A gripping, revisionist account of an epic tragedy, the battle of Gallipoli.
Peter Hart is the Oral Historian at the Imperial War Museum and the author of several acclaimed books about the First World War. He is an internationally acknowledged expert on Gallipoli and has guided British Army staff tours around the battlefield.
Hart, oral historian of Britain's Imperial War Museum, focuses on the Gallipoli campaign. This book depends more on archival work and on recent Turkish and French research than Hart's earlier collaboration with Nigel Steelin, Defeat at Gallipoli. But the human element still defines this compelling account of an operation Hart dismisses as a "lunacy that never could have succeeded," driven by wishful thinking as opposed to the professional analysis of ends and means. Such alleged strategic benefits as reducing pressure on Russia, says Hart, were largely ephemeral. Plans lacked focus. Logistics were inefficient. Troops were poorly trained and badly led. The often-overlooked French were effective, but poorly used on the Helles front. The Turkish army, on the other hand, profited from its defeat in the Balkan War of 1911-1912 and from its military relationship with Germany; the Turkish army won the battle of Gallipoli even more than the Allies lost it, according to Hart. There remains ample blame to distribute. Hart excoriates the haphazard romanticism of First Lord of the Admiralty Winston Churchill. He is more scathing in describing Gen. Ian Hamilton's on-the-spot fecklessness. He is at his best, however, in explaining and presenting the "near-superhuman courage and endurance" of the combatants. That remains Gallipoli's enduring appeal. Maps. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
World War I's Battle of Gallipoli changed the Middle East, built and ruined reputations, swallowed enormous Allied resources, and marked Australia's and New Zealand's emergence as nations on the world stage. It developed into a bloody sinkhole that wasted lives without discernible strategic benefit owing to British arrogance, incompetent leadership, and stiff Turkish resistance. Churchill lost his job, but Mustafa Kemal (later known as Ataturk) established himself as the founder of modern Turkey. Hart (oral historian, Imperial War Museum; The Somme) brings many unpublished first-person accounts and official records into focus with scathing assessment of the planners, from the cabinet down, and descriptions of soldiers trapped in an unforgiving nightmare. -VERDICT An important reevaluation, largely from the Allied point of view. An excellent summary of an iconic campaign, offering many lessons for war planners. Readable but most accessible to specialists.-Edwin B. Burgess, U.S. Army Combined Arms Research Lib., Fort Leavenworth, KS (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
A marvellous book ... vivid and compelling * Economist *
All good history books should be an assault on myth, and in Gallipoli Peter Hart mounts a supremely effective attack * Mail on Sunday *
An impressive and timely reminder of the futility of war * Morning Star *
[A] stirring account * Irish Examiner *
Superb... a serious and important work on Gallipoli. It is researched in fine detail and written in Peter Hart's increasingly excellent style. If you are interested in this campaign, or the Great War, or just appreciate a well written book, then this is for you. -- David McLoughlin * Press Association *
An account filled with insight and poignancy -- Craig Gibson * TLS *