Peter Hart. Oxford Univ., $34.95 (560p) ISBN 978-0-119-83686-4
Hart, oral historian of Britain's Imperial War Museum, focuses on the Gallipoli campaign. This book depends more on archival work and on recent Turkish and French research than Hart's earlier collaboration with Nigel Steelin, Defeat at Gallipoli. But the human element still defines this compelling account of an operation Hart dismisses as a "lunacy that never could have succeeded," driven by wishful thinking as opposed to the professional analysis of ends and means. Such alleged strategic benefits as reducing pressure on Russia, says Hart, were largely ephemeral. Plans lacked focus. Logistics were inefficient. Troops were poorly trained and badly led. The often-overlooked French were effective, but poorly used on the Helles front. The Turkish army, on the other hand, profited from its defeat in the Balkan War of 1911–1912 and from its military relationship with Germany; the Turkish army won the battle of Gallipoli even more than the Allies lost it, according to Hart. There remains ample blame to distribute. Hart excoriates the haphazard romanticism of First Lord of the Admiralty Winston Churchill. He is more scathing in describing Gen. Ian Hamilton's on-the–spot fecklessness. He is at his best, however, in explaining and presenting the "near-superhuman courage and endurance" of the combatants. That remains Gallipoli's enduring appeal. Maps. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 07/18/2011
Release date: 00/00/0000
Genre: Nonfiction
Hardcover - 534 pages - 978-1-84668-159-2
Paperback - 544 pages - 978-0-19-936127-4
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