Book review by Ann Clayton.
Both authors, being Senior Lecturers in the Department of War Studies at Sandhurst, demonstrate their ability to analyse the complexities of military actions, and this hundred-day campaign was more complex than most. It was also 'the greatest in British military history', and the one 'in which ground forces under British command exercised the most influence on the history of the world in the twentieth century'. So the book opens: why is the campaign so little known relative to others like the Somme, or even the March 1918 retreat? One aspect could have been that a certain war weariness had set in at home, so that the campaign never became a major item on the national consciousness or media agenda at the time. The authors address this question throughout the book, looking at morale, Dominion participation, Haig’s role, fighting methods - all the things which contributed to the steep learning curve which is so often alluded to these days. At last the BEF could put into action all that had been learned during the war. The book is well-produced, with surprisingly large and well-spaced print, and a comprehensive index and bibliography are included together with substantial footnotes. Readers may not agree with all the arguments and conclusions, but they will not be able to deny the wealth of scholarship which has gone into Amiens to the Armistice.
[This review first appeared in the journal of The Western Front Association Stand To! Issue 56 September 1999. This and other copies of Stand To! are available to read online to members by signing in using their Member Login]
Amiens to the Armistice: The BEF in the Hundred Days' Campaign 8 August - 11 November 1918
By J P Harris and Niall Barr