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  • Abacus
  • Little, Brown

Attrition: Fighting the First World War

William Philpott

3 Reviews

Rated 0

Prose: non-fiction, History

The magnum opus of the First World War, from the outstanding historian at the King's College Department of War Studies.

The First World War was too big to be grasped by its participants. In the retelling of their war in the competing memories of leaders and commanders, and the anguished fiction of its combatants, any sense of order and purpose, effort and achievement, was missing.

Drawing on the experience of front line soldiers, munitions workers, politicians and those managing the vast economy of industrialised warfare, ATTRITION explains for the first time why and how this new type of conflict born out of industrial society was fought as it was. It was the first mass war in which the resources of the fully-mobilised societies strained every sinew in a conflict over ideals - and the humblest and highest were all caught up in the national enterprise.

In a stunning narrative, this brilliant and necessary reassessment of the whole war cuts behind the myth-making to reveal the determination, organization and ambition on all sides.

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Praise for Attrition: Fighting the First World War

  • A refreshingly balanced view . . . the great strength of Philpott's book is its magisterial overview of the whole war . . . a fine contribution to our growing understanding of the conflict - Daily Telegraph

  • A highly readable account . . . a great book for those who want to look behind the propaganda - Sunday Herald

  • Required reading . . . A thoughtful and important book by a first-rate historian . . . It is a proper history of the battle, not simply an agonising account of its first day . . . He is supremely skilful in charting what he terms the battle's "shifting history and enduring memory" . . . There is something about the Somme that is imprinted onto my heart, and I am grateful that this book has helped me put it into a context that goes beyond time, place, courage and suffering

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