On Anzac Day 1918, when the town of Villers-Bretonneux falls to the British defenders, it is the Australians who are called on to save the day, the town and the entire battle.
It's early 1918, and after four brutal years the fate of the Great War hangs in the balance. On the one hand, the fact that Vladimir Lenin and the Bolsheviks have seized power in Russia - immediately suing for peace with Germany - means that no fewer than one million of the Kaiser's soldiers can now be transferred from there to the Western Front. On the other, now that America has entered the war, it means that two million American soldiers are also on their way, to tip the scales of war in favor of the Allies.
The Germans, realising that their only hope is striking at the Allied lines first, do exactly that, and on the morning of 21 March 1918, the Kaiserschlacht, the Kaiser's battle, is launched - the biggest set-piece battle the world has ever seen.
©2016 Peter FitzSimons. Produced by arrangement with Penguin Random House Australia Pty Ltd (P)2016 Bolinda Publishing Pty Ltd
The third in a series about the Anzacs in World War I, the author brings those men and the war they fought to life and fully relevant to today. it was so good, detailed, and sourced that I couldn't help reading it again. It is history as history should be- a story that inspires and informs.
"A very good historical account"
The book almost feels like a continuation of Paul Ham's excellent "Passchendaele: Requiem for Doomed Youth" as the story picks up more or less after the battle in 1917. Reading Ham's book before this one provides you more perspective about the state of the BEF in France in 1918.
The book was overall a very was well researched and written history of the Anzac participation helping to stop the German Spring Offensive in 1918.
At points the book felt a little nationalistic in its accounts of the Anzac's, in that they were by far the best troops on the Western Front, that their presence inspired locals to unpack their belongings and stay in their homes because they knew the Aussies would never break.
Overall a good account of the final German offensive of 1918
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