Passchendaele: A New History review – necessary reading on the battle’s 100th anniversary

This post is by Ian Thomson from Books | The Guardian

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Nick Lloyd has unearthed a mass of new material for this harrowing account of one of the most infamous engagements of the Great WarPasschendaele has became synonymous with the carnage and perceived futility of the first world war. Between 31 July and 10 November 1917, some 500,000 men were killed or maimed. Such a “murderous shambles”, writes Nick Lloyd, was nevertheless hailed by Field Marshal Sir Douglas Haig, commander of the British Expeditionary Force, as a hard-won victory for the allies. Lloyd, a military historian at King’s College London, has retrieved an abundance of new material from archives, libraries and Red Cross files across western Europe. The German army’s terrible suffering is duly explored, as well as that of Canadian and Anzac infantrymen. Published on the eve of Passchendaele’s 100th anniversary, the book is harrowing but necessary. Continue reading...