On the outbreak of war in 1914, the armies of the Western Front soon became bogged down in the mud of Flanders and it is these events that many people associate most strongly with the First World War - but its origins and the strategy which governed all but its closing months lay in the East.
In the wide planes and the forests of Eastern Europe three great Empires - Russia, Germany, and Austria-Hungary grappled in a series of titanic but little-known battles involving millions of men and hundreds of miles of front. It was the Germans, with their excellent equipment and intelligent leadership who dominated the battlefield, even when outnumbered. The Russian and Hapsburg armies moved across a truly Napoleonic canvas with huge masses of cavalry, infantry and baggage.
For three years the fighting swung indeterminately back and forth and the book describes in clear terms the campaigns which provoked the downfall of the three empires and left the world changed forever.
Alan Clark, educated at Eton and Oxford, read for the Bar but did not practise. He was the Tory MP for Plymouth Sutton (1972-1992) and for Kensington and Chelsea (1997-1999). He held various junior ministerial appointments in the Margaret Thatcher and John Major governments. He kept a regular diary, which was published in three volumes as IN POWER 1983-1992, INTO POLITICS 1972-1982 and THE LAST DIARIES 1993-1999. They were adapted for television by the BBC and shown in 2004. Clark died in 1999 of a brain tumour.