Alongside Waterloo and Gettysburg, the Battle of Verdun during World War I stands as one of history’s greatest clashes. Yet it is also one of the most complex and misunderstood. Conventional wisdom holds that the battle began in February 1916 and lasted until December, when the victorious French wrested all the territory they had lost back from the Germans. In fact, says historian John Mosier, from the very beginning of the war until the armistice in 1918, no fewer than eight distinct battles were waged for the possession of Verdun. These conflicts are largely unknown, even in France, owing to the obsessive secrecy of the French high command and its energetic propaganda campaign to fool the world into thinking that the war on the Western Front was a steady series of German checks and defeats.
Although British historians have always seen Verdun as a one-year battle designed by the German chief of staff to bleed France white, Mosier’s careful analysis of the German plans reveals a much more abstract and theoretical approach.Our understanding of Verdun has long been mired in myths, false assumptions, propaganda, and distortions. Now, using numerous accounts of military analysts, serving officers, and eyewitnesses, including French sources that have never been translated, Mosier offers a compelling reassessment of the Great War’s most important battle.
©2013 John Mosier (P)2013 Gildan Media LLC
“Mr. Mosier [is] one of the more entertainingly contrarian military historians writing today...An important and groundbreaking audiobook about the Eastern front.” (The Washington Times on Hitler vs. Stalin)
“The author knows his military history, strategy, and tactics…packed with evidence, much of it ingeniously obtained and argued.” (The Washington Post on The Myth of the Great War)
I am an avid eclectic reader.
This book might be a good preparatory reading for World War One. Dr. Mosier covers a number of topics, geography of France, German and French history prior to WWI, railroads and their usefulness and limitations as well as military preparedness. He explains in pain-staking detail why the French artillery was terribly inaccurate and inadequate. French politics are reviewed along with their divisive role in military preparedness.
The author claims the lost history is actually buried history. The French army controlled all information or disinformation of the war. The author delved into this mass of suppressed information finding that each layer of command lied to the one above it as to the results of the latest offensive effort. One of the main points the author makes is that Verdun was not one battle but a series of battles fought from late 1914 to 1918.
One need to carefully review the source of the information provided in the index and keep a skeptical viewpoint to decide for yourself, is the book a fresh viewpoint and a struggle with official “truth” or a powerful revisionist account. Mosier also points out that WWI had no hero General to catch the public attention. Whereas, WWII had many Hero Generals that has kept the public interested in WWII for years. For those interested in World War One history the book is well worth the read. The book was narrated by Wes Talbot.
You have a worthy book about one of the most important (and, thanks to misreporting and cover-ups, least understood) battles of World War I. It was fought in France, between French and German armies, and the book recounts the action primarily from the French side. Given this, one might suppose that one of the first requirements for an audio version would be a reader who could pronounce French--or who would at least take the trouble, before tackling each passage, to learn how to say the French words in it. The producers of this audible execration took a different approach. By selecting a reader who pronounces almost every French name or term in his own uniquely wrong way, they rendered Mosier's interesting if somewhat verbose book all but unlistenable. After a valiant struggle to ignore Puh-TAYN, DJOFF-ree, the MOOZE, and countless other cringe-inducing errors, I was forced to concede defeat and turn the ghastly thing off.
My knowledge of this period for Verdun is limited. Thus, I do not have other works to compare and contrast this author's views, nor in my limited search found much discussion on his views versus the mainstream. It was revealing that the Verdun was not a battle but a long campaign in a large region. Thus, it is more a series of actions and players over an extended period. There is great deal of discussion on the terrain and the personalities that shape the actions.
I FINALLY UNDERSTAND THE MANY, MANY BATTLES OF VERDUN. IT TRULY IS A LOST, VERY LOST HISTORY. THE BOOK COVERS EVERY BATTLE FROM 1914 TO 1918.I BOUGHT TO HARDCOVER EDITION FOR THE MAPS.BUT THE MAPS ARE AWFUL AND NOT ENOUGH OF THEM.
PETAIN--ARROGANT-WOMANIZER-ASTUTE AND LOVING COMMANDER (AND I DO MEAN LOVING) STANDING BY THE SACRED WAY WATCHING HIS FRENCH SOLDIERS TRUDGE INTO THE BATTLE.:NO WONDER THAT THEY LOVED HIM BACK.
YES, EXCEPT WHEN HE GOES OFF TOPIC OR TOO DEEP INTO NON BATTLE TOPICS EG THE TRUE NUMBER OF CASUALATIES ON BOTH SIDE ETC.
HIS OBVIOUS GERMAN SYMPATHIES STUCK IN MY CRAW---I.E. THEY ONLY WANTED PEACE THAT'S WHY THEY INFLICTED THE WORSE BARRAGE IN HISTORY, PHOSGENE (POISON GAS) AND FLAME THROWERS ON THE FRENCH.AT VERDUN. IF THEY WANTED PEACE SO MUCH WHAT IN SAM HILL ARE THEY DOING 30 MILES FROM PARIS? WE WOULD FIGHT TOO, IF THEY WERE 30 MILES FROM WASHINGTON.BUT FOR THAT--I DON'T THINK HE WRITES AS WELL AS ALISTER HORNE WHO WROTE THE CLASSIC VERDUN ACCOUNT, BUT AT LEAST I COULD UNDERSTAND EVERYTHING--DESCRIBING THE MANY FRENCH FORTS AS A BATTLE SHIP BURIED IN SAND AND THE FRENCH TOWN OF FLUERY AS A RUBBLE HEAP WITH A SIGN, OR THE VAUQUOIS (ANOTHER BITTERLY FOUGHT OVER FRENCH TOWN) AS LOOKING LIKE A CHILD'S SAND CASTLE STEPPED ON, I CAN'T GET OUT OF MIND. AND HE HAS THESE LITTLE GEMS, LIKE ON EVERY OTHER PAGE.WONDERFUL BOOK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Many of the Great War "battle" books provide excellent detail, first hand accounts, just like Mosier's Verdun. Some, like Peter Hart's books give better detail in that respect. However, Out of all the WW1 books I've listened to, Verdun is the one where I felt like I got the most perspective and context...More "why" less how.
The narration is abysmal. The pronunciation of French names is especially bad. But it is still worth listening to, if you can get over the countless "Joffreys".
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