This is the fourth of Christina Holstein's outstanding books in the Battleground Europe series on the Battle of Verdun 1916. This one, on the neglected fighting on the Left Bank of the River Meuse, lives up to the very high standard that Christina set herself with the earlier volumes on Fort Douaumont, Fort vaux, and her general battlefield guide to the aera, Walking Verdun.
The history of the First World war in the popular mind must often appear to the impartial observer to be one of tunnel vision : each nation, understandably perhaps, focuses on its own military's traumatic experience in this extraordinary period in each of their histories. How many documentaries and programmes associated with the war have concentrated - it seems almost exclusively - on the various programme makers' domestic market ? This one can appreciate as being a matter of economics - and, to be fair, of considerable interest to such audiences - but it will do little to dispel the idea that this or that country suffered or paid disproportionately in this ghastly, industrialised conflict. This attitude serves (I am sure unintentionally) to provide a distorted perspective and does nothing to assist in a much broader understanding of the impact of the war on regions as seemingly diverse as the Balkans, Italy, France, Belgium, East Africa and elsewhere on that continent, Russia, China and the Middle east - not to mention the impact of the unrelenting naval campaign. This is not just some mere academic observation ; the legacy of the Great war (and how appropriate that name is !) impacts on the political world of today in a profound way.