World War One: A Layman’s Guide

Author: Scott  Addington

Publication date: Nov 26, 2012 – Amazon Digital Services, Inc. (E-book)
April 25, 2014 – CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (Paperback)

Pages: 679 KB, approximately 152 pages

WWIAs I read Scott Addington’s World War One: A Layman’s Guide I could not help but write this review in my head.  I highlighted relevant statements and sentences and became more and more annoyed at the flippant manner in which the book was written.  Of course the lack of footnotes annoyed me even more.  I would read sentences like “German casualties are not known, but are thought to be similar in numbers” and I would ask, why are they not known?  Were the records destroyed, were none kept; I think that is part of the story.   Then I discovered one of the mysteries of the Kindle.  When you start a Kindle book, it takes you to the beginning of the main text skipping over the cover, the table of contents, and anything else that may be there.  In the case of this book, that everything else included an introduction.  So I went and read the introduction after I had finished the book and found that most of my complaints were not bugs, but features.  Addington specifically addressed all of my major complaints, the book was “written in a more conversational style” and “It doesn’t pretend to be academic in nature.”  This explained sentences like, “the Austro-Hungarians were jumping up and down with rage.”  The book was also “Unashamedly bias[ed] towards the Western Front,” thereby explaining the short shrift given to the Eastern front and the total neglect of Africa and the Middle East.  Lastly, I agree with Addington that “people who hold a decent knowledge of the subject should perhaps walk away and read something else as you are not the intended audience.”  So if you know little or nothing about the First World War and can handle entire nationalities “jumping up and down with rage” and the like, this book might be for you.  If you can get past the writing style it does provide a decent overview of the war on the Western Front. 

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