- Passchendaele: Requiem for doomed youth (soft cover 2017 edition)
Passchendaele: Requiem for doomed youth (soft cover 2017 edition)
Passchendaele: Requiem for Doomed Youth shows how ordinary men on both sides endured this constant state of siege, with a very real awareness that they were being gradually, deliberately, wiped out. Yet the men never broke: they went over the top, when ordered, again and again and again. And if they fell dead or wounded, they were casualties in the 'normal wastage', as the commanders described them, of attritional war. Only the soldier’s friends at the front knew him as a man, with thoughts and feelings. His family back home knew him as a son, husband or brother, before he had enlisted. By the end of 1917 he was a different creature: his experiences on the Western Front were simply beyond their powers of comprehension.
A century later, this is what 'Passchendaele' has come to mean in the public mind: a struggle that, even by the standards of the Great War, entered the realm of the abominable, infernal and monumentally futile. Humans, animals, ordnance and pouring rain were thrown together in a maelstrom of steel and flesh in the name of a strategy that prescribed casualty lists in the hundreds of thousands. Such huge losses were not some epic blunder. Casualties on this scale were planned and, in the context of the time, expected, in the minds of commanders captive to an offensive they were helpless to avert.
Paul Ham’s Passchendaele tells the story of ordinary men in the grip of a political and military power struggle that determined their fate and has foreshadowed the destiny of the world for a century. Passchendaele lays down a powerful challenge to the idea of war as an inevitable expression of the human will, and examines the culpability of governments and military commanders in a catastrophe that destroyed the best part of a generation.
Details: Non-fiction, published 2017.
Format: Soft cover, 608 pages.
Dimensions: 23.3 cm (h) x 15.6 cm (w) x 4.6 cm (d) / 798 grams.