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Annual Booklist 2016-2017 : Dr Michael LoCicero

Author of A Moonlight Massacre - The Night Operation on the Passchendaele Ridge, 2 December 1917: The Forgotten Last Act of the Third Battle of Ypres (Wolverhampton Military Studies: Helion, 2014); co-editor of We Are All Flourishing - The Letters and Diary of Captain Walter J.J. Coats MC 1914-1919 (Helion 2016)


Guy Chapman, A Passionate Prodigality (Ashford, Buchan & Enright reprint of 1933/1966 editions). I was, on arrival in the UK in 2007, surprised to learn that many of my former University of Birmingham colleagues had never heard of this classic memoir of wartime service with the 13th Royal Fusiliers. Praised by Brian Bond for its memorable prose and overall utility to historians in his Survivors of a Kind: Memoirs of the Western Front (Hambledon Continuum, 2008), A Passionate Prodigality is a must have for any Great War bookshelf.

Edward J. Erickson, Gallipoli: Command Under Fire (Osprey, 2015). An excellent comparative study of the operational level of war by a well-known Ottoman Army expert, this volume is perhaps one the most original studies to appear during the controversial campaign’s centenary.

F.C. Hitchcock, Stand To! A Diary of the Trenches 1915-1918 (Naval & Military Press reprint of 1937 edition). Perhaps the finest published diary by a British officer during the Great War, Anglo-Irish author Captain Francis Clare Hitchcock MC served with the 2nd Leinster Regiment from commission in spring 1915 to the armistice. Well-illustrated with the author’s maps and drawings, this volume is a poignant and compelling testimony to the trench warfare experience.

Robin Prior & Trevor Wilson, Passchendaele: The Untold Story (Third Edition: Yale University Press, 2016). This volume is, despite some perceived omissions and short-comings, still the best modern study of the controversial Flanders offensive of 1917. Combative in tone and highly critical of the politicians and high command, it is recommended that the reader maintain an open mind and draw his/her own conclusions based on the evidence provided therein before proceeding to more recent and related volumes. That being said, a new academic account of this great campaign has yet to be written and is my recommendation for the book-that-doesn’t-exist-but-should category.

Andy Simpson, Directing Operations: British Corps Command on the Western Front 1914-18 (Spellmount: 2005). A ground-breaking study of mid-level command management and control, this volume provides an invaluable framework for future studies of BEF operations during the Great War. A useful exercise would be the reading of Simpson’s monograph in conjunction with Anthony Leask’s recent tome Putty: From Tel-el-Kebir to Cambrai – The Life and Letters of Lieutenant-General Sir William Pulteney (Helion & Company, 2015).

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