The British entered World War I convinced of victory. Many even predicted an end to hostilities by Christmas. For the British Expeditionary Force, which was instead obliterated by 1915, this proved a costly assumption. In his robust re-examination of the onset of war, Robin Neillands reviews the exploits and character of the BEF, revealing how it came to be both the focus of hasty British hopes and, in the tragedy of its defeat, the catalyst for a policy shift without which the war would surely have been lost. Affectionately known as 'the Old Contemptibles' (a subversion of criticism from the Kaiser), the BEF was, although small, so highly trained and motivated that enemy lines mistook the unremitting accuracy of its rifles for machine gun fire. However, at Ypres, it was nonetheless conclusively defeated, proving that no amount of patriotism, skill or valour could match superior numbers and equipment. This forced the government to re-evaluate conscription and military funding.Using the testimony of both commanders and infantrymen, Robin Neillands' definitive account offers new insight into still highly, and justly, emotive issues: why such appalling numbers perished and to what extent the course of events would have been altered had the initial reaction from Britain been different.
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Robin Neillands is the author of several widely acclaimed books on the First and Second World Wars, including The Battle of Normandy, 1944; The Great War Generals on the Western Front and The Conquest of the Reich. His most recent, The Bomber War, Major General Julian Thompson called 'a compelling and very moving account'. Of the same book Blake Morrison wrote 'rarely has oral history been put to better use'.Review:
'Neillands has given us a worthy tribute to their sacrifice' -- Sunday Times 'The book stands as a tribute to the bravery of an army that never really had a chance' -- History 'Tells the story of the BEF's first weeks of war neatly, cirsply and clearly' -- Literary Review 'Informed and explicit, this is military history at its best' -- Western Daily Press 20040731 'Brings to life the horrific experiences of ... the British Expeditionary Force of 1914' -- Soldier Magazine 20040731 'Fascinating detail' -- The Times 20050826 'Fascinating account' -- The Sunday Times 20050904
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Book Description John Murray Publishers Ltd, 2005. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Never used!. Bookseller Inventory # P11071955649X
Book Description John Murray Publishers Ltd, 2005. Paperback. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # M071955649X