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Old December 12th, 2016, 01:10 PM   #21

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The review continues with CHAPTER TEN:

Chapter Ten builds on the subject matter from Chapter Nine in terms of what inspired the men to fight, for both sides. Jankowski has already covered that both the French and Germans had to deal with morale issues that should have been warnings for 1917 and 1918, but in 1916, the morale of the French and Germans never sank low enough to lose at Verdun. This then begs the question on what drove them to fight in the first place? What kept them going in 1916 after two years of bloody conflict with little ground gained?

Jankowski's primary argument on this issue is that it isn't quite the sort of picture that many general histories of the First World War would refer to.

For France, many of the commonly raised points relate to the desire to Alsace and Lorraine back after the loss in the Franco-Prussian War. See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Franco...and_Revanchism Jankowski makes mention of this issue by pointing to various war stories that all turned to a French soldier who was from Alsace/Lorraine and longed to see it returned to France or was friends with a person from Alsace/Lorraine and saw the loss of the territory as something that needed avenging.

Much of the rest that Jankowski states was commonly used was various references to the Germans as machine-like or equating the Germans to barbarians out to destroy the heart of civilization. In this, many of the greatest horrors of WWI, according to propaganda seemed to have their roots in German antiquity. Jankowski even makes references to a French Lieutenant who made the implication that the German use of things like poison gas were all due to something inherently German. Jankowski even directly quotes the lieutenant, "It's in their nature and forms so to speak their goal in life -- dominate, crush, be uber alles by any means, even the most ignoble ones."

In theory, these reasons were supposed to make the French hate the Germans and drive them on to defeat their enemy... And in some ways in what would be a odd way, as the issue with regard to gas ignored the possibility that Germany's chemical industry had any relation to the development and use of poison gas to make the position that Germans did those things simply because they were Germans.

For the Germans, the common reason was often presented as a means of superiority and in an odd way actually overlooked the French. Jankowski makes reference to various newspapers of the time, primarily the Frankfurter Zeitung and Münchner neuste Nachrichten, for their commentary that belittled the French for having unclean trenches and being more willing to surrender than fight and some commentary that the ones the Germans saw as their archenemy were the British and not the French. The French were beneath them, and despite the fact that such a viewpoint would seriously underestimate the French ability to fight on... or fight at all, Jankowski makes the point that this was how Germans hoped to inspire their men to fight on.

The theory was that hatred and revenge would drive the French and that superiority would drive the Germans... and at times, Jankowski even points to situations where those issues would seem to carry forward, be it with soldiers at first being exuberant at killing an enemy soldier at close range or being disgruntled by the quality of captured trenches, but they didn't translate over completely. Jankowski makes various points to fraternization between French and German soldiers at times, French soldiers looking on German prisoners more with pity than hatred, as well as the treatment of Sylvain Eugène Raynal, who was respectfully allowed to keep his sword after surrendering Fort Vaux to the Germans.

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(Sylvain Eugene Raynal, Commandant of Fort Vaux during the Battle of Verdun)

These actions would make it clear that simple reasons for why the soldiers fought and endured are not truly THE reason. The men who fought the Battle of Verdun in 1916 were still men, and while things such as hatred and senses of superiority may have played a factor... they weren't the factor and that as the war... or even just the battle went on, both sides came to respect one another. In this, while Jankowski ultimately spends the chapter trying to disprove the old stereotypes, his last line, that it was a sense of duty that drew both sides on actually answers the question well. Armies generally revolve around orders and carrying them out, and if discipline hasn't broken to the point where major mutinies happen, most men are going to carry out their duty and not dwell on what people before and even after the war felt were the reasons.
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Old December 24th, 2016, 02:53 PM   #22

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The review continues with CHAPTER ELEVEN:

The eleventh chapter continues to build on the issues on what kept the soldiers fighting and kept them in the field. Jankowski has already established that the morale of either the French or the Germans, both with regard to the individual soldiers or with the armies as a whole, wasn't broken by the Battle of Verdun and the nationalistic notions that played so large a role in propaganda was not the driving factor in what drove the men to fight. In fact, Jankowski ends the previous chapter in stating that a sense of duty did more than anything the propaganda did. And that makes sense, but a sense of duty would also imply a sense of loyalty and that would then raise the question, of "loyal to what?" It is that question that Jankowski tries to answer in this chapter... what were the German soldiers and the French poilus (translated as hairy ones, but used as a nickname for the French soldiers of WWI) loyal to?

Click the image to open in full size. Click the image to open in full size.

(German troops, above, and French troops, below, in their trenches)

Many times we'd tend to think of this loyalty being to the country and its leadership, but that is something that Jankowski makes the quick and early point on that WASN'T what either side was truly loyal to. French optimism with regard to Russian action in 1916 during the summer, to British action when the Battle of the Somme finally began, and the Romanian entrance in August would ALL be gone by the end of the year and France's own performances in the war up until the end of 1916 had not created the sort of massive breakthrough to keep the average soldiers loyal to the country and its decisions. And while on the surface, Germany had done better, they had also failed to win the war as quickly as they had hoped for at the beginning of the war. This then leads to other issues that inspired loyalty...

The answer that Jankowski ultimately presents is actually a fairly typical answer for many war stories in that the soldiers on both sides were ultimately loyal to their friends in the trenches with them. Jankowski includes commentary on loyalty to specific areas within their countries and units taking pride in being from Bavaria or from the south of France. Though, Jankowski also includes commentary in which local loyalty also had the potential to create trouble within each army, be it with questions regarding opinions on dialects within the French language common to certain areas or rivalries between Prussia and Bavaria within the German army.

Jankowski also includes commentary on religion providing means providing loyalty in keeping the armies together. This includes stories of French units attending mass from priests at the front and assisting with the casualties or with the Germans believing that God was on their side...

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(Belt buckle for the Imperial German Army. Gott Mit Uns translates to "God with Us.")

However, as with the issue with regional and individual unit loyalty, Jankowski also states that religious loyalty did not end particular religious persecutions, be it anti-Catholic or anti-Semitic. He notes this in a French lieutenant with Action Franciase sympathies holding beliefs essentially urging French Jews to give up their religion as well as their lives.

In this, Jankowski has made his point on how loyalty had the potential to be both good and bad. Jankowski continues this with this commentary on the differences between the front and the rear. Both sides often heavily resented the newspapers that repeated many of the "patriotic messages" that by 1916 didn't sound as good as they did in 1914. Jankowski furthers this by saying that these differences continued after the war and became a crucial part of the Stab in the Back myth that the Nazis would use to try and bring down the Wiemar Republic. See: Stab in the Back Legend - History Learning Site for reference...

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(Postcard depicting a strong and stoic German soldier about to be stabbed in the back by a Jew, a common sentiment from the Stab in the Back myth in Germany after WWI)

On the whole, Jankowski makes a decent argument and makes his case rather well. However, I would make the case that this chapter really gets away from the Battle of Verdun. Much of his content does talk about issues that relate to the battle, but it's taken as something that would relate to an issue within the First World War as a whole and not something that would be unique to the Battle of Verdun. Now, this could be the result in the way Jankowski has written his chapters, but in a way, Jankowski managed to have his earlier chapters carry more focus on the Battle of Verdun or to make them be presented in way that would feel those specific issues feel fairly unique to the battle whereas this chapter doesn't.
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Old January 8th, 2017, 06:25 PM   #23

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The review continues with EPILOGUE (Last "chapter" review, though acknowledgements and sources reviews will come before final thoughts and comparisons):

Jankowski ends his book with a brief rundown on the the way battle ended and could be described, with one being "a slaughterhouse of the world. It includes mentions of the recapture of Cote 304 and Morte Homme in 1917, and finally in 1918 with the offensive that took the Americans to Beaumont and Ville-devant-Chaumont when the war ended. The focus, however, remains on the 1916 battle and how it was perceived.

And Jankowski makes a point that how the battle is perceived can be different given the specific ways in which the battle is looked at. In this, Jankowski actually explains the way he organized his chapters in talking about different aspects of the battle, aspect by aspect. He makes a good sentiment, but I'd think THIS would have been better put in the book's introduction rather than its epilogue. I had the impression from how the book began that the book would flow chronologically and focus on the 1916 battle, but while each chapter does flow chronologically it only focuses on one aspect of the battle at a time. To those that aren't super familiar on World War I or aren't familiar with the French actions of World War I that sort of message would do better at the beginning of the book so that they don't get to the end of chapter one and see them talking about the END of the 1916 battle and then blink in wonder.

The rest of the epilogue focuses with the legacy of how the Battle of Verdun was viewed has been left behind. It has included speeches on unity made by various French politicians of all stripes from President Rene Coty, a Verdun veteran, in 1956 to Francois Mitterand in the 1980s, and to President Chirac ten years later. To that, the fact that France did commit to the Battle of Verdun had provided something that "united" France in a way that crossed all its partisan divides. Jankowski makes the argument that some of this would lead to thoughts on that sort of unity also being a call to take a stand be it with regard dealing with Nazi Germany to the Cold War. Some elements lived on after the war.

It also included calls to pacifism and getting over the things that got Europe into the war in the first place. Jankowski includes mention of newspaper articles covering the issues of "patriotism" over Verdun with a contrasted view that wanted to get away from war, and often making reference to the Douamont Ossuary and the human remains within.

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(The Douamont Ossuary)

Jankowski even makes the mention that even the Nazis played into this sort of pacifist theme in 1936, though that obviously didn't last long. The theme seemed to return after World War II with Georges Pommpidou sounding quite pacifistic at Verdun in 1964 and that the site required it and that it coincided with Charles De Gaulle's attempts at detente with the Soviets and his criticism of America's war in Vietnam. In this, the cost of the Battle of Verdun would lead to turn to get away from violence...

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(Charles De Gaulle as a young soldier, who was wounded as a Lieutenant at the 1916 Battle of Verdun)

Though, I would point out that while Verdun may have had an influence on trying to find ways other than war to solve problems... I wouldn't think that De Gaulle would be the best man to use as an example. Yes he fought at Verdun, but that didn't make him a pacifist by any means.

In the end the legacy Verdun reflects many of these conflicting issues as they pass... the unity and call to action and the cost and avoiding repeating it... and while the battle lines didn't really change and both sides suffered losses, though the French would win the "prestige" of the battle, the men who fought fit neither the extreme of chauvinist or pacifist. They could only carry on... and pass into history.
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Old January 15th, 2017, 05:28 PM   #24

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The review continues with ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS, APPENDIXES, AND SOURCES (Final thoughts, comparison to Mosier's book, and its worth will follow later):

The last section of the book includes the thanks Jankowski has for those that provided him with help regarding getting his sources. Jankowski handles this politely and professionally, which works wells and is respectful for those that provided him with help, which is nice.

The Appendix on his sources, though, came off as something of a small chapter in and of itself. It serves to explain many of the points made in the book, such as the toughness in determining exact casualties was difficult. Some sources were new and untried. Some didn't count minor wounds as "wounded" while others did, and these made it difficult to judge and where based on various calculations, the exchange rate would be pretty close to a 1:1 ratio for casualties inflicted per every casualty taken.

The actual source list is just that. Jankowski lists the sources he used, and unlike Mosier does not try to explain how his sources should be viewed or why it they should be viewed.

He has them listed by "Unpublished Primary Sources" starting with various archieves including: Service historique de la Defense, Vincennes (SHD), Archives du Memorial de Verdun, Archives Nationales (AN), Achives departementales du Rhone, Archives departementales de la Seine-Maritime, Archives departementales de la Gironde, Bibliotheque nationale de France (Richelieu), Bundesarchiv-Militararchiv, Freiburg (BA-MA), Bayerisches Hauptstaatarchiv, Abt. IV, Kriegsarchiv, and the Archives de l'Institut Nationale de l'Audiovisuel (INA). Other unpublished sources come from various unpublished theses and various audiovisual sources.

From there, Jankowski then lists various "Published Primary Sources" which include: newspapers and periodicals from both France and Germany, various fiction and poetry, schoolbooks, children's books, popular histories, songs, memoirs, journals, letters, and official histories and period military studies. The last grouping is with various "Secondary Sources," which does NOT include anything else by Jankowski, which also marks a difference from Mosier, who cited one of his earlier books in his "work cited" area.

It proves to be an impressive list, which is mostly primary sources. It represents a great deal of work to research and build a case around. And ultimately by listing the sources he used, he could provide any serious critic the sources to check and see what Jankowski used or what he drew from the sources he used. Now, since he doesn't explain his sources, that could make it difficult to see as to whether or not he was cherry picking his sources to suit an argument, as Mosier likely did, but the fact that Jankowski did not include any books that he had himself written would make that unlikely...

In this, it reflects a comment on Amazon's customer review section for Jankowski's book that ultimately included a direct reference to Mosier, in that, "unlike Mosier, Jankowski actually used his sources." Maybe not authoritative, but an interesting comment nonetheless.
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Old January 16th, 2017, 07:50 PM   #25

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The review continues with A COMPARISON TO MOSIER'S BOOK:

Again, to see my review on John Mosier's book on the Battle of Verdun, see: Review of John Mosier's "Verdun: The Lost History of the Most Important Battle of WWI

Jankowski's book on Verdun and Mosier's book both came out around the same time with Mosier's book coming out in October 2013 and Jankowski's book coming out in February 2014, not even a year apart. However, while both books talk about the Battle(s) of Verdun, they way they do is very different.

With regard to the tone of each book...

Mosier in his book had a clear and pointed argument to make, in that the Germans were superb warriors with no equal until the Americans arrived and the Americans won the First World War. He routinely criticizes both British historians and French World War I commanders for how they fought the war and how it was covered after the war. His attacks on British historians, and particularly Alistair Horne are particularly aggressive and insulting in nature. And as I said in the review for Mosier's book, his habit to exaggerate things and toss petty insults as part of his commentary really didn't make his book worth reading. Even if you're looking for books that raise America's worth in World War I, Mosier's book really doesn't do a good job of that.

By contrast, Jankowski really didn't seem to be arguing for any specific point. What Jankowski has tried to do is balance between the traditional way the battle has been covered in terms of following the movement of men and equipment and the firing of shells by both sides with other social issues, such as how the men in the trenches responded to the fighting and how they coped with it, along with the ultimate legacies that the Battle of Verdun left on both France and Germany. In this, Jankowski is trying to change how we look at the Battle of Verdun rather than trying to make a case for who won the war. In this, Jankowski takes a refreshing and different sort of tone from Mosier. And while Jankowski does make references to other historians, he does not do so with the insults that Mosier did.

With regard to the progression of each book...

Mosier's book progresses in a very linear manner, starting with the beginning and finishing at the end. The thing that makes Mosier's book differ from most other histories of the Battle of Verdun is on both when the beginning is and the number of battles fought over Verdun, or at least in the general area. Most histories would identify the fighting at Verdun being a singular battle in 1916, Mosier, however, argues that there were multiple battles of Verdun based on the various engagements that came close to the geographical area in which the city of Verdun is located. The earliest of these battles was in 1914 and the fighting didn't end until late 1918 when the Germans finally surrendered. As I noted in the review of Mosier's point, this is a believable point based on one's interpretation of either geography or battle identification. Various battles in the American Civil War were fought in the same area, such as near Manasas and the fights at Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, Wilderness, and Spotsylvania Court House. These battles generally had different names, but the fact that they occurred in the same general area would leave things open how one interprets the names of battles. The fighting along the Western Front in World War I holds a fairly similar openness for how one would identify battle names...

However, because Mosier identifies several battles in the area around Verdun that start in 1914 and go all the way to the end of the war, there isn't much in the way of detailed information on the 1916 battle that he could present without cutting into the information on the earlier and later battles. In this, information on the 1916 battle is ultimately lost.

In contrast, while Jankowski only focuses on the 1916 battle, his overall outline of the book focuses more various aspects of the Battle of Verdun. His chapters progress linearly within each chapter, but on a specific aspect of the battle. The chapter after that will turn to another aspect of the battle and go back to the beginning of the battle. It covers more of the 1916 battle than Mosier did, but the way he covers it can be a bit confusing to those who aren't familiar with World War I in general and the Battle of Verdun in particular.

So, if simplicity and easy understanding of the flow of time in the book is important, Mosier actually handles this better than Jankowski... however, because of how poorly Mosier treated those he disagreed with in his book, this "victory" doesn't really improve the quality of his book in comparison to Jankowski's book.

Between the two, which book is better, Jankowski or Mosier?

Between the two books, Jankowski's is by far the better book. Jankowski's book may not flow in a linear manner the way Mosier's book is, but he doesn't devote time to throwing insults at other historians and with regard to the 1916 battle and its impact it is far more informative.
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Old January 17th, 2017, 02:30 PM   #26

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The review concludes with THE STRENGTHS/WEAKNESSES OF VERDUN: THE LONGEST BATTLE OF THE GREAT WAR (These are my final thoughts on the book and whether or not the book is worth buying in my opinion... Anyone and everyone is free to add their thoughts and discuss what they felt on the book...):

On the whole, Jankowski has written an excellent book that those familiar with World War I in general and the Battle of Verdun, and has several strengths that reinforce that. That said, it is not necessarily a perfect book with some weaknesses that could be confusing to those not familiar with events of the Battle of Verdun.

The book's strengths...

The book has several strengths that make it worth reading.

1) Non Linear in Nature: While Jankowski has not written the book to start the book with the planning for Operation Gericht (German for Judgement) and ending the book with the recapture of the last territory in 1916 or the recapture of Mort Homme and Cote 304 in 1917, his style has allowed for a way of telling the story of the Battle of Verdun that can allow dealing a lot of information that has either shaped the battle or was shaped by it. Looking at the various aspects of the battle, Jankowski is more easily able to cover legacy aspects of the battle that went on after the war in a way that a linear style shouldn't allow for. It also allows for each aspect of the Battle of Verdun to be covered fully, which would also be difficult to do with a linear style of moving from beginning to end.

2) Single Focus on the 1916 Battle: While there may have been fighting in the area around Verdun before 1916 and after 1916, determining these as part of the Battle of Verdun, or additional "Battles of Verdun," are all open to one's interpretation. Trying to argue for either a longer battle or for different battles ultimately means lengthening the book to cover everything or leaving things out in order keep the book limited in size. However, with the 1916 battle lasting from February to December, there is a lot of information that would need to be covered and with the book written in a non-linear style, adding in the earlier and later fighting would be impractical. By keeping his focus on the 1916 battle, Jankowski avoids having to persuade people to accept a specific interpretation and is free to cover the various aspects of the battle completely.

3) Balanced Research and Facts: As seen in his bibliography has included a great many sources that come from both France and Germany. In a way, this provides a balanced view of the battle and doesn't fall into nationalistic grandstanding for either France or Germany and makes it clear that both sides often struggled in dealing with the same issues.

4) Logical Explanations of Facts: Jankowski does a very good job to try and explain his points and arguments and generally does a good job of doing so. This actually helps certain aspects of the book that would be considered weaknesses... in that based on the explanation, one can understand the point that Jankowski wants to make and thus understand the point being made.

The book's weaknesses...

I didn't feel there were too many weaknesses or that they negated the book's strengths, but they were there all the same...

1) The Non-Linear Style: ... What? A strength and a weakness? In fact yes. While the style allows for Jankowski to cover more information about the various aspects of the Battle of Verdun and their effect on France and Germany even after the war, it can be a bit confusing to those not expecting it. I initially started the book thinking that it would progress with the book starting with the beginning of the battle and ending with the end of the battle. The fact that it didn't do that was something of a surprise and even made me flip back to try and make sense of the way Jankowski had written the book, especially since the explanation for the way the battle was written didn't appear until the END of the book. In this, the style in which the book was written could be confusing to those not familiar with World War I as a whole and the Battle of Verdun in particular. For those just getting to know the battle... or those looking for a simple outline of the battle... there are probably going to be better books out there...

2) Minor Bits of Confusion on Certain Points: While Jankowski doesn't make any great factual error in the book, there are points that could be potentially confusing. At times, Jankowski's explanation minimizes this and can be understood on what he means, but this again requires the reader to have some understanding of the war to begin with. This is shown in his discussion on how artillery were often limited to the second line. As pointed out in the chapter review, that does certainly apply to the Western Front where the lines were static between 1914 and 1918, but given the great swings of movement on the Eastern Front that argument wouldn't necessarily fit as the Central Powers advances in 1915 certainly overran what was the Russian "second line." Jankowski's explanations serve to minimize the confusion and keep his focus on the Western Front, but that doesn't remove the possibility of confusion in the first place...

Is it worth it?

That really depends on who you are and what you are looking for. On the whole, Verdun: The Longest Battle of the Great War by Paul Jankowski is an excellent book, but it is also a very detailed and perhaps even complex book. If you're already familiar with World War I and the Battle of Verdun and looking for a new look on the battle, it's worth every penny. However, if you aren't familiar on the First World War in general and the Battle of Verdun in particular and are looking for something that will present an outline of the battle, this book would only serve to provide some confusion because of its specific weaknesses.

It isn't a bad book... but it probably isn't for "beginners." For that, it may be better to pick a different book and then come back to Jankowski's book. The historian Alan Axelrod has a book on the Battle of Verdun as well, and perhaps in time I'll take a look into it to see if it would be a better "beginner's" book on the battle.
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Old January 20th, 2017, 07:32 PM   #27
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I just joined this forum. Actually as a result of a link to your review of Mosier's book. I had recently read it and am also currently reading the Jankowski book. Only in chapter 2 but I find his writing style and wording very interesting (meaning I spend time looking up some words).
In 2014 my wife and I visited many sites in Belgium and France. Verdun was a one night stop. The Tour de France went through the day we were there and some places were closed off early due to the race prep.
I hope to get back someday and spend three to four days there.
Thank you for the review...
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Old January 20th, 2017, 08:30 PM   #28

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Quote:
Originally Posted by woojr View Post
I just joined this forum.
Welcome.

Quote:
Originally Posted by woojr View Post
Actually as a result of a link to your review of Mosier's book.
Really!? Wow... I wouldn't have thought that that book review would have gone beyond those who frequent Historum a lot already... If someone linked my review outside of Historum... where was it posted, if I may ask?

Quote:
Originally Posted by woojr View Post
I had recently read it and am also currently reading the Jankowski book. Only in chapter 2 but I find his writing style and wording very interesting (meaning I spend time looking up some words).
Yeah, Jankowski does make use of some German and French words, though I think a lot of them are also going to be newspaper titles, so I'm not sure on whether or not things will change in translation because of the proper name...

Though if you've read my reviews, you'll know my opinion on Mosier and Jankowski...

Quote:
Originally Posted by woojr View Post
In 2014 my wife and I visited many sites in Belgium and France. Verdun was a one night stop. The Tour de France went through the day we were there and some places were closed off early due to the race prep.
I hope to get back someday and spend three to four days there.
It must have been quite a trip... and would leave me jealous, as I probably will never get to the chance to see those places in person...

Quote:
Originally Posted by woojr View Post
Thank you for the review...
You're welcome. Feel free to add any thoughts, concerns, warnings, or positives when you finish Jankowski's book.
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Old January 21st, 2017, 07:18 AM   #29
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Originally Posted by Sam-Nary View Post
Welcome.



Really!? Wow... I wouldn't have thought that that book review would have gone beyond those who frequent Historum a lot already... If someone linked my review outside of Historum... where was it posted, if I may ask?

The Great War Forum. I think in the book reviews.


Though if you've read my reviews, you'll know my opinion on Mosier and Jankowski...

In all honesty, I'm new to discovering details of the Great War. It's such a huge event with so many things happening at the same time. I cannot imagine how difficult it was managing all the logistics along just the Western Front.
And then to try to capture the truth in the midst of so much destruction... I just read different opinions and at this point am simply left with my jaw hanging open.
The stories about propaganda and casualty reports remind me of my youth watching the evening news reports on the Vietnam War. Then older friends came home with their experiences. We don't have that luxury here, talking to our friends returning from the trenches.


It must have been quite a trip... and would leave me jealous, as I probably will never get to the chance to see those places in person...

We drove through the battlefields and visited the Forts and cemeteries. It's easier to grasp the magnitude of the destruction having been there.
I want to return soon. My health is slowing me down. I'd like to visit southern France, where Louis Barthas lived.



You're welcome. Feel free to add any thoughts, concerns, warnings, or positives when you finish Jankowski's book.
Actually I'm getting the urge to dive into something on the Eastern Front. And I also have been reading about the Americans involvement. My wife's grandfather saw action all through the Argonnes & Meuse. I have much of his gear from his service.
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Old January 21st, 2017, 10:47 AM   #30

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Originally Posted by woojr View Post
The Great War Forum. I think in the book reviews.
Neat... I might just spend some time trying to find the link there, just to see what was said...

Quote:
Originally Posted by woojr View Post
In all honesty, I'm new to discovering details of the Great War. It's such a huge event with so many things happening at the same time. I cannot imagine how difficult it was managing all the logistics along just the Western Front.

And then to try to capture the truth in the midst of so much destruction... I just read different opinions and at this point am simply left with my jaw hanging open.

The stories about propaganda and casualty reports remind me of my youth watching the evening news reports on the Vietnam War. Then older friends came home with their experiences. We don't have that luxury here, talking to our friends returning from the trenches.
Which might make Jankowski's book a bit difficult to follow... It's not that he doesn't tell a lot of lies or exaggerate things, which were a big part of my negative view on Mosier's book, but he takes a very different look at the battle and compartmentalizes his analysis into that different view point. That in turn may confuse people who are only just learning about WWI in general or the Battle in Verdun in particular, especially since Jankowski really doesn't explain that his analysis will be taking a different take on the battle with the way it's organized. Especially if you go into it expecting start the book at the beginning of the battle or immediately prior to the battle...

Quote:
Originally Posted by woojr View Post
We drove through the battlefields and visited the Forts and cemeteries. It's easier to grasp the magnitude of the destruction having been there.

I want to return soon. My health is slowing me down. I'd like to visit southern France, where Louis Barthas lived.
I can only imagine.

Quote:
Originally Posted by woojr View Post
Actually I'm getting the urge to dive into something on the Eastern Front. And I also have been reading about the Americans involvement. My wife's grandfather saw action all through the Argonnes & Meuse. I have much of his gear from his service.
Interesting... Hopefully it proves enlightening, as there is a lot about WWI to learn... though obviously, that'd have to be put on a different thread...
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