For a memoir of World War I, Sir John French's book 1914: The Early Campaigns of the Great War, does a fairly good job of recounting the facts, however skewed they may be. French, whose full name and titles are quite daunting, was Field Marshal John Denton Pinkstone French, 1st Earl of Ypres KP, GCB, OM, GCVO, KCMG, ADC, PC (1852 – 1925). He was Commader-in-Chief of the BEF (British Expeditionary Forces) against the Germain advances through Continental Europe. French, who was stubborn and hotheaded, ordered maneuvers which weren't the best course of action, for which he was eventually switched out for another commander.
Though he was the obvious choice for Commander-in-Chief at the time, French was fighting a 20th century war with a 19th century mindset. Images of him at the time portray him mounted on horseback, a billowing feather in his hat… meanwhile the tanks and tear gas are just over the horizon. Thus, this book is not a fair and balanced account of the British forces under French's command, but it does describe one man's battle through the "fog of war," while offering many up-close and personal insights into the actions and dispositions of the soldiers of the Great War.
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January 29, 2014
Has changed my view of French as allegedly the most senior of the Donkeys leading Lions. Carrying out his duty as directed by Parliament but his authority continuously undermined and character questioned by those who appointed him. Noteworthy is Lord Kitchener's appalling behaviour. The situation forcing French to instigate a course of action which he hoped would change the course of the war, very likely bring down the Government, cause the removal of Kitchener as War Minister and the loss of his command. Anyone researching WW1 should read this. (DWK,Wirral.UK)
June 17, 2013
April 10, 2012