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Von Hötzendorff’s Desire

Margaret MacMillan: The First World War

2 December 2004
Cataclysm: The First World War as Political Tragedy 
by David Stevenson.
Basic Books, 564 pp., £26.50, June 2004, 0 465 08184 3
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... the experiences of ordinary men and women, thanks to the work of historians such as Norman Stone, Hew Strachan, Annette Becker and Stéphane Audoin-Rouzeau. With Cataclysm, David Stevenson draws on much recent work to provide a comprehensive account of the war, with a welcome interest both in the non-European theatres and in the home fronts. His book is ...

Worse than a Defeat

James Meek: Shamed in Afghanistan

18 December 2014
The Good War: Why We Couldn’t Win the War or the Peace in Afghanistan 
by Jack Fairweather.
Cape, 488 pp., £20, December 2014, 978 0 224 09736 9
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Investment in Blood: The True Cost of Britain’s Afghan War 
by Frank Ledwidge.
Yale, 287 pp., £10.99, July 2014, 978 0 300 20526 8
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British Generals in Blair’s Wars 
edited by Jonathan Bailey, Richard Iron and Hew Strachan.
Ashgate, 404 pp., £19.95, August 2013, 978 1 4094 3736 9
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An Intimate War: An Oral History of the Helmand Conflict 1978-2012 
by Mike Martin.
Hurst, 389 pp., £25, April 2014, 978 1 84904 336 6
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... troops were moved into Helmand before they had completed their task in Iraq,’ Hew Strachan writes in British Generals in Blair’s Wars. The army was paying for its ‘can do’ mentality, its reluctance to challenge political direction which contradicted strategic sense, and its institutional fear that if it were not used it would be ...

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