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1915: The Death of Innocence Paperback – April 21, 2000


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 672 pages
  • Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press; New Ed edition (April 21, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0801864437
  • ISBN-13: 978-0801864438
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.5 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,130,597 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Based on letters, journals and memoirs, this fifth volume of Macdonald's chronicle of the Great War as British soldiers experienced it covers the battles of Neuve Chapelle and Loos, the second battle of Ypres and the Gallipoli campaign. The author provides a detailed look at the unique trench culture of the British 1st Army and analyzes "lessons learned," such as the proper deployment of massed artillery and infantry reserves during that bloody year. Her assessment of Allied strategy and tactics is unparalleled in clarity. Her statistics further dramatize the loss of life on the Western Front in 1915 (Macdonald regards Gallipoli as an extension of the Western Front): Of the 19,500 square miles of German-occupied territory fought over, only eight were recovered-an average of 200,000 casualties per mile. Macdonald's vividly rendered history evokes pity and awe at the slaughter. By Christmas 1915, she notes, there was still some hope of ending the conflict quickly, but it was no longer the hope of innocent optimism. Photos.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Macdonald presents a history of the second year of the Great War, focusing almost entirely on the impressions and experiences of common soldiers gathered from interviews over the last 20 years as well as from letters, journals, and memoirs. The author has chosen not to analyze Loos, Ypres, Neuve Chappelle, and the introduction of gas warfare in detail but rather to set the scene and let the desperate, patriotic, idealistic soldiers tell in their own words how those qualities were expunged and the desire merely to survive left in their place. The book is not a replacement for a general history, but Macdonald's considerable skill in weaving her narrative makes this an excellent addition to the literature. However, this is Macdonald's fourth compilations of World War I material; libraries holding the others may consider this one more than they need.
Edwin B. Burgess, U.S. Army TRALINET Ctr., Fort Monroe, Va.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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This book nicely fills in a period about which I knew very little.
chucks2@javanet.com
Lyn MacDonald's book captures the true and complete horror of warfare in this book.
Ironmike
What is covered very well is the experiences of those at the "sharp end".
John F. Sukey

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 17, 1996
Format: Hardcover
I hate to see a book I liked so much get a poor review. I
too have read a number of the other narrative histories of
World War One by Lyn MacDonald, specifically "Somme" and
"They Called It Passchendaele." I like the use of first person
narrative sources to illustrate the history, because it places
such colossal, overwhelming events as battles and campaigns on
a more human, personal level. Rather than focusing on a single
campaign, MacDonald focuses on the entire year of 1915 in this
book, as she did in her previous book, "1914." While the scope
of the book is large, it is not unmanageable for the reader.
You just have to be dedicated to following the action and the
narrators. While the job is easier if you have a passing knowledge
of the history already, it is not completely necessary to enjoy
the book.
"1914" and "1915" are more inclusive developments of the style
she used in her earlier books. I hope that she is someday able
to complete her chronicle of the war years by covering 1916,
1917, and 1918. I would buy, read, and display the entire set
if I had the chance. Now, if only I could find a copy of "1914"...
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful By nar@skynet.be on August 24, 1998
Format: Hardcover
I have lived in Flanders for the past 9 years. Just over one year ago I picked up my first Lyn MacDonald "novel". I have now read and in some cases reread all of her books. They tell the story as no other author can. This book is like all her others. Magnificent. Now every day when I commute to the office the I view the countryside with a very different outlook. I think the story of WW1 is impossible to tell, but Lyn lets us glimps at just a small part of something that changed the future of the world forever.
Thank you Lyn.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 28, 1997
Format: Hardcover
Lyn MacDonald has continued her presentation on the battles of World War I as seen through the eyes of its participants. Her use of first hand interviews and the diaries of the combatants brings to life for the modern reader the sense of exhaltation, fear, anxiety, loss, frustration, anger, and futility that the subjects of her book experienced. Her viewpoint is primarily that of the British soldier and nurse. The fading months of 1914 saw the cream of the British army, 1 million veterans, reduced to a tenth of their original strength. Now Kitchener was building a new army to hurl against the German juggernaut. 1915 saw an influx of the territorials that had originally been left behind during the first months of the war. In addition, raw, enthusiastic, and naive young men were sent into the trenches of France. Kitchener sends his new army against the well trained, well fed, well equipped Germans all along the front, from Ypres in the north to the Somme in the South. It is undersupplied, hastely trained and equipped, and haphazardly led. All which lead to costly battles in men and materials punctuated by incredible acts of sacrifice and bravery. Lyn MacDonald shares the hopes and expectations of a country slowly bled to death side by side with the ever increasing realization that the war would be with the British for many years to come
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By John F. Sukey on March 13, 2002
Format: Paperback
Some people may criticise this book for not including the French. But to do that, it would have to come in several volumes. World War One is just too vast to include everyone from both sides in one volume. What is covered very well is the experiences of those at the "sharp end". Generals and maps are very well for those who want to follow the overall view, but that does not cover the misery of the rifleman and company officers who did not have the luxury of comfortable billets and lack of danger enjoyed by the higher ranks. Drawing a line on a piece of paper is a far cry from having to man that line. Ordering an attack is easy for those who don't have to do the attacking and have no idea of the conditions of the soldier who has to advance through mud and barbed wire. I am reminded of a staff officer who, on seeing the actual front line after the battle of the Somme said "My God, did we send men to fight in that!"
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Bob Davis on January 21, 2001
Format: Paperback
Lyn MacDonald's writings on WWI are possibly the best available. She is not judgemental, rather she reports using first hand accounts from participants. The reports are always stirring and moving. Her detailed accounts together with a picture of the overall scene of the battles show the decades of research that were required to produce her books.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on April 11, 2002
Format: Paperback
The other reviewers have spoken to Lyn MacDonalds style and areas of expertise. My experience with this book is that compells me to read it again and again. I pick it up and start reading it in mid chapter, and it's always interesting despite the number of times I have read it. Every page has completely engrossing narrative, so it hooks me any time I pick it up. The account of miners tunnelling underneath enemy lines is particularly memorable.
I'm definitely going to pick up everything else she has written.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Ironmike on October 16, 2002
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Lyn MacDonald's book captures the true and complete horror of warfare in this book. Rich in detail and telling accounts by the men that fought in the savage and bloody battles in 1915. A must read for someone trying to understand the daily misery and destruction of a generation of brave men. By far, my favorite book in the series, but not to discount the others, each of which is a classic and should be read in sequence to grasp the fullness of the story of The Great War.
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