"The futility of war - and the Great War in particular - has often been remarked upon, but it was carried to its logical, nonsensical conclusion on 11 November 1918. The prospect of peace appears to have left many with an unendurable sense of unfinished business, causing them to mount attacks even when war's end had been agreed. Almost 3,000 lost their lives in the last few hours before the Armistice: here their tragic story is poignantly told." - The Scotsman. Using military archives and public records, along with journals and diaries, Joseph Persico weaves together the eleventh hour experiences of the men in the trenches, unsung and unremembered, the British Tommies, French Poilus, American Doughboys and German Feldgrau. Where, for example, was the Austrian corporal, Adolf Hitler, on that day? The pointless fighting on the last day of war is the perfect metaphor for the four years of senseless slaughter that preceded it. This book is sure to become the definitive history of the end of a conflict Winston Churchill called 'the hardest, cruellest, and least-rewarded of all the wars that have been fought.'
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November 11, 1918. The final hours pulsate with tension as every man in the trenches hopes to escape the melancholy distinction of being the last to die in World War I. The Allied generals knew the fighting would end precisely at 11:00 A.M, yet in the final hours they flung men against an already beaten Germany. The result? Eleven thousand casualties suffered–more than during the D-Day invasion of Normandy. Why? Allied commanders wanted to punish the enemy to the very last moment and career officers saw a fast-fading chance for glory and promotion.
Joseph E. Persico puts the reader in the trenches with the forgotten and the famous–among the latter, Corporal Adolf Hitler, Captain Harry Truman, and Colonels Douglas MacArthur and George Patton. Mainly, he follows ordinary soldiers’ lives, illuminating their fate as the end approaches. Persico sets the last day of the war in historic context with a gripping reprise of all that led up to it, from the 1914 assassination of the Austrian archduke, Franz Ferdinand, which ignited the war, to the raw racism black doughboys endured except when ordered to advance and die in the war’s last hour. Persico recounts the war’s bloody climax in a cinematic style that evokes All Quiet on the Western Front, Grand Illusion, and Paths of Glory.
The pointless fighting on the last day of the war is the perfect metaphor for the four years that preceded it, years of senseless slaughter for hollow purposes. This book is sure to become the definitive history of the end of a conflict Winston Churchill called “the hardest, cruelest, and least-rewarded of all the wars that have been fought.”
Joseph E Persico served as a Navy lieutenant in the Korean War, and later at Southern NATO headquarters in Naples. Subsequently he joined the US Information Agency and for eleven years he was chief speech writer for the New York Governor and later US Vice President Nelson A Rockefeller. His books include My Enemy Brother: Men and the Days of Gettysburg and Piercing the Reich: The Penetration of Nazi Germany by American Secret Agents During World War II, Roosevelt's Secret War, and as co-author of US Secretary of State Colin Powell's autobiography, A Soldier's Way. His work Nuremberg: Infamy on Trial was hailed by Howard K Smith as the 'best account' of the trial. Mr Persico is married with two children, and divides his time between homes in upstate New York and Mexico.
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Book Description Arrow Books, 2005. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # P110099445395