Review: Raiding on the Western Front (Saunders)


Raiding on the Western Front.

This is the most sloppily written and poorly edited history book I have had the misfortune of reading. It is rife with grammatical, spelling and punctuation errors. The syntax is often an utter muddle, with badly written sentences and poorly constructed paragraphs.

The relatively few end notes are numbered. The bibliography relies mainly on secondary sources, including four of the author’s own books. It does cite British unit diaries and military training materials among the official documents consulted, but the only identifiable genuine German source is Jünger’s Storm of Steel. The index lists a great many American, Australian, Canadian and German units (very few French), which apparently were gleaned from the secondary sources. Most of the photos in the glossy section are reproduced in the back cover collage. There are a couple of maps, a page of pictures of various styles of cudgels and knives, and two simple schematics of explosive weapons, which are not very informative.

As a collection of anecdotes about trench raids during the First World War, it serves basic research purposes. Otherwise, it comes across as a rough draft of text describing raw data, rushed into print without the benefit of proper editing or revision.

The physical presentation of this book is impressive, in hardcover with colorized period photos on the front, but the text has far too many problems to reflect any credit on a writer who claims to have earned a PhD.

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