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Geoffrey Wawro studied at Brown and Yale and is a professor of history and Director of the Military History Center at the University of North Texas. The author of five books, including Quicksand and The Franco-Prussian War, Wawro lives in Dallas, Texas.

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A very good analysis of the most imortant war until WWII. Wawro outlines how the invention of the breech loading rifle, coupled with the idea of enveloping one's opponent, set the stage for every major war until 1945. The Napoleonic idea of the massed battalions overwhelming one's enemies by cutting into them with masses of bayonet armed infantry, was dealt a fatal blow by the Prussians in this conflict. His final chapter lays out the following embrace of the Prussian strategy, by all the successful armies until the middle of the twentieth century, played out. I sadly note this book no longer seems in print, perhaps due to the English speaking world is reluctant to embrace a book whose principal focus is a battle fought "Far away, by people we know little about" to quote Neville Chamberlain. A very great pity.… (mer)
DinadansFriend | 1 annan recension | Aug 31, 2022 |
Tedious, slow account of Hapsburg misfortunes at the outbreak of WWI. Reads like a hatchet job on poor Austria Hungary, making me wonder about the author's objectivity. shouldn't have finished this one.
apende | 5 andra recensioner | Jul 12, 2022 |
Of all of the wars fought in Europe between 1815 and 1914, none was more important in terms of its impact than the Franco-Prussian War. The culmination of Otto von Bismarck's strategy for unifying the German states into a single country, it saw the displacement of France as the dominant Continental power and the formation of a new nation that would dominate events in Europe for the next three-quarters of a century.

Such an epochal conflict is well deserving of study, yet for Geoffrey Wawro to write this book is in some respects an act of bravery. For decades Michael Howard's [b:The Franco-Prussian War|25863|The Franco-Prussian War The German Invasion of France, 1870-1871|Michael Eliot Howard||26583] has been the go-to source for readers seeking an English-language history of the conflict, and little has changed since its publication in 1961 to undermine its value. Yet Wawro's book is a worthy addition to the literature on the war, thanks to the directness of his analysis and the clarity of his prose. He provides readers with a superb introduction to the conflict, starting with an analysis of its political background and the strengths and weaknesses of the two armies before detailing the major campaigns of the war. From his analysis emerges a tale of two powers, one rotted yet still possessing formidable strengths, the other dynamic but suffering from its own set of flaws. Wawro makes it clear that while the Prussians enjoyed several advantages the outcome was far from ordained, with the flaws of French leadership being a decisive factor in its defeat.

Wawro's book illuminates the depth of France's humiliation in their defeat. In doing so, he helps to underscore the long-term significance of the war, as France would emerge from it determined to undo its loss. Though this may not have made the conflict that took place four decades later inevitable, the seeds for it were clearly sown in 1870-1. To understand why is just one reason why this book is necessary reading for every student of modern European history, as well as anyone seeking an accessible overview of this pivotal clash of powers.
… (mer)
MacDad | 7 andra recensioner | Mar 27, 2020 |
This is a non-fic about one of the ‘forgotten wars’ of the 19th century, the Franco-Prussian War of 1870-1871. While it is mainly a military history, there are a lot of vignettes and more general history.

The pre-history: on one side Prussia with Bismarck, growing world power, winner of 1866 war with Austria. On the other – France, which holds to its Napoleonic past (from, the structure of army to his nephew as the current emperor) and assumes that it is able to press others to do what France wants. Bismarck fires up French by a series of provocations (which France is eager to follow) to declare the war on Prussia (thus losing potential favorable international opinion).

France’s army was smaller and older, with professional solders, mostly uneducated. It has two wunderwaffen – Chassepot rifle, which shot further and more precise then Prussian needle rifle; and Mitrailleuse – early modern machine gun, which doesn’t swivel, so its volleys were more spectacular than effective sweeping fire. Prussian had their wunderwaffen as well Krupp’s steel tube guns with a great range. Their army was larger, conscripted and more educated, which is a great boon in the industrial era.

The armies also had quite almost opposite approaches to the war: Germans attacked again and again, each attempt quickly gaining support of the neighboring units, fallen officers quickly replaced but educated NCOs; French based everything on their old glory, long-range rifle and static defense, the latter pulverized by Krupp’s guns. Another problem is a constant bickering among French high command, were everyone wanted honors but not the responsibility, so they march their troops to exhaustion only to leave them under enemy fire.

To a large extent this war, more than any other led to the WWI as we know it – French elan tactics, fight for Alsace and Lorraine, raise of Germany with resulting fear of it, assumption that a future war should be short, so its ok to throw millions of solders into this meatgrinder, and so on.

A great history book for everyone interested in the period.
… (mer)
Oleksandr_Zholud | 7 andra recensioner | Jan 9, 2019 |



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