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The British Army and the First World War


Part of Armies of the Great War

  • Date Published: May 2017
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521183741

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About the Authors
  • This is a major new history of the British army during the Great War written by three leading military historians. Ian Beckett, Timothy Bowman and Mark Connelly survey operations on the Western Front and throughout the rest of the world as well as the army's social history, pre-war and wartime planning and strategy, the maintenance of discipline and morale and the lasting legacy of the First World War on the army's development. They assess the strengths and weaknesses of the army between 1914 and 1918, engaging with key debates around the adequacy of British generalship and whether or not there was a significant 'learning curve' in terms of the development of operational art during the course of the war. Their findings show how, despite limitations of initiative and innovation amongst the high command, the British army did succeed in developing the effective combined arms warfare necessary for victory in 1918.

    • Provides a comprehensive survey of the British army in the First World War
    • Offers an overview of British strategy and operations globally, rather than just focusing on the Western Front
    • Sheds new light on controversies surrounding generalship and the army's learning during the course of the war
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'Written by three scholars at the top of their game, The British Army and the First World War is a timely analysis, an invaluable work of reference, and a stimulus for further study.' Edward M. Spiers, University of Leeds

    'The elegantly-crafted and crisply-written outcome of the combined knowledge and expertise of three renowned historians of British military culture, this book is an event in historical studies of the First World War. Both rich in scope and rigorously tight in its probing analyses and many salty judgements, it opens a commanding door on the character and conduct of the British Army, especially in the theatre of the war which mattered most - Europe.' Bill Nasson, University of Stellenbosch, South Africa

    '… a very well written, measured account of high quality. At the price, the paperback is an essential purchase.' The Society of Friends of the National Army Museum Book Review Supplement

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    Product details

    • Date Published: May 2017
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521183741
    • length: 482 pages
    • dimensions: 228 x 152 x 25 mm
    • weight: 0.7kg
    • contains: 10 b/w illus. 19 maps
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. The pre-war army
    2. The Officer Corps
    3. A nation in arms: regulars, TF, volunteers and conscripts
    4. Citizen soldiers: discipline, morale and the experience of war
    5. British strategy and the British army
    6. The Western Front, 1914
    7. The Western Front, 1915
    8. The Western Front, 1916
    9. The Western Front, 1917
    10. The Western Front, 1918
    11. Beyond the Western Front
    Select bibliography

  • Authors

    Ian Beckett, University of Kent, Canterbury
    Professor Ian Beckett is now Honorary Professor at the University of Kent, having retired from there as Professor of Military History in 2015. His many publications include The Making of the First World War (2012), The Great War, 2nd edition (2007), Ypres: The First Battle, 1914 (2006), The First World War: The Essential Guide to Sources in the UK National Archives (2002) and, edited with Keith Simpson, the pioneering A Nation in Arms: A Social Study of the British Army in the First World War (1985). He is a past chairman of the Army Records Society, and is secretary of the Buckinghamshire Military Museum Trust.

    Timothy Bowman, University of Kent, Canterbury
    Dr Timothy Bowman is Senior Lecturer in Modern British Military History at the University of Kent, where he teaches on the BA Military History and MA First World War Studies programmes. He is the author of Irish Regiments in the Great War: Discipline and Morale (2003), Carson's Army: The Ulster Volunteer Force, 1910–22 (2007) and, with Mark Connelly, The Edwardian Army: Recruiting, Training and Deploying the British Army, 1902–1914 (2012). He is Secretary of the Army Records Society.

    Mark Connelly, University of Kent, Canterbury
    Mark Connelly is Professor of Modern British History at the University of Kent, where he runs the interdisciplinary MA programme, First World War Studies. His main research interests are in the fields of modern military history, war and commemoration, and the public image of the armed forces. He is Director of the AHRC-funded centre for public engagement with the Great War centenary, Gateways to the First World War, and is lead convenor of the War, Society and Culture seminar programme at the Institute of Historical Research. He is also a consultant to the BBC's World War One at Home project and is a member of the government's schools battlefields tours project run by the Institute of Education, as well as being a member of the advisory committee for the Imperial War Museum's Lives of the First World War and the National Archive's Operation War Diary projects. He is currently researching the nature of Ypres as a memory site, working in close collaboration with the In Flanders Fields Museum, Ieper/Ypres. Among his publications are The Great War: Memory and Ritual; Steady the Buffs! A Regiment, a Region and the Great War; The Edwardian Army: Recruiting, Training and Deploying the British Army, 1902–1914 (with Tim Bowman); and Creating Celluloid Memorials: British Instructional Films and the Memory of the First World War.

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