Everything is in the title. It does exactly what it says on the tin.  This excellent book does not set out to be encyclopaedic, nor does it claim to be anything other than a really usable introduction to the war.  Written by an author and battlefield guide who has a great knowledge of the Western Front, it takes us through the years of conflict in concise and entertaining style.  The Western Front may have been the fulcrum of the war, but the author doesn’t ignore events in other places, such as Eastern Europe, Arabia, Africa and further afield.

I like to think I know a good bit about the Great War, but am wary of the ‘expert’ tag and am lucky to know a few people I would genuinely place in that category. This book may not be for experts but that is not the point.  If you are interested in the war and want to know more about the causes and the course of events, then this is a fantastic place to start.  I wish I’d had this book years ago.

What I hope it will do is encourage the reader to get out to the places where things happened and see just how much remains – be it cemeteries, memorials or the vestiges of the battlefields themselves. From here you can progress to the Holt and Battleground Europe guides, load up the car and set off.  It’s that simple. All you have to do is genuinely want to go. For me it is a no brainer and Philip Stevens seems to be of a same mind.  His book will make the decision process all the more easy for you.

Mark Barnes.

By Philip Stevens.
Published in hardback by Pen & Sword Military £19.99
ISBN: 978 1 84884 764 4


Mark Barnes

Mark Barnes is a longstanding friend of WHO, providing features, photography and reviews. He has contributed to The Times of London and other publications. He is the author of The Liberation of Europe (pub 2016) and If War Should Come due later in 2020.