THE GERMANS IN FLANDERS 1917-1918
By David Bilton
Published by Pen & Sword
ISBN: 978 1 84884 650 0
Review by Mark Barnes for War History Online
This magnificent book is the third in a trilogy and thing that pees me off is I haven’t got the previous two volumes! The author has assembled a stunning collection of images showing the whole panoply of a war you might expect in the muddy and bloody horror that was Flanders in the last two years of the Great War. The photographs are many and varied and include postcards, aerial photos and occasional images of Allied soldiers – Portuguese Lewis gunners for example – and there are even a few shots of history repeating itself in 1940. I love the pictures of individual German soldiers accompanied by potted biographies. There are photographs of towns and villages I know well and I am pleased to see several of the coastal locations I am just getting to know. But it is in the mud that we recognise the real war and there is plenty of it here. The author explains the story of the war in the region from the German perspective made all the more prescient as things turned sour for the Kaiserreich. As a song of the time reminds us “In Flanders there are many soldiers/In Flanders there are many dead.” Lovely! We won’t be hearing that one on the X-Factor! The package is backed up with a chronology of events and a history of the divisions that fought there and, all in all, you are getting a solid piece of history for less than fifteen quid. What’s not to like?
These Images of War series books continue to hit the high notes for me. This one has been really well put together and I have to find the other two in the series now. I’ve heard criticisms of some of this range and maybe some of it sticks, but not with this one. Ten out ten.