The Marne, 1914: The Opening of World War I and the Battle That Changed the World

Holger H. Herwig, Author . Random $28 (391p) ISBN 978-1-4000-6671-1

Herwig's engrossing narrative of the first battle of the Marne in 1914, really a history of the first six weeks of fighting on the western front, treats the clash as a study in best-laid plans gone awry. The chaos and miscalculation that derailed both the German and French armies' meticulously wrought strategies owed much, Herwig shows, to a new and ghastly style of warfare in which machine guns and heavy artillery rendered courage irrelevant. But his account is also an analysis of generalship, pitting the German commander, Helmuth von Moltke, a weak leader who lost his grip on his armies in the midst of dazzling successes, and French Gen. Joseph Joffre, who imperturbably slapped together new defenses amid disastrous defeats. Herwig combines colorful evocations of the horrors of the fighting with a lucid operational history of the campaign. An immense bloodbath that was supposed to be climactic but proved only a prelude to worse carnage, the Marne becomes, in Herwig's telling, an apt microcosm of the war to end all wars. 16 pages of b&w photos; maps. (Dec. 1)

Reviewed on: 10/19/2009
Release date: 12/01/2009
Genre: Nonfiction
Open Ebook - 321 pages - 978-1-58836-909-3
Paperback - 391 pages - 978-0-8129-7829-2
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