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  • Mud, Blood and Poppycock

  • Britain and the Great War
  • By: Gordon Corrigan
  • Narrated by: Roger Davis
  • Length: 18 hrs and 1 min
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History, Europe
  • 4.4 out of 5 stars (38 ratings)

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Summary

The true story of how Britain won the First World War. 

The popular view of the First World War remains that of Blackadder: incompetent generals sending brave soldiers to their deaths. 

Alan Clark quoted a German general's remark that the British soldiers were 'lions led by donkeys'. But he made it up. 

Indeed, many established 'facts' about 1914-18 turn out to be myths woven in the 1960s by young historians on the make. 

Gordon Corrigan's brilliant, witty history reveals how out of touch we have become with the soldiers of 1914-18. They simply would not recognise the way their generation is depicted on TV or in Pat Barker's novels. Laced with dry humour, this will overturn everything you thought you knew about Britain and the First World War. 

Gordon Corrigan reveals how the British embraced technology and developed the weapons and tactics to break through the enemy trenches.

©2019 Gordon Corrigan (P)2019 Orion Publishing Group

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disappointing

The book is supposed to bust the myths of the first world war. Instead it is a bland collection of largely uninteresting facts. the chapter on the Calvary started with a tedious section on the height of different horses before fundamentally failing to set out what myth was being busted.

There were tedious sections on grenades and shells and gas none of which bust myths nor was any of it new. A lot of it was just a dull recital of facts.

the book fundamentally failed to advance any new theory as to why the 1914 British Army was so ill prepared despite having just fought a very similar attritional war in South Africa - i.e the top brass were arrogant idiots.

the chapter on the 'donkeys' ended so abruptly I thought the recording was wrong. it started with a section on whether the senior command were experienced enough before tediously setting out the army life length of about 40 officers.

this book fails on so many levels. if anything this book reinforces the perspective, through a failure to advance any new position, that General Melchett was a very accurate portrayal.

6 people found this helpful

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A well argued rebuttal of Haig as donkey

Stout defense of Haig as modernizer, planner deliverer of victory as opposed to Butcher/Donkey.

Narrator excellent. Accents very good and very subtle.

5 people found this helpful

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Thought provoking yet flawed

Strident & cocksure the authors delivery begins to grate & I found myself questioning much of his assertions. The section about those who were shot at dawn was quite alarming particularly the views on the existence of the memorial to those men.

In seeking to challenge prevailing views on the conflict the author for the most part seemed intent on reinforcing old stereotypes & tropes. At no point do we hear from those who served & the books focus is consistently on the strategic at the expense of actual lived experience which might i suspect challenge some of the authors more rigid views.

Nevertheless there is a good overview of the various campaigns & some excellent statistical analysis. Just a shame the work descended too frequently into polemic.

As ever of course, excellent narration by Roger Davis.

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Statistics

if you love statistics, you'll love this. Some very interesting stuff here but at times I just lost interest due to repetitive statistics. Didn't hold my attention and lost track of what had been read.

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  • J.Brock
  • 20-07-21

Counter-Punch To Revisionist WWI History

Finally, another historian can be added to the tally of the anti-woke in the brilliant Gordon Corrigan. Going into this book I had no idea that it would be refuting all the claims of outrage that come from most present day historians, and other said writers in regards to the British in WWI. And not only is he hilarious with his dry British wit, he pulls no punches. Never does Corrigan discount the horrors of World War I and war in general. Naturally most people know that there were huge blunders in WWI, and this is irrefutable. But unlike most, he puts it in the perspective of to err is human. But the mass hysteria that surrounds the war has been put into proper perspective with this work. What a breath of fresh air.

As Corrigan says, "Because everybody thinks something, that doesn't mean that they are necessarily right." And that's all. And thanks goes to Roger Davis for adding an extra punch to his glorious wit and incite.

1 person found this helpful