The Road to Verdun: World War I's Most Momentous Battle and the Folly of Nationalism


      The Road to Verdun: World War I's Most Momentous Battle and the Folly of Nationalism
On February 21, 1916, the Germans launched a surprise offensive at Verdun, an important fortress in northeastern France, sparking a brutal and protracted conflict that would claim than 700,000 victims The carnage had little impact on the course of the war, and Verdun ultimately came to symbolize the absurdity and horror of trench warfare.Ian Ousby offers a radical reevaluation of this cataclysmic battle, arguing that the French bear tremendous responsibility for the senseless slaughter He shows how the battle s roots lay in the Franco Prussian war and how its legacy helped lay the groundwork for World War II Merging intellectual substance with superb battle writing, The Road to Verdun is a moving and incisive account of one of the most important battles of the twentieth century. Read The Road to Verdun: World War I's Most Momentous Battle and the Folly of Nationalism By Ian Ousby – cricketworldcuplivestreaming.com

I an Ousby s life began and ended in tragedy The birth was tragic, or at least bleak, because his army officer father had been stabbed to death in the India of 1947, independence year, while his mother was pregnant with him The death was tragic, or at least deeply sad, because his industry, insight, versatility, critical and literary skills, which had created a considerable reputation for him as a writer in diverse fields, have been cut off by cancer at the relatively early age of 54 Ousby never seemed a very contemporary figure and eschewed fashion and fashions of all kinds Mannered and slightly languid but not eccentric in speech and dress, he was an essentially shy man who was able, through the clarity of his thought and the manner of his expression, to get trenchantly to the heart of the matter, somewhat like a 19th century essayist but without a hint of the dilettante As writer, scholar and broadcaster, his contributions ranged through several genres the study of detective fiction, travel, literature and modern French history among them His readers were far flung his book on the American novel was translated into Russian, on detectives in fiction into Japanese Born in Marlborough, Wiltshire, he had a reputation as a rebel at school, Bishop s Stortford College A young and liberal headmaster was not quite liberal enough for Ousby, and he fulminated in the school magazine, of which he was editor, against the public schools as the last institutions in which changes in national attitude, thought or social pattern are reflected An active member of CND from his early teens, he would go on the Easter marches, and proselytised in the provinces for the newly published Private Eye Yet all this was misleading Pitchforked into American student unrest at the end of the 1960s when he went to Harvard for his doctorate, he found the radicalism unpleasant and the time wasting unacceptable Writing from Cambridge, Massachusetts, in 1972, he observed Mercifully, political consciousness seems to have diminished, so they the students won t be going on strike all the time The author of several books on early tourism and of Blue Guides to Literary Britain and Ireland 1985 , England 1989 and Burgundy 1992 , he had most recently been working on a major study, The Road to Verdun France, Nationalism and the First World War, news of which has been greeted with excited anticipation in the world of books, and which will be published early next year As a young man Ousby had quoted Martin Luther King approvingly You can never get rid of a problem as long as you hide the problem In private life, like many or most of us, he probably failed to live up to that in his writing, he triumphantly exemplified its message Biography source

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  • Paperback
  • 432 pages
  • The Road to Verdun: World War I's Most Momentous Battle and the Folly of Nationalism
  • Ian Ousby
  • English
  • 15 June 2018
  • 0385721730

10 thoughts on “ The Road to Verdun: World War I's Most Momentous Battle and the Folly of Nationalism

  1. says:

    Buyer beware his book is NOT a classic study of the battle of Verdun February October 1916 and has a distinct schizophrenic feel Ousby did not set out to write a battle history, but couldn t properly examine the mentality surrounding Verdun without dipping a toe in the trenches Unfortunately, the two halves don t quite come together, even if the middle chapters that concern themselves with the fight proper also focus with martial vocabulary such astenir, cran d faillance which was Buyer beware his book is NOT a classic study of the battle of Verdun February October 1916 and has a distinct schizophrenic feel Ousby did not set out to write a battle history, but couldn t properly examine the mentality surrounding Verdun without dipping a toe in the trenches Unfortunately, the two halves don t quite come together, even if the middle chapters that concern themselves with the fight proper also focus with martial vocabulary such astenir, cran d faillance which was applied liberally in inspiring communiqu s to the troops, yet at the same time maintained the divide between themselves and the wo...

  2. says:

    I would probably give this book a 3.5 rating if possible because the part on the battle itself is quite well done, but I must admit that the philosophical angle left me tepid I realize that some people find it interesting, however, I frankly admit I m not one of those people I think the author wanted to dothan just recount the battle, which is fine, but I suspect most of those who fought there were just happy to have surv...

  3. says:

    Douaumont, to judge from the Paris press during the battle of Verdun, mattered and did not matter it was an asset and a liability Its loss was no defeat to speak of, yet its recapture would be a great victory If it were recaptured tomorrow the French would have cause for national celebration, yet if it remained in German hands they need not worry p 117 Only half of this book is about the battle itself The rest, as the title says, is about the road to Verdun, a social and politicalDouaumont, to judge from the Paris press during the battle of Verdun, mattered and did not matter it was an asset and a liability Its loss was no defeat to speak of, yet its recapture would be a great victory If it were recaptured tomorrow the French would have cause for national celebration, yet if it remained in German hands they need not worry p 117 Only half of this book is about the battle itself The rest, as the title says, is about the road to Verdun, a social and political history of France between 1870 and 1914 Readers looking for a purely military history will be disappointed, and some of the reviews of the book reflect that However, Verdun was not just a battle, it was a line in the sand, a complicated statement about France s view of itself that fa...

  4. says:

    A very good book on the First World War among the best that I have read It does a very good job of connecting past 1870 , present 1916 and future The emotional side of war in the trenches is well brought out by diary excerpts The leaders as well as the Poilu are described The impact of the war of 1870 is explained Verdun is near Metz which at the time was territory occupied by Germany European antagonisms are well brought out The historical flow of France and Germany are well A very good book on the First World War among the best that I have read It does a very good job of connecting past 1870 , present 1916 and future The emotional side of war in the trenches is well brought out by diary excerpts The leaders as well as the Poilu are described The impact of the war of 1870 is e...

  5. says:

    Ousby s book is less a conventional military history of the battle of Verdun than a study in the sociology of the war, and has a greater emphasis on questions of why Ousby s main goal is to explain how the historical events and the rise of nationalism made the battle possible, which is both interesting and at times seemingly irrelevant if you want to read a history of the battle of Verdun that includes Julius Caesar, the Gauls, the Franks, Louis XIV, Louis XVI, Napoleon Bonaparte, and Ousby s book is less a conventional military history of the battle of Verdun than a study in the sociology of the war, and has a greater emphasis on questions of why Ousby s main goal is to explain how the historical events and the rise of nationalism made the battle possible, which is both interesting and at times seemingly irrelevant if you want to read a history of the battle of Verdun that includes Julius Caesar, the Gauls, the Franks, Louis XIV, Louis XVI, Napoleon Bonaparte, and Napoleon III, this is the book for you Once you get past the confusing and poorly written prologue which, absurdly, isthan fifty pages long , Ousby finally gets around to the story of Verdun, examining...

  6. says:

    A hard read about a battle fought in trenches for years costing thousands of lives, it was finally won by the Americans 3 days before the Armistice My interest was because my dad, an ambulance driver in the U.S Army w...

  7. says:

    How was a battle like Verdun possible The question has been answered often in its political, military, and technological aspects, but here Ian Ousby sets out to find its social origins At first this might sound odd, but consider that about 70% of the French army was rotated through the meat grinder of Verdun during the battle of February to December 1916 with at least 150,000 dying there and leaving the front line little changed Why did men put themselves through this We know that politics How was a battle like Verdun possible The question has been answered often in its political, military, and technological aspects, but here Ian Ousby sets out to find its social origins At first this might sound odd, but consider that about 70% of the French army was rotated through the meat grinder of Verdun during the battle of February to December 1916 with at least 150,000 dying there and leaving the front line little changed Why did men put themselves through this We know that pol...

  8. says:

    Densely written but excellent book about one of the most horrific battles of all times the historical underpinnings, why it was fought, how officers and men prepared to fight it, what they experienced as opposed to what they expected to experience and most important of all, what it came to mean in the national mythology of the French and German people That the battle of Verdun that the Great War led to loss of life that is staggering, isn t a revelation to anyone who has read about World Densely written but excellent book about one of the most horrific battles of all times the historical underpinnings, why it was fought, how officers and men prepared to fight it, what they experienced as opposed to what they expected to experience and most important of all, what it came to mean in the national mythology of the French and German people That the battle of Verdun that the Great War led to...

  9. says:

    liked it, at first didn t like that the middle chapter moved away from the battle but after going over my notes and reading the prologue i came to appreciate itimo don t read this without some knowledge of ww1 and verduni admittedly didn t know much about verdun going in which might have impacted my initial reactionwhile a lot of great ideas are looked at, part of me wishes the author would ve just spent time on one theme and explored iti do like that i got some good sources for liked it, at first didn t like that the middle chapter moved away from the battle but after going over my notes and reading the prologue i came to appreciate itimo don t read this without some knowledge of ww1 and verduni admittedly didn t know much about verdun going in which might have impacted my initial reactionwhile a lo...

  10. says:

    I felt that the author appropriately addressed what I had expected Specifically, to invite the reader to consider whether Verdun was a vindication or indictment of militant nationalism.The author s narrative kept me engaged and fired my imagination For example, the imagery associated with a small French unit moving to the front They re the next course it ll be time to serve another before long, since the ogre has a taste for sport Well worth the time spent in cons...

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