Verdun was the largest, the longest and the bloodiest battle between the French and Germans in the First World War, lasting from February 1916 until the end of the year and claiming more than 700,000 casualties. For the French in particular, it was always more than just a battle, being rather (in Paul Valery's words) 'a complete war in itself, inserted in the Great War'. Ian Ousby's book gives a vivid, insightful account of the general's planning and the troops' suffering. It challenges the narrow horizons of military history by locating the experience of Verdun in how the French thought about themselves, their nation and their relations with their eastern neighbour. Verdun emerges as the mid-point in the cycle of Franco-German hostility, carrying both the burden of history and the seeds of the future.
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"If you haven't seen Verdun, you haven't seen anything of war," said one veteran infantryman of the First World War, referring to a particularly gruesome episode in a four-year clash known for its monotonous brutality. More than 300,000 men were killed at Verdun, out of more than 700,000 total casualties. "By any standards, the figures are formidable: almost one death a minute, day and night, for the ten months that the battle lasted," writes Ian Ousby, who expresses astonishment at "how much suffering was expended and how many lives were lost over strips of ground so small, so insignificant." It began in February, 1916, when the Germans launched an offensive against the French. Neither army made much headway against the other, even as the deaths on both sides rose to staggering proportions. This was typical of the trench warfare of the time. In one sense, Verdun was not much different from other battles in the war; Ousby even calls it a "microcosm" of the larger conflict. Yet, he also argues that it was the war's bleakest and most hopeless scene of engagement. Ousby offers a chronicle of the fighting, and writes from the French perspective--much of the book, in fact, ruminates on the meaning of French nationalism. This combination of military and intellectual history makes The Road to Verdun a top-rate addition to First World War literature. --John MillerFrom the Inside Flap:
A powerfully immediate and controversial account of one of the longest and bloodiest engagements of World War I.
In mid-February 1916, the Germans launched a surprise major offensive at Verdun, an important fortress in northeast France. By mid-March, more than 90,000 French troops had been killed or wounded. The fighting continued for seven long months, with casualties on both sides mounting in astonishing numbers. By the end of the year, the battle had claimed more than 700,000 victims. The butchery had little impact on the course of the war, and Verdun soon became the most potent symbol of the horrors of the war in general, and of trench warfare in particular.
Ian Ousby offers a radical, iconoclastic reevaluation of the meaning and import of this cataclysmic battle in The Road to Verdun. Moving beyond the narrow focus of most military historians, he argues that the French bear a tremendous responsibility for the senseless slaughter. In a work that merges intellectual substance and great battle writing, Ousby shows that the roots of the disaster lay in the French national character?the grandiose, even delusional way they perceived themselves, and their relentless determination to demonize Germans, which began in the debacle of the Franco-Prussian War. Ousby analyzes the generals? battle plans, and provides a graphic, gripping account of the deprivations and inhumane suffering of the troops who manned the trenches. His incisive, moving descriptions make it painfully clear why the influential French critic and poet Paul Val?ry called Verdun ?a complete war in itself, inserted in the Great War.?
In telling the story of Verdun, Ousby demonstrates that the confrontation marked a critical midpoint in Franco-German hostility. The battle not only carried the burden of history, but with the presence on the battlefield of France?s future leaders?including Pétain and de Gaulle?it fed an increasingly venomous enmity between France and Germany, and lay the groundwork for World War II.
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Descripción Pimlico, 2003. Paperback. Estado de conservación: New. Never used!. Nº de ref. de la librería P110712664300
Descripción Pimlico. PAPERBACK. Estado de conservación: New. 0712664300 New Condition. Nº de ref. de la librería NEW7.1985713
Descripción Pimlico, 2003. Paperback. Estado de conservación: New. Nº de ref. de la librería DADAX0712664300