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Hell in the Holy Land: World War 1 in the Middle East Hardcover – April 2, 2006


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 280 pages
  • Publisher: The University Press of Kentucky (April 2, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0813123836
  • ISBN-13: 978-0813123837
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #870,678 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Very few authors are successful as he at connecting individual soldiers to an overall campaign." -- Brig. Gen. Roberty A. Doughty (Ret.)



"Has succeeded in combing the memoirs, both published and unpublished, with the more formal historical records to form a flowing narrative.... An informative and enjoyable read." -- Bulletin of the Military Historical Society



"Provides a rare look at the experiences of British foot-soldiers in campaigns against the Turkish army in Egypt and Palestine in 1916-1918." -- College and Research Library News



"An excellent read and should be of interest to those wanting to acquire knowledge of warfare in the Middle East." -- Great Lakes Bulletin



"Illuminates and skillfully molds the stories of ordinary soldiers on the ground with the higher strategy of generals and politicians. The many letters and diary entries give moving testament to the blood, horror, and futility of war but also to the lingering sense of romance and adventure felt by some of the men." -- J. Lee Thompson, author of Politicans, the Press, and Propaganda: Lord Northcli



"This is an impressive, critical and readable volume that provides fascinating personal insights woven in with a general account of the fighting to provide a holistic, concise record of the Palestine campaign." -- Journal of Military History



"Woodward utilizes graphic eyewitness accounts to compile an engaging history of the oft-forgotten Egyptian Expeditionary Force during its 500-mile campaign in Egypt and Palestine." -- Military Trader



"A well-crafted, extremely readable political-military history.... Paints a more considered, vastly more nuanced, and far less romantic picture of war in the desert than that depicted in films such as Lawrence of Arabia and The Light Horsemen." -- Relevance



"Woodward's work not only reveals a command of past and current scholarship but demonstrates a superlative research effort in uncovering the thoughts and horrors of otherwise voiceless ordinary soldiers and junior officers and fitting these into a lucid narrative account of the overall campaign." -- Thomas C. Kennedy, author of British Quakerism, 1860-1920: The Transformation o



"An excellent read and should be of interest to those wanting to acquire more knowledge of warfare in the Middle East." -- Waterline



""The author of this study has written an important and readable addition to the growing collection of books on World War I in the Middle East. It will be useful to scholars of the war, and its lucid style and vivid picture of events will appeal to a popular audience." " -- Neil M. Heyman, San Diego State University



""Hell in the Holy Land provides a welcome look at the experiences of soldiers in the Middle East from 1916-1918. It also sheds light on a campaign that has been dismissed as a sideshow, but had consequences that continue to reverberate today."" -- Nikolas Gardner, H-Net Review



"The strength of this fascinating, highly readable volume is the author's extensive use of the participants' words, from mainly unpublished letters, diaries, memoirs, and other accounts, which are woven into an operational and strategic narrative. -- Harold E. Raugh Jr." -- Harold E. Raugh Jr.

About the Author

David R. Woodward, professor of modern European and Russian history at Marshall University, is the author of four books, including Trial by Friendship: Anglo-American Relations, 1917-1918.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By E. E Pofahl on July 20, 2006
Format: Hardcover
The Preface observes "Not only has the campaign in Egypt and Palestine been neglected in the historiography of the war, the ordinary British soldier has not been given his due." Author, David Woodward, corrects these omissions by narrating World War I warfare in the Turkish theater using the diaries and letters of the British soldiers to describe combat in this area. Woodward writes "The British soldiers in Egypt and Palestine, whose words constitute a large part of this book, fought in a theatre very different from France and Flanders." They were member of the Egyptian Expeditionary Force (EEF).

The British faced the problem of "....how could the War Office field the necessary forces to maintain its position in France and also defend the empire against the global threat posed by the Turko-German alignment." They chose to fight Turkey with Territorials augmented by imperial troops from Australia, New Zealand and India. The text notes "Among the participants, the Territorials have been especially overlooked ....and the Territorial Divisions were called upon to do most of the fighting in the battles of Gaza and the conquest of Jerusalem." The Territorials were roughly the equivalent of American Reserve units.

The narration begins in Egypt stating "The defense of Egypt....was not a `side show.' Its loss would be a disaster....Not only would the Suez Canal be lost, the Turko-German menace would now extend to Africa." To protect the Suez Canal a campaign to clear the Sinai was initiated. The text gives an excellent account of this operation where the environment was extremely hot and adverse. Camels were an effective means of transportation but were difficult to manage. "Drivers were required as well a camels.
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful By kimina2 on January 1, 2007
Format: Hardcover
The full title of this book is "Hell in the Holy Land: World War I in the Middle East". While the first part is appropriate, this book is not a history of World War I in the Middle East. Rather, as stated near the end of the "Megiddo" chapter, it is a "personal account of British operations in Egypt and Palestine". The author takes personal accounts of British soldiers and exerpts them in the book. Through these exerpts we really get to see what the actual thoughts and concerns of these soldiers were. However, the story is told from only the British point of view. The only mention of the Turks is as they were seen by the British. There is nothing about the Turkish soldier's point of view, Turkish strategy, plans, etc. There is no mention of any other theater in the Middle East other than Egypt/Palestine. We hear nothing about the Mesopotamian campaing or events in Arabia. If you are looking for personal accounts of British soldiers in Egypt/Palestine, than this is the book for you. If you are looking for a comprehensive discussion of World War I in the Middle East then look elsewhere.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Frank J. Konopka VINE VOICE on July 19, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Most histories of World War I tend to ignore the British army's Egyptian Expeditionary Force (EEF) and its battle against the Turks in Palestine. While this theater of war was treated by the powers-that-be as a "sideshow", to the men fighting and dying in the Middle East it was a real war. Conditions there were different from those in France. Trench warfare was not the norm and the soldiers had to combat, not only the enemy, but broiling sun during the day, chilly temeratures at night, shifting sand, dangerous insects, and the incessant attack of flies. This book retells a story of courage and effort in a climate that was really foreign to most of the EEF. We follow them from Egypt, across the Sinai, through Gaza, up to Jerusalem and then farther North as Turkey's resistance collapsed, and the war began to come to an end. Anyone interested in the "complete" history of World War I, in all of its varied aspects, should read this book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Seth J. Frantzman HALL OF FAME on June 7, 2008
Format: Hardcover
This short and interesting account of the Egyptian Expeditionary Force examines the campaign in Sinai and Palestine in the First World War largely from the perspective of the soldiers themselves. This is a charming and interesting read that tells of life in the desert and the hardscabble and sweaty existence of the troops forced to march across Sinai, watching the exceedingly slow progress of the railroad tracks being built, assault Gaza in a series of disastrous thrusts at the Turkis right flank and finally march on Jerusalem, up the Jordan valley and fight at Megiddo. It was a fascinating campaign, one the Germans described as 'pure' because it was fought in the desert. This is a good histor from the point of view of the soldier but it is not a thorough history of the campaign and certainly neglects the larger picture. Nevertheless it is an important contrbution to work on the First World War in the Middle East, a very interesing topic.

Seth J. Frantzman
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By James D. Crabtree VINE VOICE on February 10, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Although the title sounds as if the book will be about the entire campaign in the Middle East it concentrates primarily on the Sinai-Palestine campaigns as told mostly in first person accounts.

While extremely interesting in that it discusses details of life and campaigning as experienced by the typical soldier it loses the "big picture" fairly quickly (despite discussions of foibles and weaknesses of the British generals in command) and never really explains to the reader what Austrians and Germans are doing in Palestine. Still, not a bad book and definitely something you would want if studying the WWI campaigns in the region as a whole. I highly recommend it.
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