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Amiens [Paperback]

James McWilliams
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Sept. 1 2001 155002342X 978-1550023428

It was the decisive battle of World War I. German commander Erich Ludendorff called it "the black day of the German army." Many authors have stated that it was the beginning of the end of the great conflict. And yet, until now, no book has been published on the climactic battle at Amiens.

Amiens was one of the first "modern" battles, and certainly the first attempted by the Allies. Employing the troops of five nations (including Canada) and utilizing secrecy, deception, and combined operations, the Allies won the first of a string of victories culminating in the Armistice one hundred days later. Amiens: Dawn of Victory is the first book to study the historic battle in minute detail. Using eyewitness accounts from dozens of survivors, plus many accounts, both published and unpublished, by the participants, the authors take us into the trenches, the tanks, and the cockpits.

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Review

It was the decisive battle of World War I. German commander Erich Ludendorff called it "the black day of the German army." Many authors have stated that it was the beginning of the end of the great conflict. And yet, until now, no book has been published on the climactic battle at Amiens.

Amiens was one of the first "modern" battles, and certainly the first attempted by the Allies. Employing the troops of five nations (including Canada) and utilizing secrecy, deception, and combined operations, the Allies won the first of a string of victories culminating in the Armistice one hundred days later. Amiens: Dawn of Victory is the first book to study the historic battle in minute detail. Using eyewitness accounts from dozens of survivors, plus many accounts, both published and unpublished, by the participants, the authors take us into the trenches, the tanks, and the cockpits.

"This clear-minded account of the days leading up to that sequel is overdue and welcome."

(Rondi Adamson)

"... carefully researched and appealingly written." "In bringing this important battle to light, McWilliams and Steel also do us the great service of providing a reminder that thereare many other battles of Canada's Great War that await their own historian."



"McWilliams and Steel have done a magnificent research effort as they go into great detail into the planning, attack and movement of the battle, liberally interspersed with comments from the participants."

About the Author

James McWilliams and R. James Steel are avid military historians. They have collaborated on two previous books on World War I: The Suicide Battalion (1978, 1990) and Gas! The Battle for Ypres, 1915 (1989) - as well as a unit history - The Battery (1996). R. James Steel is also the author of The Men Who Marched Away: Canada's Infantry in World War I, 1914-1918 (1989).


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Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars
4.0 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Bigger Canadian success than Vimy Ridge Oct. 23 2002
Format:Paperback
McWilliams and Steele have done a great job in bringing together many previously published sources to give an overview of this most important battle. For the first and last time the Canadian and Australian Corps fought side by side and the combination was devastating to the Imperial German Army. On the right flank the French Army kept pace with the Canadians. On the left flank the British had trouble keeping up with the Australians as they had more difficult terrain to cover. Nevertheless the combined force tore a gaping hole in the German lines and led General Ludendorf to declare it the Black Day of the German Army in the First World War.
While my interest was in the Canadians, I found the sections on the other armies well done. The British advance was much slower than the Australian and Canadian advances on the first day and the authors explain this in terms of the ground the British had to cover and the tactical situation as the battle began.
I especially liked the way the authors were able to describe the tank actions. It was the second major use of tanks in the First World War and their presence on the battlefield helped achieve the first day objectives. It was also evident that even in a breakthrough battle cavalry could not operate in their 19th century role.
There is an excellent section on the use of air power, in fact on its misuse as the planes of the time could not carry enough bombs to isolate the German front line from its rear echelons. The planes would have been better used in close support.
It was a thoroughly enjoyable read!
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3.0 out of 5 stars Still Waiting. . . May 14 2013
By RobC
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This account is useful, though I rather prefer the authors' earlier GAS! THE BATTLE FOR YPRES. It is full of excellent detail about the Canadian role in the battle, and for that I'm grateful. But, alas, a really excellent book on Amiens remains to be written.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Amiens: Dawn of Victory Nov. 2 2010
Format:Paperback
An in depth examination of a pivotal battle of the First World War. Well told, with a good balance of the big picture and the individual soldier's experience. A must read for anyone who wants a thorough understanding of the Great War. I really appreciated the information that was provided about what was going on the German's side of the line.

With all of that being said, the book, and the battle, would have been more easily understood if the book had included more maps with greater detail. The reader can get lost in the details of which troops moved to which woods or salient. More photographs would have been appreciated as well.

Overall, time well spent.
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5.0 out of 5 stars AMIENS Dawn of Victory July 9 2010
Format:Paperback
Fantastic read, found out about Canadian troops I have never heard of before. I am a vivid reader of history but as this book shows there is something always new to learn. We should have more public buildings named after these men and women and actually teach real Canadian histoy in our schools. Cannot recommend this book highly enough.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.5 out of 5 stars  2 reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Bigger Canadian success than Vimy Ridge Oct. 23 2002
By Kevin Shackleton - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
McWilliams and Steele have done a great job in bringing together many previously published sources to give an overview of this most important battle. For the first and last time the Canadian and Australian Corps fought side by side and the combination was devastating to the Imperial German Army. On the right flank the French Army kept pace with the Canadians. On the left flank the British had trouble keeping up with the Australians as they had more difficult terrain to cover. Nevertheless the combined force tore a gaping hole in the German lines and led General Ludendorf to declare it the Black Day of the German Army in the First World War.
While my interest was in the Canadians, I found the sections on the other armies well done. The British advance was much slower than the Australian and Canadian advances on the first day and the authors explain this in terms of the ground the British had to cover and the tactical situation as the battle began.
I especially liked the way the authors were able to describe the tank actions. It was the second major use of tanks in the First World War and their presence on the battlefield helped achieve the first day objectives. It was also evident that even in a breakthrough battle cavalry could not operate in their 19th century role.
There is an excellent section on the use of air power, in fact on its misuse as the planes of the time could not carry enough bombs to isolate the German front line from its rear echelons. The planes would have been better used in close support.
It was a thoroughly enjoyable read!
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent! Feb. 23 2013
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
My grandfather was wounded just near Amiens in 1918, so I was anxious to find out more about WW1, and especially around Amiens. As he was in the CEF, I was particularly interested in the Canadian participations of WW1 especially around Amiens. I got my answers in this book - a well written, very well researched and thoroughly educational work! I send my thanks to the author for a splendid work on a subject near and dear to me.
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