[Joseph E. Persico] Å Eleventh Month, Eleventh Day, Eleventh Hour: Armistice Day, 1918 [amish PDF] Ebook Epub Download ê Interesting history of World War I that interpersed events on the last day, 11 11 18, with earlier events in the war Learned that there were a large number of casulties on all sides on the last day even though military commanders knew that the Armistice was signed It was particularly poignant to read of so many killed when the cease fire was only hours and, in many cases, minutes away.
I vividly remember reading The Donkeys by Alan Clarke the title comes from the phrase, lions led by donkeys many years ago that described the total incompetence of the British Expeditionary Force generals in WW I They were completely unable to adapt to new technologies and insisted on fighting with tactics of previous wars Joseph Persico doesn t let them off lightly either although that s not his primary mission The Eleventh Month, Eleventh Day refers to the time and date of the eventual Armistice He jumps back and forth between the Armistice and the deeds that lead up to it a process I found somewhat disconcerting at first General Douglas Haig, a master at manipulating his social contacts, eventually rose to the top slimy oil usually does even though he failed the entrance exams to the British Staff College, usually a prerequisite for command He also had no regard for the machine gun unremarkable weapon that was to revolutionize the battlefield and kill virtually an entire male generation In one battle it cost the deaths of 9 men per yard gained and in most cases that same piece of ground was traded back within a few days Apparently, there is a new book out that attempts to resurrect Haig s reputation, but I have not read it.
Lest anyone doubt the power of the cast system, Stephen Budiansky in Battle of Wits The Complete Story of Codebreaking in World War II remarks on Robert Graves entrance into the Royal Welsh Fusiliers whose members were expected to have a private income in order to play polo and hunt and keep up the social reputation of that regiment For those odd cases in which the rules were waived as in Graves situation they were always referred to as warts and were informed that they could not expect to receive a medal for any feats on the battlefield The donkeys were a major part of the caste system.
Persico uses the last minutes of the war multiple examples of the ending of All Quiet on the Western Front great book as a springboard to reflect on events leading up to the last minutes of the war Ironically, often the decision when to quit fighting was left up to individual unit commanders, and even though they knew the armistice had been signed and exactly when it was to take effect, some decided to continue fighting until the absolute last minute Some nifty quotes Douglas MacArthur was an infantry officer known for his bravado and reluctance to stay in proper uniform When asked why he adopted this behavior, he replied, It s the orders you disobey that make you famous I wonder if Harry Truman was aware of that proclivity Several reviewers have complained the book wasn t kind enough to the generals nor supportive enough of the war, in general Tough shit Some 6500 allied soldiers died in the six hours between signing the armistice and 11 00 when it was to take effect That s appalling Other reviewers complain it s too elementary or not comprehensive, etc Nonsense.
After reading WW I books, one is often left with a huge question mark just what did the millions of deaths accomplish other than to set the stage for Hitler and the next big one It was cousins fighting each other King George, Tsar Nicholas, and Kaiser Wilhelm were all grandchildren of Queen Victoria over diplomatic slights and tensions that had been brewing for the previous four decades leading to misperceptions and a continuing battle between those who wanted to whip up a nationalist frenzy and imperialists One can only have wished the family might have slugged it out in the backyard somewhere rather than by killing off almost an entire generation of men.
Persico has done a marvelous job of integrating individual stories with their context in the larger scheme of things It s very readable and And the peace barely lasted a generation before falling apart.
This is a sobering book and not an easy one to digest An observation in the book states that despite 4 years of war, the participants still couldn t figure out how to stop the movement to battle Here we follow French, British, American, and German troops as they fight and die minutes before the cease fire at 11 00 AM, 11 11 1918 and some even after the official end Seldom will you find a blatant example of the madness and waste of war The book jumps between the last day of the war and various times earlier in the conflict, all the way back to the start To fully appreciate it, you should have a basic familiarity with the major phases and battles from beginning to end The craziness of attacking German machine gun positions at 10 40 AM is contrasted with earlier battles Here is a raw view of the battles around Verdun view spoiler GENERALS DEALT WITH war at the wholesale level, but troops fought it retail, as Ren Naegelen again discovered The fighting ebbed and flowed over the same exhausted ground The village of Fleury was lost, retaken, and lost again sixteen times in four months Fort Vaux changed hands thirteen times in one month, with men dying for ground that would not matter a half hour later Fighting underground was as fierce as that above as both sides honeycombed the surrounding hills with tunnels too low for a grown man to stand in The foes encountered each other like burrowing animals, clashing with rifles, grenades, even machine guns, their bullets ricocheting off stone walls, tipping end over end, causing horrendous wounds The miasma of gunpowder fumes and dust in these airless spaces felled men by asphyxiation The concussive force of grenades rattled men s brains to the point of madness.
Naegelen thought he had gone insane He had huddled in a shell hole in front of Fort Vaux with two mates when a shell exploded above them, lifting Naegelen from the ground, then slamming him back to earth He cautiously moved his arms and legs Nothing, he concluded with relief My two friends, however, lying one upon the other, were bleeding Both bodies were torn open, and one man unbuttoned his trousers and died urinating on the gaping wound of his comrade Amid the madness, Naegelen recalled thinking, I was twenty and I had never embraced a woman I had never felt her warm, naked skin against my eager body I thought I would die on the very threshold of my wretched lifehide spoiler From the author s introductionMy purpose here is not to offer still another history of the war, though I follow its progression from 1914 to 1918 I am also impatient with presentations of mankind s most violent behavior as if it were a map exercise, with Jones rolling up Smith s flank while the 104th supports a strategic withdrawal by the 105th And while the role of field marshals and generals is necessarily portrayed, the true protagonists of this story are the men in the trenches for whom what in the map rooms looked like a chess match became transmuted into titanic violations of flesh and blood The reason I have written an account anchored to the last day of World War I is that the carnage that went on up to the final minute so perfectly captures the essential futility of the entire war The mayhem of the last day was no different from what had been going on for the previous 1,560 daysMuch of Persico s information comes from diaries, letters, and journals of soldiers, giving his book a personal feel than your run of the mill war history It can be very difficult reading Prepare to feel than once as if you have been punched in the gut or dropped from a cliff You will finally understand why certain names still ring with the sound of shellfire and weeping Somme, Verdun, Passchendaele You will cry than once.
I did If you have never read about World War I and you decide to read just one book on this topic during your entire lifetime, you must make this that one book It is that stunning, and tells much about The War To End All Wars than anything else ever could.
This is such a well documented book, offering not only to give an insight on what on the 11th November, but also throughout the 4 gruesome years of the war If there s one thing I could reproach it, it d just be Persico s overlook of other nation s role in this war He focuses mainly on Germany, England France and the US We re given a brief overview of Russia, Serbia, Austria and Turkey s respective roles in the war India was then under the British colony, which meant that 1 6 of the British army were Indians He fails to mention their role in the war All in all, however, this book is a detailed account of what happened, of what was lost and what was gained in short nothing Persico does a great job in explaining the strategies and the futility of the war He brings emotions from the past letters of soldiers to their families.
If I had to describe WW1 in one word, after reading this book futile.
11th Month, 11th Day, 11th Hour by Joseph Persico is an interesting and captivating book covering not only the final moments of the Great War but also offering a general history of the war from its beginning in 1914 The author follows a number of characters, great and small, throughout the narrative We follow the paths and final fate of a number of soldiers from America, Britain, France, and Germany We also get glimpses of those who control their destiny, Foch, Haig, Hindenburg and Pershing The story is well told and you ll find yourself following the lives of these men and women intensely, mostly with the knowledge of what is to come but still drawn into the final agonising moments before the end The book can jump about a little, from 1914 to 1918, as mentioned by previous reviewers, however I did not find that this detracted from the story and felt it worked well enough The book has received a few negative reviews in my country Australia , mainly for the fact that the author tends to miss the other allies Australia New Zealand who were fighting along side the Americans The Australian Imperial Force AIF served from 1915 to 1918 on the Western Front and as a whole suffered a casualty rate of 65%, the highest of any Allied army in WW1 However I can see that this book has been written mainly for an American audience and I think it has done well The author s intent, to show the terribly tragedy of that final day, the waste of soldiers lives by Generals in an attempt to comply with criminal inept and stupid orders from higher up comes through strongly Regardless of which nation those soldiers served, it s a well told story and one that needed to be told I have read a quite a number of books on the Great War but this is one of the first to bring home the futility of some of the actions carried out by supposedly intelligent leaders commanders I hope that we never forget the sacrifice made by all the combatants, willing or not, in this most terrible War.
11th Month 11th Day 11th Hour is a book that both engages and frustrates at the same time Considering the book s title as well as its subtitle Armistice Day, 1918 , I began reading this book thinking that Joseph Persico was going to do an in depth look at the final day of fighting in World War I However, this is not necessarily the case, because if you ll notice there s a second subtitle to the book World War I and It s Violent Climax Persico starts off by focusing on individuals on both sides of the trenches as the final hour of the war approaches Yet he continually jumps back into time to give a general history of the Western Front, then switches to an American based history once the U.
S enters the war in 1917 He constantly goes back and forth in his narrative, introducing a plethora of individuals at various stages of the war After a while it gets hard to remember who is who, and a lot of page shuffling ensues When he finally does get down the final hours of the war, he seems to speed up the pace of the book so that the actual events of Nov 11 get a less than satisfactory overview All of this detracts from otherwise is a decent book that explores the lives of the men in the trenches and the utterly horrific conditions they endured for four years He also does a good job of revealing the pointless deaths of thousands of men in the final hours of the war, when both sides knew the end was near yet the Allied officers continued to press on with their attacks 11 11 11 is worth reading for the human face it puts on the First World War, but be warned if you like your histories to start at point A and end neatly at point Z, this probably isn t the book for you.
What an eye opener Going into this book I didn t have much of an appreciation for WWI, the events of the war or its legacy WWI blows my mind in scale, depravity, human loss, and the absurdity of it all Over 10 million men lost their lives in the war Another 30 million wounded or missing This book takes scores of personal stories from the men who lived the war in the trenches and battlefields and puts them in the larger perspective By the end you have the picture of a war started by a political assassination, blown out of proportion by ill conceived regional alliances, propagated by ambition, retribution, and hate espoused by generals and other decision makers, and finally, a war ended by an armistice to stop the slaughter In particular, this book makes the point that even though the allied generals had confirmation of the pending armistice, they STILL pushed the war machine forward to the very last minute In other words, even knowing that they had essentially won the war, they nonetheless, continued sending thousands of young men to their deaths on the battlefield And why Pride To punish those Germans It was insanity It was criminal It makes for sad commentary on the human race.
They say that it would take something like a week and a half for the war dead on the Western Front to parade past you if marching four abreast For every one British soldier killed in WWII, three were killed in WWI It was mass slaughter on a scale that no one had ever seen before, so great that this was coined the war to end all wars But as the author said, only those killed in the war have seen the last war Why was it necessary for the Allies to plan a last minute offensive on the morning of the last day of the war when both sides knew that an Armistice was to go into effect at 11 AM So that some General officer sitting in a map room could run the British Cavalry triumphantly down the streets of Mons on the last morning of the war I was sickened by the fact that Canadian soldiers found veterans of first Mons among the dead on that last needless charge At least several AEF Divisional commanders thought that this was ludicrous and found ways to protect their men the last morning Still, men were killed on the last morning of WWI than were killed on D Day of WWII Eight years after the war s end, BEF Field Marshal Douglas Haig wrote a book or article about horse cavalry being the deciding factor in the next war I think this says all that you need to know about Field Marshal Haig What happened on the last morning of WWI was criminal S T World War I And Its Violent Climax November , The Final Hours Pulsate With Tension As Every Man In The Trenches Hopes To Escape The Melancholy Distinction Of Being The Last To Die In World War I The Allied Generals Knew The Fighting Would End Precisely At AM Yet In The Final Hours They Flung Men Against An Already Beaten Germany The Result Eleven Thousand Casualties Suffered Than During The D Day Invasion Of Normandy Why Allied Commanders Wanted To Punish The Enemy To The Very Last Moment, And Career Officers Saw A Fast Fading Chance For Glory And Promotion Joseph E Persico Puts The Reader In The Trenches With The Forgotten And The Famous Among The Latter, Corporal Adolf Hitler, Captain Harry Truman, And Colonels Douglas MacArthur And George Patton Mainly, Though, He Follows Ordinary Soldiers Lives, Illuminating Their Fate As The End Approaches Persico Sets The Last Day Of The War In Historic Context With A Reprise Of All That Led Up To It, From The Assassination Of The Austrian Archduke, Franz Ferdinand, Which Ignited The War, To The Raw Racism Black Doughboys Endured Except When Ordered To Advance And Die In The War S Final Hour