This challenging and controversial analysis of the war on the Western Front from 1914 to 1918 reveals how and why the Germans consistently defeated the French and the British with one-half to one-third fewer casualties than the Allies, and how American troops in 1918 saved the Allies from defeat and a negotiated peace with the Germans.
Based on a decade of research into previously unused French and German sources, The Myth of the Great War shows what actually happened at the front as the participants perceived it at the time, as opposed to what French and British commanders and governments claimed. John Mosier, who visited all the major battlefields, describes and analyzes campaigns that are routinely neglected or ignored and shows why conventional accounts of such major battles as Verdun are incorrect. He explains how German tactics, weapons, training, and leadership were consistently superior, and why the endless, ineffective attacks of the French and British with inferior weapons and battle tactics of the previous century resulted in mindless slaughter and defeat. Mosier also discusses the major military leaders on both sides ' including Joffre, Petain, Foch, Gallieni, French, Haig, Wilson, Moltke, Ludendorff, Falkenhayn, Mudra, and Pershing.
The French and British military controlled, suppressed, and manipulated all battlefield reports. German losses were magnified; failures became successes, defeats victories. Allied intelligence was grossly inaccurate and inadequate, and the result was a distorted picture of what was really happening. Absorbing and persuasive, The Myth of the Great War is a striking new assessment of the military realities of World War I.
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John Mosier is the author of The Myth of the Great War. He is full professor of English at Loyola University in New Orleans, where, as chair of the English Department and associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, he taught primarily European literature and film. His background as a military historian dates from his role in developing an interdisciplinary curriculum for the study of the two world wars, a program funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities. From 1989 to 1992 he edited the New Orleans Review. He lives in Jefferson, Louisiana.From Publishers Weekly:
In reading and analyzing the great body of tactical and operational literature published by French soldiers and academicians in the interwar period, Loyola English professor and film critic Mosier, who is fluent in French, brings to light a perspective generally neglected by historians who prefer to tell the war's story from a German or British view. For most of WWI, Mosier reminds us, it was the French who held most of the front and did most of the dying. In contrast to the German army's systematic success at technical and tactical innovation, Mosier finds that French and British generals "solved" battlefield problems by throwing shells and bodies at them, then concealing the gruesome results from their governments and their people. Allied victory, he argues, depended on an American Expeditionary Force whose commander, Gen. John J. Pershing, saw through the pretensions of his counterparts in command, and insisted on fighting the war in his own way. While Mosier's argument is eloquently presented, scholars of the period will find it consistently spoiled by overstatement; the German army of WWI as described by most historians is nothing like the tempered and perfected instrument described in these pages, and Mosier's notion of Verdun as a German victory was not likely to be found in the ranks or the headquarters of the divisions who fought there. Still, this is the best narrative account in English of the Franco-German combat in central and in southern France from the aftermath of the Marne in 1914 to the end of Verdun in 1916. Buffs and scholars will take note, but the detailed maps, charts and technical focus will put off generalists.
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