Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Holger H. Herwig's "The Marne, 1914"

Holger H. Herwig holds a dual position at the University of Calgary as professor of history and as Canada Research Chair in the Centre for Military and Strategic Studies. He has published more than a dozen books, including the prize-winning The First World War: Germany and Austria-Hungary 1914-1918 and (with Richard F. Hamilton) The Origins of World War I.

He applied the “Page 99 Test” to his new book, The Marne, 1914: The Opening of World War I and the Battle That Changed the World, and reported the following:
Open the book to page ninety-nine and read, and the quality of the whole book will be revealed to you.” Yes, it is accurate for The Marne, 1914.
The going was nearly impossible. Dense fog not only inhibited accurate fire but also turned the battlefields into semidarkness. Combat was close and personal, in most cases ending with bloodcurdling bayonet charges.” The small creeks of the Vosges at times ran red. The din was unbearable. The woods rang with the screams of wounded soldiers….
For the common soldier, the Battle of the Marne consisted of six weeks of frightful slaughter in stifling heat and humidity. They marched 400 kilometers to the front and back. They suffered from fire, diarrhea, typhus, thirst and hunger. In the end, two million men lay exhausted along both sides of the Aisne River and dug in—for the next four years. When it was over, some 10 million were dead. It started at the Marne in 1914, it ended at Versailles in 1919. Europe would never be the same again.
Read an excerpt from The Marne, 1914, and learn more about the book at the publisher's website.

--Marshal Zeringue