Verdun: The Longest Battle of the Great War, by Paul Jankowski
Oxford & New York: Oxford University Press, 2014. Pp. xii, 324. Illus., maps, chron., notes, biblio., index. $34.95. ISBN: 0199316899.
An Outstanding Account of the Most Iconic Battle of the Great War
originally published in France in 2013, is hard to categorize. Prof. Jankowski (Brandeis) gives us an outstanding account of the battle, which lasted 30
days, from late February through mid-December of 1916, and has come to stand as an iconic symbol of all the horrors of the Great War.
But Jankowski does far more than merely give us a history of the battle. Jankowski makes frequent comparisons between Verdun and other battles, many that were both bloodier and more decisive, and explores why this battle rose to such symbolic status. He explores the many myths of the battle, what it was all about being one of them, looks at the life of the men in the trenches and the thinking of their generals and political leaders, how tactics and technology evolved during the fighting, examines the surprisingly similar ups and downs in
of the troops
on both sides, and more.
That “more” covers the postwar influence of the battle
. This includes the erection of the many monuments and the frequent observances that marked the site,
international veterans’ gathering in the name of peace
the German veterans gave the Nazi salute!
continuing status in public
Jankowski has written what is clearly one of the best books on Verdun, and one well worth reading by anyone interested in war.
Reviewer: A.A. Nofi, Review Editor
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