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Mr Persico tells the story of the Great War (as WWI was called until Sep 1, 1939). He begins with the last day of the war and then takes us back to the war's start in 1914; each chapter begins with Nov 11, 1918 and we are horrified to learn that even though the armistice has been set, Allied commanders are bent on carrying out offensives in which thousands more die on that last day. He provides a structure for the book by telling us of the military strategy used by both sides (largely throwing wave upon wave of men over the tops of the trenches into the thresher of machine guns), the military commanders and political personalities. But Persico's gift is in telling the story of the trenches from interviews and diaries of the men. He tells of the first use of precision artillery that killed so many and made more crazy from the sound and earthquake tremors of hours long barrages.
There is such beauty to this story-in spite of the horrible loss of life and injury.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful
A personalized account of life on the front and battles in World War I, told largely from the documented record of those who were there.
While very insightful, the unabridged version finds itself repetitive and at times tedious. I would therefore recommend the ABRIDGED version instead.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful