Hart’s history of the final year of World War I opens just after the major German offensive of 1918 had ground to a halt and as the Allies geared up for their own campaign. After years of grueling trench warfare had caused many to doubt that the conflict would ever end, the rapid success of the Allied offensive came as a surprise to those who led and fought in it. Hart enlivens his lucid account of this final battle with quotes from memoirs, letters, and diaries. He shows how increased professionalism and better tactics allowed British and French troops, fortified by the arrival of the U.S. Army, to push back the German forces. He also opens a window into the minds of individual soldiers, relating how they accepted the possibility of death and their relief at the eventual armistice. As one wrote: “Do you realise that we shall probably live to be old men!”
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