Storm in Flanders: The Ypres Salient, 1914-1918: Tragedy and Triumph on the Western Front

Overview

"The Ypres Salient in Belgian Flanders was the most notorious and dreaded place in all of World War I - probably of any war in history. It was said that you could smell the battlefield miles before you reached it - a fetid odor of death. It was where the poppies grew in Flanders Fields while a million men lived like animals in slimy underground trenches and from 1914 to 1918 slaughtered one another with such consistency that even on "quiet days" casualties ran into the thousands." "A Storm in Flanders is historian Winston Groom's history of the
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2002 Hard cover No dust jacket o/w absolutely brand new! ! -No international shipping available Glued binding. Paper over boards. 272 p. Contains: Illustrations. Audience: ... General/trade. Read more Show Less

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New York, New York, U.S.A. 2002 Hard Back First Edition New in New jacket New first edition hard back with new dust jacket.

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A Storm in Flanders: The Ypres Salient, 1914-1918: Tragedy and Triumph on the Western Front

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Overview

"The Ypres Salient in Belgian Flanders was the most notorious and dreaded place in all of World War I - probably of any war in history. It was said that you could smell the battlefield miles before you reached it - a fetid odor of death. It was where the poppies grew in Flanders Fields while a million men lived like animals in slimy underground trenches and from 1914 to 1918 slaughtered one another with such consistency that even on "quiet days" casualties ran into the thousands." "A Storm in Flanders is historian Winston Groom's history of the four-year battle for Ypres. As the engagement degenerated into relentless attrition, the salient became a gigantic corpse factory where hundreds of thousands of men - including Americans - died for gains that were measured in mere yards. To break the stalemate, the high commands on both sides over the years debuted and refined some of history's most terrifying weapons and tactics: poison gas, flamethrowers, tanks, stupendous underground mines, air strikes, and the unspeakable misery of trench warfare. The Third Battle of Ypres, also known as Passchendaele, ranks among the most infamous in the history of warfare, where the horror of fighting in mud sometimes waist-deep reduced even the high command to tears. The stalemate lasted until the fourth battle, when the Germans finally came within sight of the Eiffel Tower in an all-or-nothing attack and were miraculously beaten back by an Allied army on its very last legs." Illustrated with photographs and drawing from the private journals of the men who fought on the harrowing front lines (including those of young soldier Adolf Hitler, whose experience at Ypres set him on his fateful path), A Storm in Flanders is a work of military history: a drama of politics, strategy, and the human heart, and the struggle for survival and victory against all odds.
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Editorial Reviews

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"In Flanders fields the poppies grow/Between the crosses, row on row…" Countless students have memorized these lines, but the clipped lyricism of John McCrae's famous poem disguises the terror of its subject. The four-year-long Battle of Ypres transformed a quaint medieval town into a giant corpse factory, a place where hundreds of thousands of men were slaughtered for advances that were measured in yards. Ypres was a World War I laboratory in death, a staging ground for hideous innovations such as poison gas, tanks, land mines, and air strikes. Winston Groom (Forrest Gump) tells how millions of soldiers, including a callow recuit named Adolf Hitler, were shaped by their ghastly experiences in this killing ground.
Stephen W. Sears
Groom is ambitious in intent but modest in presentation. Rather than a lengthy annotated monograph, this is a storyteller's narrative of handy size. In fewer than 300 pages, in what is in essence a primer for an American audience, he treats this singular four-year series of campaigns as a metaphor for the Great War...
The Boston Globe
Library Journal
Groom paints a vividly sickening picture of war at the beginning of the modern era. Over four terrible years during World War I, the Ypres Salient absorbed blood the way a dry sponge absorbs water. In this place, which Groom, the author of Forrest Gump and the Civil War history Shrouds of Glory, compares to a "meat grinder," hundreds of thousands of human beings were chewed up some were spit out, some swallowed. The absolute misery of the place the mud, the incessant rain, the stench and fear of death is palpable through Groom's clear prose and that of the soldiers from whose diaries and letters he quotes. In relatively few pages, Groom captures the epic blundering, mismanagement, and waste of life that characterized the war on the Western Front. Though written primarily from the British perspective, Groom's book provides clarifying insights into the actions of the French and Germans as well. Perhaps of greatest use to students of history is the author's findings of inconsistency and bias in the official record of both the British and the Germans. Barbara Tuchman's The Guns of August and Robert K. Massie's Dreadnought cover this ground in greater detail, recommending this book primarily for public and undergraduate libraries. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 1/02.] Michael F. Russo, Louisiana State Univ. Libs., Baton Rouge Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A somber portrait of early modern war in one of its most hellish manifestations. Best known for the novel Forrest Gump (1986), Groom is also a seasoned writer on historical subjects (Shrouds of Glory, 1995, etc.). The present study brings us little that other histories do not-Stanley Weintraub's recent Silent Night, for instance, focuses on the famed Christmas truce of 1914, while John Keegan's The First World War gives extensive coverage on the Ypres Salient-but it relates the terrible events of four years with fluency and sometimes unpleasant vividness. From Groom we learn that a single 1917 battle along the Belgian front "enriched the Flanders earth with the corpses of some 228,000 Englishmen and Germans, not to mention about 20,000 French, all in an area not much longer than Manhattan Island." He adds that we still do not have an accurate number of total deaths in the Ypres area, and that statisticians can only posit the true, and staggering, extent of the bloodshed. All those corpses over four years lent the trenches on both sides an infernal aspect, which Groom evokes with well-chosen quotes from the combatants: a Canadian soldier relates that the "whole salient had an odor beyond description," which does not stop Groom from doing his best to describe the smells, sights, and sounds of a battle that seemed to go on forever. (Another Canadian soldier, John Macrae, wrote the poem "In Flanders Fields," the Ypres front's best-known literary monument.) Groom's account, full of detail and the smell of gunsmoke, is expertly paced and free of dull stretches, unlike more technical studies of the Ypres Salient: he knows just when enough is enough, when it's time to pull his lens from close-upsof hand-to-hand fighting and exploding Germans up to the big picture of Ypres in the overall context of WWI. A fine narrative that will be of much interest to students of military history.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780871138422
  • Publisher: Grove/Atlantic, Inc.
  • Publication date: 5/7/2002
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 276
  • Product dimensions: 6.24 (w) x 9.28 (h) x 1.27 (d)

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Sort by: Showing all of 10 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 19, 2006

    Horror of World War I

    Today it seems like we question military action when just a few soldiers are killed here and there. In World War I, hundreds of soldiers were often killed or wounded every day often under insane conditions. Almost all World War I veterans are now dead so good books that well explain the horror of that conflict are even more important today since first hand accounts are no longer available. This book does a good job of telling what it was like in one of the worst theatres of World War I-- the Ypres Salient where more than 1 million soldiers were brutally killed during the war and the horrors of trench warfare, including poison gas and flamethrower attacks and the tank first appeared. If you think World War II or today's wars are bad, you need to read this book. There are only 2 bad things about this book: its title may not entice those who don't already know some basics of World War I history (and most people today do not) and the book does not have much in the way of a bibliography.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 24, 2012

    Highly recommended!!

    Awesome. Highly recommended!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 17, 2004

    In Flanders Field

    Outstanding book - this is the 1st major title I have read from cover about WWI. This book does an excellent job of providing a visualization of the sheer futility of fighting in those conditions. I have a better understanding of the personalities and the bitterness that was left there in 1918 that led to WWII. Highly recommend.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 18, 2003

    History at its best -- and worst.

    Riveting account of WWI's 'Flanders Fields', the battleground of the Ypres salient. At sixty-eight I've always been an avid reader of 20th century history, but never even vaguely grasped the utter horror, waste of life, and madness of this war -- until I read 'A Storm In Flanders'. Thank you, Winston Groom.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 22, 2002

    for a 'war history' book, this is as good as it gets.

    Not really knowing much about WWI, I felt this book was a homerun.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 26, 2002

    An adequate primer to the BEF's war in Flanders

    Groom has written a book here which will give anyone who has not understood before a better grasp of how apalling service in Flanders was for soldiers serving in the BEF. It falls down when Groom pontificates on the causes of the war as he is clearly an advocate of the discredite 'It's all Germany's fault' school of thought. Most inexcusable is his apologist portrait of Douglas Haig, a man in a very difficult position,who nonetheless was responsible for the staggering losses for which the gains did nor could not merit.

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    Posted March 19, 2010

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    Posted July 5, 2011

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    Posted March 16, 2009

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