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The Myriad Faces of War: Britain and the Great War 1914-1918 Paperback – January, 1989

4.7 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

This Australian historian is moved by two convictions: that historians can speak to the general reader, and that World War I was worthwhile. He goes far toward demonstrating both in this vigorous chronicle of British military, political, diplomatic, and social life (in more or less that order of predominance) during the war years. His military history is detailed and colorful; his curiously detached analysis of participation in the war as a policy decision is intriguing and thorough. A solid, accessible account, recommended for larger collections and worth considering for academic and general collections of any size. Nancy C. Cridland, Indiana Univ. Libs., Bloomington
Copyright 1986 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Trevor Wilson, Emeritus Professor of the University of Adelaide, is one of the world's leading military historians concentrating in particular on the First World War. With Robin Prior as co-author he has written four books on that subject including The Somme and Passchendaele. Faber Finds are reissuing his magnum opus, The Myriad Faces of War, as well as The Downfall of the Liberal Party, 1914-1935. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 880 pages
  • Publisher: Blackwell Pub (January 1989)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0745606458
  • ISBN-13: 978-0745606453
  • Product Dimensions: 2 x 6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,623,714 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is just an _outstanding_ piece of research. I will admit my bias and acknowledge that I studied under Professor Wilson in 1986 (the year of its publication) and again in 1990, and admire both the man and the scholar, but by any measure this book is definitely one for any collection on World War I.

Not only is the research broad and deep, but extremely digestible, even for the general reader. Part of this is the way Wilson infuses detailed analysis of political, social, economic and military aspects of the campaign into his book with the human face of war in Britain - the impact on participants: all ranks, those back home (of all classes), plus attention to the lesser known aspects of the war.

I found the two chapters dealing with the Irish regular soldier - who joined with his elder brother (subsequently killed) before the war and participated in the battles of Mons, the Aisne and Neuve Chapelle - incredibly compelling and, in places, touching. The author was clearly a gifted raconteur, but his tale is gripping - and Wilson weaves it into his text expertly. Other human elements include the socio-economic-political impact of the war on the British economy (and thereafter), with numerous diary extracts sprinkled liberally throughout (from nurses, politicians, clergy, soldiers, unionists and conscientious objectors) offering anecdotal first-hand accounts. This is one of the great strengths of the book - and it gives the reader a much deeper sense of involvement in the text. At least, this was what I felt.

No book of this length can cover all aspects of such a complex conflict.
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Format: Hardcover
First of all, the author was born in New Zealand, so why he is called an Australian I do not know. The book pays very little attention to the Dominions--it is written strictly from a British viewpoint and examines exhaustively events in Britain druing the war, as well as all aspects of the war which relate to England. There are more than 150 pages of text which follow the account of the Armistice, talking about the effects of the War on society, economics, etc. The book has footnotes (where they belong, at the "foot" of the page) but lacks any bibliography. I have read scores of books on the Great War, and consider it one of my favorite reading topics, but I found this one a chore to read at times. A better book written from a similar perspective is Blighty: British Society in the Era of the Great War, by Gerard J. DeGroot. Also more interesting in general I thought was The Deluge: British Society and the First World War, by Arthur Marwick.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
It is by far the best book I read on GB and the 1st WW. The role of GB is extensively mentioned and examined in all Anglo Saxon books that i read about the war but nowhere as deeply as intelligently and as thoroughly as this one. It is also both an honest and a humane book. It covers wonderfully both the general and the personal and it is elegantly written in a fine ,measured ,prose so that the General Reader will enjoy it as much as the Historian. It must be mentioned that the book is a major contribution in the Historiography of this war as it covers fields never examined before and it gives a complete picture of GB at war covering the Political ,diplomatic,military,social,economic ,colonial,maritime,and every day aspects of this Great Adventure and its aftermath.
To give just one example of its quality,the book manages in very few pages relative to the magnitude of the issue to analyse the Schlieffen plan and its flaws explaining on the same time succinctly the real strategic issues involved for Germany and the Allies and the flawed perceptions about war prevailing then. The aptly selected personal experience makes the book easier to read but also easier to understand the mentality of the era ,for soldiers and civilians,men and women alike. When one finishes the book he/she has acquired a profound understanding of not only the War but the whole of this period of the History of Britain.
The Author is a deep Thinker not just a Historian.
The book is a must for anyone who wishes to have a holistic view of Britain and the First World War
DVK
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