Author(s): Robert Cowley
The Great War takes a hard look at the legend of the 'Massacre of the Innocents' at Ypres in 1914 - an event that became a cornerstone of Nazi mythology. It describes the Gallipoli campaign as it has never been described before - from the Turkish side. Here too are the horrors of naval warfare, as both British and German sailors experienced them at the Battle of Jutland; the near breakdown of the American commander, John H. Pershing; and the rarely told story of the British disaster on the Tigris River in what is now Iraq. Michael Howard chronicles the summer of 1914 and the descent into a war that leaders were actually more afraid to avoid than to join. John Keegan writes about the muddy tragedy of Passchendaele in 1917. Jan Morris details the rise and fall of Sir John Fisher, whom she characterizes as the greatest British admiral since Nelson.
From The Great War "The Germans...were sniping from loop holes near the base of the parapet. They sniped at anything that moved, wounded and all. Thus we few that were left dug ourselves as low as possible. I was wedged in between two dead men....Never shall I forget that awful experience. For four hours (4 p.m. to 8 p.m.) I lay there cramped up and never moved once." --Lt. Lionel Sotheby, Black Watch, "A Bad Afternoon on Aubers Ridge" "Those most imperiled by internal explosion--indeed without hope of escape at all--were the ammunition and engine-room crews. Ammunition handlers, if at the flash point, suffered instantaneous extinction. Stokers and mechanics might undergo a protracted and awful agony. That must certainly have been the fate of the engine-room crews on the Pommern, as well as on the Indefati-gable and Queen Mary, trapped in air pockets belowdecks, plunged into darkness, engulfed by rising water, perhaps also menaced by escaping superheated steam and machinery running out of control. The details of the last minutes of those engine-room spaces are mercifully hidden from us." --John Keegan, "Jutland" Praise for With My Face to the Enemy "Fascinating, well written, logically formatted, and amply supplemented with useful battle maps. Recommended for all Civil War collections." --"Library Journal" Praise for No End Save Victory, a Book-of-the-Month Club Main Selection and a History Book Club Alternate "Cowley has chosen judiciously, taking us to Africa, Asia, Guadalcanal, and other WWII hot spots....ÝA combination of solid writing and star power." --"Publishers Weekly" "Captivating...Cowley's collection is likely to stand among the best histories ofthe year....These essays will revive the drama and sense of desperation that marked WWII for a new generation of readers." --"Kirkus Reviews" "From the Hardcover edition."
Robert Cowley is the founding editor of MHQ: The Quarterly Journal of Military History, from which these articles were taken. He has edited two previous MHQ anthologies, No End Save Victory, about World War II, and With My Face to the Enemy (also published by Pimlico), about the American Civil War. He has also edited two volumes of the What If? series, and a third that will appear later this year. He lives in Connecticut.