Over two decades' research puts Lyn Macdonald among the greatest popular chroniclers of the First World War. In 1915: The Death of Innocence, from the poignant memories of participants, she has once again created an unforgettable slice of military history.
By the end of 1914, the battered British forces were bogged down, yet hopeful that promised reinforcements and spring weather would soon lead to a victorious breakthrough. A year later, after appalling losses at Aubers Ridge, Loos, Neuve Chapelle, Ypres and faraway Gallipoli, fighting seemed set to go on for ever. Drawing on extensive interviews, letters and diaries, this book brilliantly evokes the soldiers' dogged heroism, sardonic humour and terrible loss of innocence through 'a year of cobbling together, of frustration, of indecision'.
'It is rare to find a history of the First World War which manages to convey the front-line soldiers' experiences and to describe what it was that enabled those who survived to get through it. Lyn Macdonald has done just that' Sunday Times
Over the past twenty years Lyn Macdonald has established a popular reputation as an author and historian of the First World War. Her books are based on the accounts of eyewitnesses and survivors, told in their own words, and cast a unique light on the First World War. Most are published by Penguin.
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.