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The First Battle of the Marne

By: Robert B Asprey (572/35847)
Publisher: Widenfeld and Nicolson
(From The John Laffin Library)

Although the First Battle of the Marne was one which neither the Germans nor the French had expected to have to fight, it was the first great battle of World War I fought only a month after the war began by more than two million soldiers on a line that stretched from Paris nearly to the Swiss Alps. For both sides it provided a release for emotions which had been pent up since the Franco-Prussian War of 1870-71, and both sides were confident of victory.

This book gives a memorable account of that five-day battle, which was essentially a conflict of man against man, with most of the commanders as bewildered by the orders of their superiors as they were by the actions of the enemy.

When it was over, the German dream of a quick victory had vanished. Mobile warfare was, for the time being, impossible, and the stage was set for the terrible slaughters of 1915 and 1916, when scores of thousands of men were sacrificed for the conquest of a hundred yards of shell-blasted ground. As the author points out, the First Battle of the Marne "changed history as men thought to make it and war as men thought to fight it".

Based on careful research and set in historical perspective, The First Battle of the Marne follows in detail the action on both sides and presents both the large and small view of the fighting, from strategical decisions to the heroism of individual infantrymen.

June 2008

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