Liaison 1914, a Narrative of the Great Retreat

B2181

This is a substantial work, fluently written and well-supported by maps and very strong photo plate section. The foreword by Winston Churchill, who became a life long friend of the author, sets the context of the work. This is one book of WWI that no enthusiast can afford to be without, also a firm foundation for historians.

There are so many lessons in this book that it should become essential reading for school children in Britain and France. It also provides a foundation for understanding the land war through to victory in 1918. To highly commend this work is barely adequate to its value.

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NAME: Liaison 1914, a Narrative of the Great Retreat
DATE: 180315
FILE: R2181
AUTHOR: Edward Spears
PUBLISHER: Pen & Sword,
BINDING: hard back
PAGES: 588
PRICE: £30.00
GENRE: Non Fiction
SUBJECT: WWI, The Great War, 1914-1918, Western Front, the retreat, Royal Irish Hussars, Mons, Marne, Churchill
ISBN: 1-47382-746-9
IMAGE: B2181.jpg
BUYNOW: http://tinyurl.com/m7mn2dt
LINKS:
DESCRIPTION: This is a substantial work, fluently written and well-supported by maps and very strong photo plate section. The foreword by Winston Churchill, who became a life long friend of the author, sets the context of the work. This is one book of WWI that no enthusiast can afford to be without, also a firm foundation for historians.

The author was of junior rank in 1914 but, as a fluent French speaker, he was to become a vital link between the British and the French at the most critical stage of WWI. He was to become the point between success and failure and he performed superbly, being highly decorated by both the British and the French.

The senior British commanders tended to the cautious and their field commanders proved brilliant rear guards, fighting a numerically superior German invasion with a dogged determination that should make Britons then and now proud of their achievements. The French had a huge investment in ‘elan’ and this made them impetuous and fast to change positions. Linking the two armies by reliable communication maximised the potential of both and acted to reduce or avoid some of the matching weaknesses.

As that reliable communication, the author enjoyed a unique perspective of the BEF and their French allies and ensured that the BEF knew exactly where the French would be and where they intended to move. The French were able to encourage the British commander Sir John French as he ordered his force to fall back in order and then to take the centre between two French Armies to land a telling blow on the Germans and force them back to the Belgian border.

This is an incredible book that has unique authority. There was some controversy about the author during the events, but his decoration by France and Britain demonstrates the regard in which he was held and of the appreciation of his unusual contribution. As a 28 year old subaltern, the author not only held the most junior commissioned rank but was old for that rank. He spoke his mind before very senior officers and his dual fluency in English and French ensured that both sets of commanders clearly understood each other. Considering that neither army had been able to exercise together and that the alliance of Britain and France was in itself novel, the potential for misunderstanding was enormous. It is incredible but true that a very junior officer not only conveyed accurate information between the commanders, but that his forthright manner contributed to the decisions in a most unusual but supportive way.

There are so many lessons in this book that it should become essential reading for school children in Britain and France. It also provides a foundation for understanding the land war through to victory in 1918. To highly commend this work is barely adequate to its value.

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