A note on sources

I would love if people thought that this blog is the product of extensive archival research. Sadly it is not. Here is a quick outline of the things I have been consulting for this work or which have informed my thinking since I read them years ago. Rather than list them by author in the form of a traditional bibliography, I will post them here in roughly the order I read them.

The How and Why Wonder Book of the First World War (1967)
This may have been written by one Felix Sutton though I think the author was uncredited. The How And Why Wonder Books were a series of educational books for children, covering all kinds of topics. Their one on the First World War may well have been the first thing I read on that great conflict. It was a good enough introduction to the subject, for all that I recall it featuring a map of Europe that somehow gave Switzerland a coastline.

Dupuy, Trevor N. (1967) Military History of World War I
This tells the military history of the First World War in 12 relatively short volumes. I read it many years ago but it remains at the back of my mind. The late author was a US army officer and military historian.

Mills, Pat & Colquohon, Joe (1979-1985) Charley’s War
In my teenage years I read a lot of this war comic, which was published in the anthology title Battle. Although fiction, it had the attention to detail and accuracy of depiction of military kit that was standard for British war comics of the time. The strip also depicts the war with something approximating to unflinching accuracy; this was grim stuff and a world away from the “up and at ’em” material more common in the war comics. It has subsequently been reprinted in a series of deluxe hardback editions.

World War 1: Trenches on the Web
The Trenches on the Web people nabbed the prime URL http://www.worldwar1.com and filled it up with loads of fascinating things. Their timeline has been particularly useful to me.

Strachan, Hew (2003) The First World War
This was written to accompany a Channel 4 TV series on the same subject. It is a good one volume overview of the subject, both concise but also communicating the complexity of the whole business and the extent to which it was more than just a war fought in France.

McMeekin, Sean (2013) July 1914: Countdown to War
This is a fascinating account of the immediate run-up to the start of the First World War and anyone who has read it will see the debt my blog owes to this book. The analysis here of the period before the war is a bit non-standard but not so much so as to be tendentious.

Hastings, Max (2013) Catastrophe: Europe Goes to War 1914
This is a big book describing the period immediately before the war and then the fighting in Europe to the end of 1914. As Hastings points out, this was the bloodiest period of the war, for all that the likes of the Somme and Passchendaele loom larger in the Anglophone imagination. The book takes a more traditional line on the start of the war than McMeekin’s, seeing it as an attempt by Germany to win European hegemony.

Wilmott, H.P. (2012) World War I
This Dorling Kindersley book is very impressive. Aside from great maps, handy timelines, and some stunning illustrations, it features succinct description and analysis of a very high quality. If you wanted a book that would give you a narrative account of the war and also serve as a reference source then this might be the one. I am not just saying that because there is a dog on the front cover.
Image source (from the Dorling Kindersley website: your chance to buy your own copy of the book)

1915: an Illustrated History of the Great War (2014)
This glossy magazine format item is available in newsagents and provides a useful account of British and British Empire actions in the war.
Image source (Key Publishing Limited: your chance to buy this item)

I am unashamed. For all its limitations, this is an invaluable resource.

There are other things that I have read or will read for things coming up later in the war, but I will leave them unmentioned for now to avoid spoilers. I will revise this in due course to take account of them.

6 thoughts on “A note on sources

  1. Hi together, sorry to post my message here, but i did not find a contact form to ask you..

    i started a project on Kickstarter, that shows 100 retouched and restored graphic posters from ww1. Maybe its interesting for your community or some of your friends and collegues.. If you like or you think it makes sense to share, feel free to spread it to the World. Thanks for watching, cheers, Tim


  2. An Ambassador’s Memoirs, Maurice Paléologue. Gripping. 3 tatty vols
    £8.99 Carmarthen Oxfam. Bookplate Frederic Dunda Harford, diplomat. Poor poor Count Pourtalés…


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