Review: The Great War (Griffiths/Griess, ed.)


The Great War: Strategies & Tactics of the First World War.

As part of The West Point Military History Series, the presentation of this book does not do justice to its text or to The United States Military Academy, whose faculty writes and edits the series.

The coverage of the topic is comprehensive, and tightly written, so as to take up only a few more pages than do the last two general history books reviewed on this blog, but its layout is that of a plain-vanilla textbook. That would not be so bad, if the illustrations were not so terribly substandard: they’re so small, dark and fuzzy, that they might as well not even be there.

A few small maps accompany the text, but for the most part, the reader is referred to a companion atlas, sold separately. An Appendix consisting of excerpts of orders promulgated by bigwigs among the belligerents is neither very interesting nor very helpful: one is mildly puzzled about the rationale for its being there.

A chronological table of events is awkwardly formatted with small print and huge blank margins. The excess of white apace could serve for note-taking, but this reader would have preferred a larger, more legible font size. A glossary contains few terms that need defining; most of the words have passed into common usage, and need no explanation.

The writing is good enough for a homeschool textbook at the high-school senior level, or for most adult readers. It’s not boring, but it is a bit short on sparkle.

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Filed under Book Reviews, First World War, Great War, Historical Fiction, Uncategorized, World War I

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