death compiled by Brian Gardner and published by Methuen.

7.MISCELLANEOUS....

For the Sake of Example by A. Babington. (Courts' martial in the Great War)

The Thin Yellow Line by William Moore and published by Leo Cooper. (Courts' martial from Wellington to WW2)

War Against War by Ernst Friedrich and published by Journeyman. (Collection of uncompromising Great War photographs)

8. IRELAND & THE GREAT WAR

The Burgoyne Diaries edited by his daughter, Claudia Davison, and published by Thomas Harmsworth in 1985.

The Catholic Irish soldiers in the First World War: the 'racial environment' by Terence Denman. This is a reprint of an article from Irish Historical Studies , Vol. XXVII No. 108, November 1991

History of the Ulster Division by Cyril Falls. This was originally published in 1922 by McCaw, Stevenson & Orr, but has been and republished in 1991 by the Somme Association.

Ireland's Unknown Soldiers - The 16th (Irish) Division in the Great War by Terence Denman and published in 1992 by Irish Academic Press.

Orange, Green, and Khaki - The Story of the Irish Regiments in the Great War, 1914-18 by Tom Johnstone and published in Ireland in 1992 by Gill and Macmillan.

The Road to the Somme by Philip Orr and published by the Blackstaff Press in 1987.

The Terrors by Stuart White. Published by The Somme association. (History of a pioneer battalion of the Royal Irish Rifles during the Great War)

Three Cheers for the Derrys! A History of the 10th Inniskilling Fusiliers in the 1914-1918 War by Gardiner Mitchell and published by Yes! Publications, 32 Shipquay Street, Derry in 1991


BOOKSELLERS

If they are not currently in print, many of the above books come out from time-to-time as reprint editions. Additionally, a large number of them are the well-known and should be obtainable through a good public library. It is sometimes a rewarding experience to hunt through the dustier shelves in second-hand bookshops.

Nowadays there are in the United Kingdom a number of specialist new and second-hand bookshops which sell books on the Great War. There is an excellent list containing the names and addresses of 44 antiquarian booksellers who specialize in "Military History on Land, Sea and in the Air". It is called the BLUE LIST, and is obtainable from:

Derek Hayles Military Books
35 St. Marks Road
Maidenhead
BERKSHIRE SL6 6DL
England
Tel: 01628 39535
Fax: 01628 788377

Or, by e-mail at:

Derek Hayles Military Books

Or, Click here to go to Web site

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Alternatively, readers may wish to contact the following booksellers directly:.

Denis McDonnell
653 Park Street
Honesdale
Pennsylvania 18431,
U.S.A.
Tel: 717 253-6706
Fax: 717 253-6786
e-mail: dmd@ptd.net
Click to go to Web site
Steve Tilston
Military and Maritime Books
37 Bennett Park
Blackheath
London
ENGLAND SE3 9RA
Tel and Fax: +44 (0)181 318 9181
e-mail: tilston@ibm.net
Click to go to Web site
Pen & Sword Books
47 Church Street
Barnsley
South Yorkshire
ENGLAND S70 2BR
Tel: 01226 734222
Fax: 01226 734438

Ray Westlake - Military Books
53 Claremont
Malpas
Newport
Gwent
UNITED KINGDOM NP9 6PL
Tel: 01633 854135
Fax: 01633 821860

A list of booksellers, especially of Second World War books but including those of the Great war as well, may be found at: http://www.sonic.net/~bstone/bookdeal.html


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